Like many Americans, today I'm celebrating Thanksgiving. And, even though I don't really care for turkey or pumpkin anything, this is one of my favorite holidays. It's the acts and ideals of Thanksgiving - shared harvest, community, homecoming and out-loud thankfulness - that speak to this idealist's heart.
Today, Points of Light, an organization that encourages Americans to volunteer, announced the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award. While serving on the board of Points of Light back in the '90s, I began working with an offshoot called Family Matters, a program that encouraged families to discover the benefits of volunteering together. I had seen those benefits in a very real way in my own family. There are so many forces that divide us from one another. And with the increasing presence of technology, families can easily drift apart, even while in the same room. Volunteering is a force that can bridge those divides and strengthen families at the same time. The idea is to make volunteering a first-level option for families when they're deciding what to do -- right in the mix with movies, going out to eat, playdates, soccer, and Little League. In other words, a normal part of American family life.