The joy and beauty of giving extends far beyond writing a check to your favorite charity during the holiday season. Don't misunderstand me, those checks are of extreme importance to research and charitable giving is what keeps most of those services afloat. However, I am referring to giving of oneself.
There is nothing quite like donating your time to helping others. Spending time with underprivileged children or serving food at a soup kitchen may sound like something we would all like to do -- in theory. That is -- if we had more time. I'm sure many of you have uttered those very words. I know I did until I made the time and just started making it a way of life.
There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you made a difference in a child's life if only for a day. Truth be told, you don't really know the impact you may have had on that child. You may think it was just for that day but the example you set may very well last a lifetime. During one of my last encounters with a so called, "problem child" I gave him a book that I know he was interested in reading. He looked at me as if no one had ever given him anything before (and certainly not anything educational). Will that make a difference in his life? I don't know but it could just make all the difference in the world. I encouraged another little girl and told her how proud I was of her and she hugged me so tightly that I didn't think she was going to let go. In talking to her, I'm fairly certain no one has ever said that to her before. That is the beauty of giving your time to another. That kind of human interaction can change a life -- I know it has changed mine!
So, please keep giving to charities because they need the money to survive and to continue the amazing research they do to save lives in many cases. But, instead of rearranging your sock drawer or your CD/DVD collection for the millionth time one afternoon, donate a few hours of your time to a cause you believe in -- the life you change could be yours!