08/20/2010 02:32 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Preventing Third World America Step 5: Use Your Skills, Time, Or Money To Help Others

"When you are helping others, you are helping yourself." It's amazing, when hearing stories of resilience, how often that sentiment pops up.

It's an unexpected twist: Taking the one thing you have an abundance of when you are out of work -- time -- and using it to help others turns out to be remarkably empowering and energizing. Moving beyond a sense of helplessness to make a difference in the lives of others -- whether working at a food bank, delivering meals to seniors, or mentoring a child-- can transform our experience of even the most stressful times. The consequences of being jobless are not just economic -- they're also psychological. And the psychic toll is greatly lessened by taking a look outside ourselves and finding ways to serve others even less fortunate. It can bring both perspective and meaning to our lives.

Take Seth Reams, who lost his job and, while looking for work, started a website with his girlfriend, Michelle King, called We've Got Time to Help that connects people with extra time on their hands -- usually people who have been laid off -- with people in need of help.

"The ultimate measure of a man or woman," said Martin Luther King," is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Where is the We've Got Time to Help in your area? Why don't you be the Seth Reams or Michelle King of your community?

Check out VolunteerMatch to see how you can use your skills to lend a hand in your own neighborhood.
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