Posted by Rebecca West, guest blogger
While growing up, it was ingrained in us kids early on to get involved in community and to try to help whenever we could. This is something that has stuck with me throughout my life, and I have tried to instill it in my own brood. Besides being a key ingredient in flourishing communities, volunteerism provides a sense of camaraderie and pride for all who take part in it. Family charity work doesn’t just benefit the recipients of your good deeds—it makes you feel good as well.
From the Beginning
When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to go and visit relatives in “the old country” at least once a year. Before each of her trips, she would stock up on hard candies and small, hand-held radios. I was always mystified by these purchases and would often question her about it. As it turns out, these items were for local children in the impoverished towns and villages she visited.This made a lasting impression on me, and I wanted to know more. She would tell me of the living conditions these children faced and how providing these small gifts to them made her feel. She wanted to do more, but the people there were very proud and wouldn’t accept anything beyond these kind gestures. I decided early on I wanted to be like her. But she wasn’t my only role model for family charity values.
More Life Lessons
My mother was a champion of many causes throughout her short life. She regularly donated her time and goods, or whatever money she could, to charitable causes. No doubt she did it because she wanted to help people who truly needed it, but it also made her feel good to do something positive for others. Like a lot of families, we donated to institutions like the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, and Easter Seals, but that was money or material possessions. She wanted us to know what it was like to get personally involved, like in serving hot meals to the less fortunate and visiting the elderly or incapacitated. In my estimation, these acts of charity are more profound and offer a window into the heart and soul of the individuals performing them.
My Own Life
Because of all of these facts and my background in English, I became involved with a volunteer adult literacy program in my area. The rewards of impacting someone’s life so significantly are almost indescribable. All I know is that with each milestone my students reached, I felt as if I was making it with them. Additionally, I gladly donate large quantities of fresh food to my local soup kitchen whenever the opportunity arises.
A Moment of Your Time
All it takes is a moment of your time to touch the lives of others. As human beings, when we put our minds and hearts together, we can move mountains. What kind of family charity work do you feel is important?
Photo Credit: normanack on flickr