Help Others in the New Year

New Year Resolution #7:
Help Others

8 Days of Resolutions

This series is all about the top New Year Resolutions. One of those is “Get Organized”. Have you ever made this resolution? How did it go? Did you do a “crash & burn” weekend on Jan. 2nd and everything was back to the way it was by Jan. 10th? Try using organization as a tool for whatever change you desire. You may surprise yourself!

How do you give back?

I remember my mother gardening, giving our extra garden bounty away, helping others with their canning and watching her teach swimming classes for special needs children.  It seemed a part of her life (and still is) to help others.

When I was in high school, I had the distinct honor of being selected to study abroad as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.  I grew up in a small town of 14,000, and had never been on a commercial jet until I flew across the Pacific to the Land of the Rising Sun.  It was  a year of excitement, frustration, happiness, sadness and a year of growth experienced by few.  It changed who I was, and what path my life took.  I knew at some point, it would be my turn to give back to an organization that did so much for this young naive country girl.

What is burning in your heart?

I don’t mean to sound contrite or like a line in a made- for-TV-movie,  but really, what are you passionate about?  Is there an organization that did something for you in your time of need?  Were you afforded an opportunity you would not have had otherwise?

Make time, make a choice

There’s never a perfect time to give back, and there may never be a perfect financial situation to give all you would like to.  But, we can make time to give back, volunteer and help make our corner of the world a better place.

Around five years ago, I wanted to start helping out with Rotary Youth Exchange in my area.  I was lucky enough to seek out a connection I had in the area and ask how I could help.  I was greeted with open arms and encouragement to give what I could at that point.  I had a young toddler and a fledgling business, so my time was limited.  I gave what I could.

Last year, I decided to join Rotary as a full-fledged member, and to involve myself with the Youth Exchange program in our district.  Before making the jump, I had to give some other things up, rearrange and rethink commitments.  It is a decision I haven’t regretted since.

If you want to volunteer or participate in a charity, here’s a few tips to get started:

1. Be real about your schedule.  How much time do you have to give?

2. Find a good fit.  Ask a lot of questions about the commitment expected, the time involved and if you are expected to cover your own expenses.  Know what you are getting into so there are few surprises.

3. Start saying “no” more. You may have to juggle your schedule around, even eliminating something to ensure you’re not overextending yourself.  Don’t overdo it.  No organization wants an unhappy, burnt out volunteer.

How can you give back this year?

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