Jackie and the PG Troy team volunteering at the Children's Center of Detroit's Back-to-School Bizarre
Growing up, my parents, uncles, aunts and all the family members who left lipstick stained kisses on my cheek would ask me:
"What's on your Christmas list this year?"
"What's your BIGGEST dream?"
or the classic "What are you going to be when you grow up?"
Of course, I would follow up with "A pony!" or the latest and greatest toy, or explain how I'm going to be a veterinarian, a famous singer, an actress, and in all my spare time as a teacher.
Now a few years removed from that stage, I'm the adult asking my nephew, "What do you want for your birthday, buddy?" His reply, "A Mickey cake!" It’s easy to think this is more or less the same conversation everyone has with the children in their families. But one day while volunteering at The Children's Center in Detroit with some coworkers, my heart sank as I read one child's wish on their wishing well wall. When asked, “What's one thing you want?” He wrote, "a home." Another girl wrote, "for my parents to love me," and another, "a job for my mom so we can have food every day.”
Too often we get so wrapped up in our own world and circumstances that we forget to appreciate what we have. Even more often we forget about giving back, or we say we just don't have time. Making the time for community building is so important and we’ve found when people see others volunteering, it’s contagious. Giving back comes in all shapes and sizes, but the end result is the same. It provides support to those who don’t have the same access to resources and encouragement. When people rally together to help each other good things happen.
We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed.
As a community, we strive to support people in our communities facing challenges that make it difficult to thrive. Paying it forward makes a difference, and having a mission bigger than ourselves brings us together and gives us perspective. In fact, studies have shown that by giving back people feel a sense of achievement, they’re happier in general, they sleep better, and have improved mental and physical health. You could almost say our bodies crave giving back. It’s a win-win. And hey, it's understood that while we aren't all millionaires (although wouldn't that be nice??), giving back your time is can be just as, if not more, valuable.
So while we’re running from work to drop-off the kids at soccer practice, let's not forget that some families out there only have one wish of having somewhere to sleep tonight, or having a warm winter coat for their kids this coming season. It’s important that we do what we can to make a difference for them because after all, doesn’t everyone deserve the opportunity to succeed?
Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." So I ask you, what life are you creating by giving?
Looking for ways you can get give back?
- Reach out to your local city, they'll know of great organizations around you
- Find a food bank to either donate financially to or commit to helping sort food to distribute
- In light of Tropical Storm Harvey you can also donate to all the families impacted by the storm
- Especially around the holiday season many grocery stores have giving back programs that could cost you as low as $5 to feed a family for Thanksgiving
- If you're in the Metro Detroit area, The Children's Center is always looking for volunteers to do things like yard work, painting inside, help with activities for the kids, organizing the boutique and they even have a foster program for children who need a home
- Simply know someone in need? Offer to spend some time helping them clean their house, or go grocery shopping for them
- Nursing homes are always looking for volunteers to spend time with their residents
- Reach out to a local religious organization and partner with them in your community
Especially with the devastation of Tropical Storm Harvey, we encourage individuals and communities to come together and do what we can to help support the people and their families who have been impacted. Disaster relief fund here.
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