As we run around town looking for the perfect gifts to give loved ones and friends, let us be reminded that some are not as fortunate as we are during this time of year. Individuals may be away from family, down on their luck or simply in need of some cheer. Oftentimes, leaders possess a natural ability of assessing the needs of others and in turn, lending a helping hand. This season, no matter where you find yourself, remember that some of the most appreciated and most memorable gifts involve helping those in need.
Is one of your New Year’s resolution to get rid of the things you no longer need or use? If so, use this time as an opportunity to not only downsize, but to help the less fortunate. For example, clean out your closet and get rid of anything you have not worn in quite some time or do not plan on wearing again. Stop by your local thrift store or homeless shelter to donate your items. In fact, the homeless shelter may need other items you have on hand and no longer need. Call ahead to find out the variety of items they are looking for this year.
When we think of the less fortunate, we may or may not immediately think of the furry friends out there that need love too. Volunteering and making donations to animal shelters is a great way to give back. Visit the animal shelter nearest you to volunteer your time cleaning kennels, walking and feeding the animals, and more. In addition, if you have blankets or towels that you no longer need, ask the shelter if they could use those as well. Everyone enjoys staying cozy and warm this time of year, including our four-legged friends. If you would like to take it one step further, bring the animals treats to brighten their day, or adopt a pet looking for a new home.
Do you enjoy an active lifestyle or would like to try something new? Sign up for a 5k race that gives back to a worthy cause. Along with eggnog and candy canes, this time of year welcomes 5k races that vary in theme, size and cause. If you search event calendars in advance, you are sure to find one that piqued your interest. If fact, you are encouraged to share the experience with friends, family, neighbors or anyone else looking for a challenge.
Remember, being tomorrow’s leader begins today. Share your expertise, kindness and time with those that need it most and you are sure to shine this holiday season.
-Dina Barabash, NASBA Content Development & Web Specialist