Thursday, November 19, 2015

Overview of Helping

Today I am going to overview some highlights of ‘A Helping Hand.’ It’s always important to know where you come from and realize that you may not have it perfect, but there are always others in need of your assistance. Helping people can really change your perspective on life for the better, and I encourage each of you to step outside your comfort zone and see where it may lead you.
This doesn’t necessarily have to mean helping those less fortunate, little acts of kindness towards people you are around everyday can make larger impacts than you may think. Never underestimate the power of paying it forward, and never forget that it’s better to be the one who smiled rather than the one who didn’t smile back.
There are millions of ways to help, and chances are you don’t have to look far from home. With A little research I’m sure you can get connected with a surplus of opportunities to help benefit others. Never think that because you may live in a small town that there aren't chances to help give back to the community!


Here are some “Helping Hero Highlights" for the Week!


I’m sharing with you some of the most iconic people in our society today, and what they have done to give back to those in need. Celebrities have the power to make monumental change because of the influence they have over our population, and many have put this power to good use!


Image result for taylor swift Taylor Swift is involved in twenty-six charities including: The GRAMMY Foundation, Save the Music Foundation, and UNICEF. She has headed twenty-eight different causes including bullying, homelessness, and human rights. Taylor donated fifty thousand dollars to the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and promoted literacy and bullying prevention through her own children's books. She won the 2014 Most Charitable Celebrity. “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”
Image result for beyonceBeyonce said, “We’re all in this together. Each and every one of us can make a difference by giving back.” Beyonce is the founder of BeyGood and is involved in twenty-six charities and supports eighteen different causes.
Ellen DeGeneres gives annually to forty five different charities, supports thirty causes and continually gives back to the community around her.


I also asked people in my class how they felt about volunteering.
Kristina Gerding: “I think volunteering is important because it gives you the chance to help others who are not as fortunate as you are, it makes you feel good inside!”
Nathan Dietlin: “Volunteering is important because it helps the community.”


Helping others can also benefit you more than you think! Pay it forward, and bless your communities with you assistance, the need is out there!


Citations:
Rotsky (2015) 10 inspiring celebrity quotes about charity. Available at: http://borgenproject.org/10-inspiring-celebrity-quotes-charity/ (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Red Cross Blood Drive: Giving Back

This week I was able to volunteer at my school's Red Cross Blood Drive. This is something I have been involved with since my freshman year. It's always a cool experience seeing my peers step up and give blood; a very selfless act and it's amazing to see what people my age are willing to do for people that they will never meet. I personally have never given blood so I applaud those who have. Needles have always been a fear of mine, but it is my goal to give blood at our school's upcoming spring blood drive, and finish my senior year overcoming a fear.
IMG_3620.JPG
There's always a lot to do to help with a blood drive. The first job is prior to the actual day, and that is getting people to sign up. This can seem like a daunting job but what I've learned is that people are very willing if you approach it the right way. The most effective way to get donators is to personally ask them. If you have a sign up sheet where it's the responsibility of the donators to sign up themselves they are less likely to take the initiative rather then personally inviting. One on one conversation will help people feel more comfortable and compelled to help!
While getting volunteers is a vital aspect, the most work comes the day of the blood drive. It starts bright and early with set up starting at 6:30a.m. Here you have to unload the beds, tables, computers, supplies, snacks and questionnaire booths.
By the time you have everything set up people begin rolling in. To keep everything running smoothly throughout the day you will need volunteers manning the snack table, walkers to make sure nobody passes out on their way back from donating, people to check donators in, and in our case at school we need people to run from classroom to classroom locating students. There is no shortage of things to do when helping at a blood drive and Red Cross is very welcoming to volunteers.
It’s very important that we have people donating blood regularly, and by doing so you are saving lives. Why should you give blood?
  1. Most importantly you are saving lives of those in desperate need of your blood
  2. You get a free mini physical! They will check your:
    1. Pulse
    2. Blood Pressure
    3. Body Temperature
    4. Hemoglobin
  3. You’ll get a free snack!
Things to remember when you are going to donate blood:
  1. Have a light meal beforehand
  2. Drink plenty of water
  3. Bring your donor card and driver's license
  4. Bring the names of any medication you are taking
You can find a Red Cross Blood Drive near you by going to Red Cross’s website (http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/why-donate-blood) and typing in your Zip Code. I encourage anyone who is able to donate blood. You never know how many lives you may save!

Citations: American red cross (no date) Available at: http://www.redcrossblood.org/ (Accessed: 6 November 2015).

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Do Good, Feel Good!

Have you ever thought about helping others and then thought,”Well what’s in it for me?” As humans, it’s natural to look for how a task can benefit your own good, and I’m sure if you have ever been brave enough to ask this question aloud, you’ve heard the answer, “Well this isn’t about you.” Today I’m here to help, and I’m going to do so by revealing what helping others really CAN do for YOU.
1. It Builds Your Self Esteem!
York University did a study by asking participants to intentionally help others a few times a day in situations they normally wouldn’t. After six months the participants reported much greater self esteem and overall life happiness than those in the control group. It can create greater life satisfaction, and can instill a sense of purpose into one’s life and a natural feeling of accomplishment. Helping takes your mind off of your worries and keeps you mentally stimulated.
2. Connects You to Others
Volunteering is a great new way to meet new people,strengthen existing relationships, and make new friends! It quickly strengthens your ties to your community, and can exponentially grow your support network! By involving you with many new people, you are exposed to a diverse population. This can help increase your social and relationship skills, things that you can carry over into every other part of your life.
3. It Can Advance Your Career!
Volunteering gives you a chance to try out new jobs without any commitment and is a perfect way to gain experience in a new field. You never know what sort of connections you can find once you put yourself out there and help organizations that interest you and what you love. It can also teach you valuable job skills that can help you in any career path you choose!
4. Shows Colleges and Employers You’re Committed!
Volunteer work shows your character, and your willingness to put others before yourself. By doing this, others get a sense of selflessness as who you are, which is a very admirable quality!
5. It Even Helps You Live Longer!
A new review on the health effects of volunteering found that helping others on a regular basis can reduce early mortality rates by twenty two percent compared to those who do not! Reports also showed that volunteers also benefited from reduced depression rates, higher self satisfaction reports, and an overall happier life!

The benefits can go on forever, but in reality the greatest benefit of all is knowing that you helped someone else! While helping others can positively impact you, don’t get lost focusing on yourself. Volunteering is a chance to step back from yourself and your everyday life and help try to give a better life to someone else. Sure it’s nice to get a few positives back, but it’s not really about helping you, it’s about helping others!



Citations:

Bendall, L. (2012) Related features. Available at: http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/wellness/why-helping-others-is-good-for-your-health (Accessed: 29 October 2015).

Szalavitz, M. (2013) Helping others helps you to live longer | TIME.com. Available at: http://healthland.time.com/2013/08/23/helping-others-helps-you-to-live-longer/ (Accessed: 30 October 2015).

Volunteering and its surprising benefits: Helping others while helping yourself (no date) Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/work-career/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits.htm (Accessed: 30 October 2015).


Volunteering (no date) Available at: https://www.google.com/search?q=volunteering&biw=1366&bih=623&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAWoVChMI1cPohffoyAIVCD4mCh3mWQTI#imgrc=_wiWFAYCwzWtKM%3A (Accessed: 30 October 2015).

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Helping Out: Close to Home.

When volunteering, it's a great feeling being able to give back to the community you live and reside in every single day. This week I am going to focus on  places to help in the town that I've grown up in, Cadillac, Michigan.


1. Oasis: Family Resource Center 
This is an organization in our town that helps families in domestic violence situations have a safe and comfortable place to stay. I remember going on a field trip in elementary school to the women's shelter, and we got to meet some of the people that were staying there. It was eye opening hearing the stories those women shared of how they've struggled, and how helpful Oasis has been to them. Volunteering here is a very rewarding experience, whether you are able to actually help at the center or only behind the scenes to help make sure everything works properly, you know that the work you put in will not go to waste.


2. Salvation Army
Salvation Army is an organization always looking for volunteers. They even say, "Volunteers are valuable assets in The Salvation Army's efforts to meet the changing needs of our world. Through your skills and experience, you make significant contributions to society by positively impacting the lives of those that are assisted every day. Salvation Army volunteers change lives, uplift families and support the community." Without volunteers there would be no way for the organization to operate. Whether you want to ring bells in front of stores around Christmas time, sort clothes for the thrift shop, run the thrift shop, or many more, the opportunities for you to help are certainly there.


3. Wexford County Animal Shelter
Local animal shelters are always a must for trying out some volunteering. It's always fun to interact with the animals, especially if you are a  pet-lover. There is a wide variety of things places like these need your help with as well, whether it be walking and playing with animals, cleaning the kennels, or running the desk there is surely something that fits you. 


4. The Shepard's Table 
The Shepard's table is something in Cadillac put on by a local church that welcomes people struggling financially to come and get a good meal. They serve meals every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00. and never turn anyone away. They are always in need of help either cooking, baking, serving, or cleaning up after the meal has finished. It's a wonderful program to get apart of, because it impacts so many people directly. 

Obviously these are only a few of the many places that are needing your help, and this is just in my own small town community. Wherever you are there is most certainly  a place that could put your skills to good use, so seize the opportunities at hand and give back to your own local community!

"Devote yourself to your community around you. Devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning" -Mitch Albom


Citations: 
The Salvation Army International - The Salvation Army International (2015) Available at: http://www.salvationarmy.org/ (Accessed: 23 October 2015).

Website and Design, C. N. (no date) Need something for that person who has everything?. Available at: http://www.cadillacoasis-frc.org/ (Accessed: 23 October 2015).

Website and Design, C. N. (no date) The Shepherd’s Table. Available at: http://www.firstbaptistcadillac.org/gpage/?page=49 (Accessed: 23 October 2015).




Thursday, October 15, 2015

Get Inspired.







Ten Quotes to get you inspired!

“Volunteers are not paid -- not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.”

“You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

“Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress.”

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

“We must use time creatively in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The future depends on what we do in the present.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” – James D. Miles

“Never underestimate your ability to make someone else’s life better – even if you never know it.” – Greg Louganis

“Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring.”

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” - Aesop




The smallest idea can be turned into something so big it helps shapes what our world becomes. Never let an idea go unheard, and never be afraid to speak your mind. Some say that you are so small in this large world that you couldn't possibly make a difference, but I beg to differ.



That is why helping others can be so crucial to the future of our society, one good deed can spiral into thousands of good deeds. In the video above it exemplifies the idea of 'paying it forward.

Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a 

good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor. The concept 

is old, but the phrase may have been coined by Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book In the

Garden of Delight.

If you need a starting point to your paying it forward train, here are 50 good and easy ideas! 

1. Pay it Backward: buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
2. Compliment the first three people you talk to today.
3.Send a positive text message to five different people right now.
4.Post inspirational sticky notes around your neighborhood, office, school, etc.
5.Tell someone they dropped a dollar (even though they didn’t). Then give them a dollar.
6.Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter.
7.Say hi to the person next to you on the elevator.
8.Surprise a neighbor with freshly baked cookies or treats!
9.Let someone go in front of you in line who only has a few items.
10.Leave a gas gift card at a gas pump.
11.Throw a party to celebrate someone just for being who they are, which is awesome.
12.Have a LinkedIn account? Write a recommendation for coworker or connection.
13.Leave quarters at the laundromat.
14.Encounter someone in customer service who is especially kind? Take an extra five minutes to tell their manager.
15.Leave unused coupons next to corresponding products in the grocery store.
16.Leave a note on someone’s car telling them how awesome they parked.
17.Try to make sure every person in a group conversation feels included.
18.Write a kind message on your mirror with a dry erase marker for yourself, your significant other or a family member.
19.Place a positive body image notes in jean pockets at a department store.
20.Smile at five strangers.
21.Set an alarm on your phone to go off at three different times during the day. In those moments, do something kind for someone else.
22.Send a gratitude email to a coworker who deserves more recognition.
23.Practice self-kindness and spend 30 minutes doing something you love today.
24.Give away stuff for free on Craig’s List.
25.Write a gratitude list in the morning and again in the evening.
26.Know parents who could use a night out? Offer to babysit for free.
27.Hold up positive signs for traffic or in a park for people exercising outside!
28.Return shopping carts for people at the grocery store.
29.Buy a plant. Put it in a terracotta pot. Write positive words that describe a friend on the pot. Give it to that friend!
30.Write a positive comment on your favorite blog, website, or a friend’s social media account.
31.Have a clean up party at a beach or park.
32.While you’re out, compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is.
33.Leave a kind server the biggest tip you can afford.
34.When you’re throwing something away on the street, pick up any litter around you and put that in the trash too.
35.Pay the toll for the person behind you.
36.Put 50 paper hearts in a box. On each cutout write something that is special about your partner or a friend. Give them the box and tell them to pull out a heart anytime they need a pick-me-up.
37.Everyone is important. Learn the names of your office security guard, the person at the front desk and other people you see every day. Greet them by name. Also say “hello” to strangers and smile. 38.These acts of kindness are so easy, and they almost always make people smile.
39.Write your partner a list of things you love about them.
40.Purchase extra dog or cat food and bring it to an animal shelter.
41.Find opportunities to give compliments. It costs nothing, takes no time, and could make someone’s entire day. Don’t just think it. Say it.
42.Take flowers or treats to the nurses’ station at your nearest hospital.
43.Keep an extra umbrella at work, so you can lend it out when it rains.
44.Send a ‘Thank you’ card or note to the officers at your local police or fire station.
45.Take muffins or cookies to your local librarians.
46.Run an errand for a family member who is busy.
47.Leave a box of goodies in your mailbox for your mail carrier.
48.Tape coins around a playground for kids to find.
49.Put your phone away while in the company of others.
50.Email or write to a former teacher who made a difference in your life.

Happy Helping! 

Sources: https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-kindness-blog/2917-50-ways-to-pay-it-forward and YouTube. 








Thursday, October 8, 2015

Why Help?


Service (n): An act of helpful activity; help; aid.
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/114701121730749956/


   When you hear the word volunteer most automatically think, "That's the right thing to do." Volunteering and providing service to others is something held by society as an honorable act, but have you ever really asked why? William Arthur Ward explained everything you need to know in one sentence, "Three keys to abundant living: caring about others, daring for others,  and sharing with others."

   While many believe that helping others is solely beneficial to whomever you are helping, a lot of good besides direct help to those in need can come from service as well. Volunteering can aid in building strong relationships with people you may not have gotten to know otherwise. It can open doors of opportunities for you to involve and immerse yourself in society. Working alongside people who feel as strongly about supporting a particular cause increases your well being and self-fulfillment astronomically.

   Psychologist Mark Snyder said, "People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness. All of these things go up as their feelings of social connectedness goes up, which in reality, it does. It also improves their health and even their longevity." While these things may sound selfish in way, seeking personal gain from helping others, it truly enhances why we should involve ourselves at all. Not only do you help others, you help yourself along the way.
Lake City Humane Society 2009


   I got involved in volunteering when I was in 6th grade. I’ve always been an animal lover, and an advocate for the proper of treatment of animals, so my family pushed me to volunteer at an animal shelter. Never have I been a supporter of euthanization, so I refused to work at the Cadillac Animal Shelter here in town. Instead I took it upon myself to look into the Lake City Humane Society, and then forced my family to commute me back and forth. I put in over sixty hours of volunteer work there at the humane society during that year, and I loved every second of it. I was able to make a difference while doing something that I loved. I think that’s what is most important, finding something you feel strongly about to donate your time to. If you choose an activity that you don’t support, or simple don’t find fun or interesting, the more likely that it will scare you off from service in the future.

   The more you help, the more people you will inspire to do the same. That is how volunteering has become such a prominent part of my life, my family has always pushed me to do all that I can do for others because I’d want someone to do the same for me. Someone once told me, “No act of kindness, no matter how small. is ever wasted.” That is a motto I’ve come to live my life by, and nothing but good has come from it.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bringing About a New Perspective

    I know that everyone is so busy trying to keep themselves busy these days, myself included. Something I've found that keeps me in touch with reality is making sure that I set aside time to help those in need. This summer I was granted the opportunity to travel to Louisville, Kentucky with my church group. We did a variety of mission work while we were there including packing lunches for the local food truck, painting houses for families that weren't able to do so themselves, and playing with the local children in their parks. This experience, although far from home, opened my eyes to all the need there is in our world today, even in my own community. It impacted me in a way that I now strive to keep mission work a prominent part of my life.
   In Louisville I was able to get to know a lot of local children. It was amazing to see what type of backgrounds these children came from, and how bright and full of life each one of them were. They opened my eyes to a new perspective of how people can live and struggle. They taught me new games that I had never played, words from the different languages they spoke, and both light hearted stories to make me laugh or heart wrenching stories to show me how blessed I've truly been. I think it's very important to look at life from a new set of eyes. This trip, I'll admit, was far out of my comfort zone. I saw and heard things that broke my heart, but I don't regret going to Louisville in the slightest. That is why I think volunteer work is so essential to my life.
   One of the most shocking things I discovered on the trip was at lunch the kids gathered by the food truck that we had stocked with lunches earlier, and they all took a bag, but many of them did not eat. When I asked a little girl close by why most of them weren’t eating she told me that they had to save their food for their younger siblings at home. She said that for most of them it was the only meal they would get all day, and if they ate it themselves, their siblings would starve. This made me stop and think about all the times my family and I have wasted our surpluses of food, while these kids here struggle to eat even one meal a day. It says a lot about what their day to day lives look like and yet they did not complain. They still played just as I did, laughed just as loud, and smiled brightly as if nothing were wrong at all. They were content with the things that they had, and that’s something I’ve found hard to do myself. Without knowing it, those kids taught me more lessons in just playing a game of kickball and multiple piggy back rides than I would have ever imagined. The mission work I did helped changed lives, but the life that it changed most was my own.