Living in the Washington, D.C. area is awesome. It’s a beautiful city, it has a ton going on, and there’s never a vacancy of opportunities. However, the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) area involves a lot of traffic and traveling long distances to get to places. When I was in high school, I did cross country and swam. To get to those swim and cross country meets was a lot of traveling. Schools were almost an hour apart. Parking was scarce. My time commuting ended up surpassing two hours a day sometimes. This meant that when I didn’t have to travel far to do things, I preferred to do them as locally as possible. When I got into volunteering more and more during high school, I realized that a lot of these awesome organizations were located far away from my home and that there was no way to get there. I don’t have my own car, so even today I still run into this problem of wanting to help out a cause that’s far away.
However, I have good news for you! There are a few ways you can contribute to an amazing cause straight from your home that doesn’t involve donating money, doesn’t require you to travel very far, and can be done in person. Plus, you don’t have to do this on your own. You can do this with your friends, for fun, and make the most of your summer by giving to others. Let’s hop into this!
Crafting Blankets + Pillows: They’re easier than you think!
For a service event that I did about a year ago at Amherst College, we created no-sew blankets and pillows for an organization called Christ Child Society, located in Washington, D.C. Amherst is located up in Massachusetts, and we decided to create these blankets and pillows and ship them down south. Here’s how we did it in very brief terms:
- We asked for funding from our college for the fabrics and shipping costs. We also asked for money to buy snacks (we bought bubble tea, a very Amherst thing to do!).
- Once we got the funding, we reserved a space in our buildings to host the event. We established a time and date for the event.
- Then, we pre-ordered the bubble tea. We ordered the fabrics, scissors, and all other things online.
- Before and on the day of the event, we watched YouTube videos on how to do these pillows and blankets (I had done them before, so I had an idea in mind already).
- On the day of the event, we printed out instructions and put them on each table where people were gonna work.
- To pack them up, we reused shipping boxes and took them to the post office.
That was the event in a nutshell! That was for a larger-scale event at Amherst that was a bit more formal, too. However, recreate this idea at home with your friends in a much more casual way. For example, instead of paying for food, each person can bring a dish and a potluck can take place! Or, for fabrics, maybe some of your friends sew or have old clothes or cloth that they are happy to put to good use.
Benefits of Giving
I love service because of its super obvious reasons: it’s life-giving and makes the person doing the service happy. Time published an article a while ago called The Secret to Happiness Is Helping Others. I recommend that you read the article in full, but here are a few of the points that I’ve taken out of the article.
- 1. Find your passion: “Our passion should be the foundation for our giving. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving. “
- 2. Give your time: “The gift of time is often more valuable to the receiver and more satisfying for the giver than the gift of money.”
- 3. Give to organizations with transparent aims and results: “According to Harvard scientist Michael Norton, “Giving to a cause that specifies what they’re going to do with your money leads to more happiness than giving to an umbrella cause where you’re not so sure where your money is going.”
- 4. Find ways to integrate your interests and skills with the needs of others: “[…] being willing to give more than you receive, but still keeping your own interests in sight.”
- 5. Be proactive, not reactive: “We have all felt the dread that comes from being cajoled into giving […] This type of giving doesn’t lead to a warm glow feeling […] Instead, we should set aside time, think about our options, and find the best charity for our values.”
- 6. Don’t be guilt-tripped into giving: “Yet if we are feeling guilt-tripped into giving, chances are we will not be very committed […]”
All this means that you should find a cause that you care about. From there, donate your time, your mentoring skills, your talents, and so much more!
I hope you liked this post and that it gave you two new ideas: 1. What’s a way to put a cool cause into your social gatherings? 2. How you are going to avoid feeling guilt-tripped into donating and instead find a cause that means a lot to you?
Have an awesome week! I look forward to talking soooon!
Accept small irritations with good humorMother Teresa