Friday, April 25, 2008


Many more of you have the giving spirit we were hoping to see. Clearly, it was a hard decision to pick one winner. Some of our favorites...

inspiration board submitted by Missy
(photo credits: Martha Stewart)

Lindsey defines (and lives) it perfectly

Many who hear "give big" may feel a little discouraged if we don't have $10,000 to donate or breastmilk to send off to needy newborns in Africa. To me, the term give big does not necessitate large monetary donations or amazing logistical feats. It simply means listening to my conscience, or being guided by that voice within that tells me when and how to give. It means not driving by the homeless man with an "anything you can give would help" sign. Because I can see the sorrow in his eyes, I know that more than my dollars, a genuine smile and kind word mean something. It means bringing dinner in to a young mother who is feeling a little overwhelmed. Not because anyone pointed the need out to you, but because you noticed she was acting a little frazzled, and you know her husband is out of town for the week. You know what it feels like to need a little extra help with the daily tasks. It means spending a couple of hours in your daughter's kindergarten class each week, helping an excellent teacher who is doing her best to teach 20 5-year olds on her own. It means bringing the twelve days of Christmas to a young widow and her son because the holidays mark an especially unpleasant anniversary. It means spending hours each week on lessons and activities for the children at church, knowing that many of them come from broken homes and look forward to the time they spend together each week. Giving big means giving of yourself, even if it is inconvenient or uncomfortable. It means believing that you can make a difference and putting forth the hard work to make it happen. Giving big is a state of mind that I am trying to achieve, and I resolve to listen to that inner voice. To not deny it or rationalize it away, no matter how busy I am. I resolve to give big in a way that lets people know someone cared because it is always worth the effort.

As a family,
Andra will be organizing a widespread gift drive in the Salt Lake Valley to drive a truck full of gifts, wrapped by her family, down to Mexico

Missy has a long list of gives she will accomplish by the end of 2008, including:
*plant a tree: give back to the earth (we did this already and love the idea of new growth)
*send a random package to a friend: give back to my dear friends (who doesn't love a package, anything other than bills in the mail?)
*make a dinner: give back to one that needs it (having been there myself, I understand how welcoming this can be)
*recycle cupboard: give back to planet (we moved at the start of 2008 and dedicated an entire cupboard to recycle. it makes it so easy to remember to just toss it in there when I don't have a small bin that is overflowing)
*little, love notes to my husband: give back to my husband (sometimes those that are closest to you are easily forgotten. i know that little notes of appreciation, love and affection are special to him and i try to do this often)
*daily happiness: give back to my daughter (simply being happy myself and doing things for my daughter that she enjoys makes her day. it's the simplest things for her that take precedence in my day)
*donation to ONE: give back to those in need (this is my goal for September since i am due with baby girl #2 that month and getting out might be difficult with a newborn. i am going to be able to easily give my new daughter her vaccinations, something that other children simply don't have the luxury of).
*call my grandma more often: give back to ancestry (she needs it more than ever right now and i often forget that)
*join community emergency response teams: give back to community (once a month meetings, good to be "in the know")
*reusable grocery bags: give back to earth (reduce, reuse, recycle!)
*send school supply packages to children in Africa: give back to those in need (i'm still on the search for who i can do this through, but what a great opportunity to involve my daughter in making a care package for other children)
*set aside $20 for when a national disaster occurs and we have money to give right then: give to those in need (honestly, it's only april and not to be pessimistic, but something might happen i.e.: the tsunami or hurricane that will need donations and i want to be ready - $20 isn't much, but it fits into our budget right now)
*repaint dresser: give back to my family and reduce consumerism "wants" (i could draw up a list of wants, but i'm going to try to improve myselfand reach out and sand, repaint and reuse a dresser we have already for baby girl #2)
*purchase organic/eco-friendly when possible: give back to oneself by making healthy choices

Candice will be moving (back) to Asia with her family to volunteer teach in the "12th poorest country in the world."

Our services are completely free to the school and to the Lao government. We also have a Lao friend who will be living with us along with her husband, rent free.
I have 2 children, ages 3 1/2 and 8 months. I'm sure that in the next 2 years in Laos, we will give in a lot of little ways. But in 5 years of living overseas, we have always gotten back WAY more than we give away.

Miriam commits to helping at-risk elementary students.

My part-time job involves working with at-risk elementary students to raise their reading scores and help them to become successful readers, which in turn makes them successful people. This job will end in the summer, but I am committing to volunteering my time each week to tutor a child one on one. Also, I want to be more involved in the lives of the at-risk children in my neighborhood. My husband and I are going to open up our home to children this summer, and the rest of the year, as a safe place for them to hang out. This will be in addition to giving our time each week at City Impact's Bible Club ( At City Impact we hope to empower kids with social skills and strengths that will make them successful in school and life.

Alexa says:

My daughter was adopted from Guatemala last year, and there is a fabulous grass-roots charity called Mayan Families run in Guatemala by two American families who have also adopted Guatemalan children. The charity sponsors children to go to school (about $150 a year) and encourages families to send letters, photos and packages back and forth to the sponsored child or family. ... We're ready to start giving and make this organization in my daughter's birth country a big part of our lives.

Meg is organizing a scholarship, with the goal to raise $1,000 this year, in the name of her brother in law, Talmage, who "died at the age of 24 due to a heart defect he's had since birth."

My plan is to open an account, and thru familial fundraising, earn money dedicated to this scholarship. The rest of the family is already excited to give. The fun twist is to keep the dedicated account a secret from my mother-in-law until we reach our goal of $1,000, and then to present it to her as a little boost to the scholarship fund. I want to show her how much we loved Tal and how excited we are to help other students in his honor for years to come.

Suzanne is doing the "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk on May 4th with two of her daughters.

Rachel is traveling to India with her family to spend Christmas with 300+ children who live in an orphanage her family has been connected to and volunteering in for over 50 years. "..That's how I give back, for this year and for always."

Amira will start her give big by "distribut(ing) food and basic goods at homeless and battered women shelters around the Chicagoland area."

My sister has already taken action to arrange food to be delivered to a family that have come to America as refugees of war. We have also learned that a family with 7 children fell victim to a fire that destroyed their house and all of their belongings. Later this summer we hope to have a fund raising event to help this family back on their feet. To top it all off, we are organizing a Habitat for Humanity event to get teen agers involved in giving back and helping those in need.

Lynette says,

I've been wanting to do something humanitarian in Chile for a while and I've even contacted a few companies (like Oneity) to get involved to no avail. So the other day when my Spanish teacher asked me if I would like to join Damas de Escondida (a ladies group that does charity work here in Antofagasta) I quickly said yes. At first, I was a little worried about joining a group of women that don't speak English (especially since my Spanish is rudimentary at best), but I quickly learned language is not a barrier for love and charity. Our desire is what connects us -- a desire to make the world a little bit better, in whatever capacity we can.

Anna will be involved with a microcredit program called Enterprise Mentors, Inc.

This group gives out small loans to people in third world countries. Along with giving the loan, they teach them how to make their business more successful. For example, A lady who makes purses or earrings in the Philippines can get a small loan to buy supplies. Enterprise Mentors teaches her how to help her business and eventually her business has grown enough to hire people from her village. This small loan has then helped many people from her village. This group has a loan re-payment of over 90%. I feel that helping this group is so important. It does not give handouts it gives a vessel of learning and independence. Doing a fundraiser to give big to those who do not have the current means to help themselves or their families is a way I can help. The wonderful part of this group is that helping one or two in these villages ends up helping many more.

Sarah will host a book club in Buffalo, "in which all the members collect books to giveaway to a local charity... I'd like to give big by helping to promote literacy and giving the gift of a book."

Emily will become a foster parent (to children under the age of 3) this summer.

There are 500,000 children in the United States waiting to be adopted. Most people adopting would rather have an infant so these kids stay in the system till they are 18 then are supposed to be "adults" with no family to back them up. We can't wait to bring a child into our home once again. This isn't what we expected our life to look like but we are making the best of it.

Crystal and her husband will be "helping to build a well in Africa so children can have safe drinking water and survive." And.. they are "in the midst of starting a child abuse prevention company to go in and help new Mom's who have either been abused or just want to talk to someone who is not part of the government."

And Nicole will be volunteering at a local animal shelter once a month.

1 comment:

  1. oh, wow, I'm honored to make the "favorite givers" list. :)
    There are a lot of beautiful, giving people in the world!


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