Monday, June 11, 2012

Make A Change Monday: Sharing Your Gifts

During our recent vacation Don and I had a lot of time to talk/think about our upcoming move to Kansas, and one of the things we wanted to start looking for was a place to volunteer our time. We have SO enjoyed our Saturdays at the Fascinate-U Children's Museum in Fayetteville this year - no matter how crazy our schedules were or what else we had going on, our Kids Craft Saturdays gave us a chance to do something TOGETHER and do a little good as well. Volunteering is near and dear to our hearts - twelve years ago I was running a Dr. Seuss reading program at a local elementary school in Georgia and his Officer Candidate School (OCS) class came to read - and while it DEFINITELY wasn't love at first sight (that is comedy for another time) it changed our lives forever.

We have an odd set of parameters we've created for ourselves over the years. We don't want to volunteer to work with animals, because I'm afraid I'd cry nonstop and Don is afraid we'd end up with 27 strays in our living room. When we are living somewhere short-term we don't want to volunteer to work closely with the same group of children because we would hate to get attached to them (and have them get attached to us) and then leave. Beyond that - we are totally open. Don thinks he might like to do Habitat for Humanity, I might like to try a food bank or a homeless shelter. Whatever decision we make - we'll make it together, and our lives will be the richer for it.

Speaking of richer, have you seen Secret Millionaire? It is a show on ABC that sends wealthy people out in to impoverished neighborhoods "undercover" (I think they say they are documentary filmmakers) to learn about community programs that are making a difference. At the end of each episode the millionaires reveal their true identities and gift these programs with money out of their own pockets. I bawl EVERY TIME - but I am also disgusted EVERY TIME. Almost every one of these millionaires admits at some point during the program that they have NEVER volunteered before. NEVER. As if it is some foreign concept to actually go out in the world and do good. I'm not on some moral high horse where I think everyone HAS to volunteer their time - but these people literally appear to be unaware that it was an option. It just blew my mind, and made me realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by people who WANT to make a change in the world. Crafters are ESPECIALLY generous with their time and their talents - from making cards for deployed soldiers to crocheting booties for preemie babies to donating supplies to art programs to hosting fundraising events for your communities, you guys are incredibly giving, and I am thankful to be a part of that.

We R Memory Keepers is a company that embraces this spirit of sharing your gifts, and I was THRILLED when they asked Xyron to partner with them to support Operation Write Home - a program that provides handmade cards for deployed troops to send to their loved ones. Later this month the Xyron Design Team is going to be posting cards they've created (and Xyron will be doing some great giveaways), but I wanted to tell you about it now because you could win $1000 by participating! Head on over to their website for all the details, and "like" their Facebook page for some fun card making tips and the chance to win some additional prizes.

Thank you for being such an amazing group of people - opportunities like this and the overwhelming response they receive remind me how incredibly blessed I am to work in this industry. Grateful to have you all in my life!


  1. I am going to make as many cards as my hands can handle! These men and women deserve this, and so very much more!

  2. Just a thought-but have you considered sharing your crafting with residents of nursing homes?We did a program where the seniors made cards to send to the troops overseas-it was a win win for everyone.Every activity director at a nursing home is always thrilled to get help.

    1. NanaBeth - what a WONDERFUL idea!!! We'll look in to that for sure when we get to Kansas. Thank you so much for sharing it!!

  3. I love how committed to volunteering you and your husband are. My father taught me at a very young age that once you can help yourself, you must help others. You do it everyday as a military spouse. But then you go above and beyond to help your community. That is amazing. I can't wait to take part in Operation Write Home. What an awesome partnership!!!!

  4. I once participated in a "team building" project, where we went out and did volunteer work at a food back, stocking their shelves. I mean talk about working as a TEAM!! I will never forget the experience, will always treasure those teammates, and pass the idea onto anyone else that will listen. We gave of ourselves, let go of any indifferences, and became "a part of". If we don't reach out to become a part of the community around us, we get lost in self, and become too dependent on those near us. We become clingy and needy, which is unhealthy. NanaBeth's idea of the nursing home is a great one! I used to work in a nursing home ... I LOVED it! I started out as a Candy-Striper then became a paid employee. I was in there a lot of times on my days off, just hanging out with the seniors. They really appreciated the company, companionship, and help. Every day felt like a GREAT accomplishment. NanaBeth is right, that most activity directors would love to have your expertise. They would love both you and Don. Nevertheless, Beth, whatever you do will be great because you will be there. A person can pretend to care but you can't pretend to be there!!