“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas ….perhaps… means a little bit more”
The holidays are a wonderful time to reflect on how truly blessed & fortunate we are. At times it’s easy to get swept up in the hustle & bustle of the holiday season [guilty as CHARGED], that we tend to forget about how incredibly important giving back to our community really is! I recently had the privilege of working with the YSM Evergreen Centre For Street Youth & was positively blown AWAY by how selfless & passionate these volunteers are! So in the true spirit of the holidays, I wanted to share 3 simple ways that we can all give back this month!
The Evergreen Centre For Street Youth
So before we actually get into my list of tips, I wanted to first take a second & talk about how INCREDIBLE this program is!! The Evergreen Centre For Street Youth is run by the Yonge Street Mission & is designed to provide street teens with nutritious meals, a sense of community & most importantly hope.
The centre is fully equipped with all of the tools required to help these teens build a better future for themselves. Career counselors assist with resumes & cover letters, donated suits & work clothes are available for job interviews, doctors & nurses provide healthcare & daycare staff offer educational classes to help young mothers… they even bring in weekly Zumba teachers!!
My family has been involved with this organization for a few years, but being away at University has always prevented me from attending the meal program. After talking with one teen in particular, I was truly inspired not only by her drive to succeed but her overwhelming positivity & zest for life… her smile was absolutely infectious! I can’t think of any other way to describe her other than a bundle of this insanely warm, beautiful energy. At the risk of sounding cheesy, it honestly did make me realize how much I take for granted & how all of the stupid things that used to upset me really in the grand scheme of things DON’T MATTER.
I’m so glad that I FINALLY got to share in this experience with my cousins, aunts/uncles & parents!! Not to mention volunteer with this AMAZING staff. I cannot wait to get back to the centre again!
Want to get involved with this incredible cause? Please click here!!
3 Simple Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season
Because the holidays can be a bit of a budget-buster, I tried to include the most cost-effective ways that we can give back throughout the season:
1. Host a Coat/Clothes Party:
Throwing an ugly Christmas sweater party?! Simply invite your guests to bring coats, clothing or winter attire they no longer use & donate these items to an organization in need. This costs absolutely NOTHING & the clothes will serve a much better purpose other than lying in a crumpled pile on your closet floor! Click here for a list of organizations & the items they require.
2. Participate in Toy Drives:
If your workplace is hosting a toy drive this month… participate! Remember how magical it was to creep down the stairs on Christmas morning to see what Santa left for you under the tree?! Make that a possibility for someone else 🙂 OR host a holiday party & ask your guests to bring a toy for donation in lieu of a bottle of wine or hosting gift!!
3. Perform Random Acts of Kindness:
This one is SO simple but goes SO far! Smile at others, hold the door, write more handwritten cards, randomly bake cookies for your neighbor… pay for a stranger’s coffee! The list goes on & on! A friend of mine recently wrote these wonderful, personalized holiday cards & it was really such a lovely gesture! With everything that’s going on in the World, I think that we could ALL use a little laughter, a little cheer & just some good ol’ fashion fun these days… don’t you think?!
So spread the CHEER this season!!! I’m going to leave you with this video from 18 year-old student Shea Glover. She captured what happens when people are told they’re beautiful. It’s magic people… seriously though, really touching I may or may not have cried!
How are you going to give back over the holidays?! Let me know!!