Well, it’s the last day of the year and I’ll summarize my last 5 days as well as my feelings on the Project as a whole.
For my 27th Day of Giving, I gave thanks for always having a place to live as a kid by donating to Life House in Duluth. Life House helps out homeless youth in NE Minnesota and is the only drop-in center for them in the area. There are a lot of kids who didn’t get blessed with responsible parents and we can’t turn our backs on them. How we respond as a community to these kids will shape the adults they become. If they feel that someone does care, they will stand a much better chance of becoming responsible adults who believe in themselves. A lot of us are completely clueless about subcultures that exist around us. Many of us never have had to worry about parents who abused drugs or alcohol or neglected us for other reasons. I don’t know that I blame them for running away from “home” but I do blame us if we turn our backs on them and say that they aren’t our kids so we don’t need to worry about them. We complain about our taxes going to welfare or to pay for prisons, so why don’t we be proactive and help some of these high-risks kids out now so they can instead become respected colleagues and friends of our children?
On the opposite end of the age spectrum – for my 28th Day of Giving, I chose to support Meals on Wheels and give thanks for the seniors in my life that pass on their wisdom and love to me. A few elderly folks I know rely on this service for a warm home-cooked meal 5 days a week. They are lucky enough to still live in their homes, but they aren’t able to easily get to the grocery store. Not only is that a challenge, but it isn’t easy to cook for one without either having no diversity in meals or wasting a lot of food. Meals for Wheels is also great for seniors because it ensures that once a day someone is checking up on that person and making sure they’re alright. If things go well, all of us will be old at some point and we may be that person who needs help with meals. Senior hunger is a real problem and our love can’t always flow downhill to our children.
Many families had an empty chair at their table this Christmas with their loved one deployed overseas in the military. For my 29th Day of Giving, I give thanks to those families for their sacrifice by donating to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon. This program aims to provide support to the families and servicemembers who bear the burden for protecting all of us. We may not always agree with the missions that they are on, but we should reserve our judgement for the politicians who place them there. I know that I would never be brave enough to sign up for the military and I doubt that I would remain strong if my husband or son/daughter were deployed to dangerous places. They are there for all of us and for that I am grateful. Beyond the Yellow Ribbon helps to support those families and we should as communities and neighbors. If we haven’t been in their shoes, we will never understand the stress of a deployment or the patriotism that drives these servicemembers and their families to make the ultimate sacrifice. To donate to the cause, click here for a list of organizations that are helping out and pick the one that best fits you.
Where would I be without teachers? I loved school and am surprised at times that I never went to school to be a teacher. With gratitude for those amazing folks, I chose to support them on my 30th Day of Giving by donating to Adopt-a-Classroom where you can be matched up with a teacher that could use your financial help. You can even select if you’d like it to go to a school with a high percentage of children at poverty level. I would also like to encourage teachers who read this to sign up your classrooms so that those of us wh0 want to help you out are more easily able to do so. So many people complain about teachers, but do they really think they could do a better job guiding 15-25 young, energetic children? I’m sure there are a few bad ones out there, just as in any profession, but the vast majority are doing their best to shape our next generation. They manage to teach while also dealing with children who are tired, hungry, abused, mentally ill or on the flip side, spoiled rotten brats! Seriously though, they don’t always get to hear thank you’s from students or parents for being one of the most important people in that child’s life. Let’s be thankful for them and not only “give them a hand” but also lend them one.
Finally, with nothing but thanks for my incredible husband, I selected Wish Upon a Wedding for my 31st and last Day of Giving. I was pretty good at shrugging off the importance of marriage in my 20s, not really understanding how powerful the right marriage can be. I “get” it now and I also get how important it is to announce your commitment and share your joy with your family and friends. Wish Upon a Wedding is a nonprofit organization that provides weddings and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illnesses and serious life-altering circumstances. Everyone who wants it deserves that day where you stand in front of everyone that cares about you and you publicly commit to love your one person for the rest of your lives. I cried throughout our entire wedding, from the minute I started walking down the aisle to the end where we walked back down it together as husband and wife and neither one of us was even facing an illness! I want other people to be able to experience that overwhelming joy and love!
So there it ends, my 31 Days of Giving. I wish I could have done justice to all of the different organizations, but somedays I just wasn’t able to get to my computer. I hope you all learned about a few new organizations. I know I did! It was tough at times because the need in the world is neverending and I felt absolutely powerless. But then I was able to feel empowered by being able to support people that have dedicated their lives to making life easier for others.
I get so frustrated with the world, all the hate and cruelty, but the beauty and love is there if you look for it.