The joy of giving: Paying it forward with passion and purpose

There are so many things that the world needs. One of the most important is you. You have the ability to make this world a better place. Sure you’re young and not yet eligible to hold most political offices, but politicians aren’t the only folks who make a difference. You can make an important contribution to this planet even as a teenager.

When I was a child, I’d heard adults say things like “children should be seen and not heard.” Get real!

You have the power to change the world and all it takes is the courage to speak up for yourself and your community. If you are passionate about an issue, don’t be afraid to take action.

Give and receive

As we move into the holiday season, think about what you can do to make it a joyful time for others. Some say it is better to give than receive. I believe that when you give, you also receive. Studies (real ones from psychologists and other official folks) have found that people who do for others are much happier in life. Additionally, students who are active in their communities and those who volunteer their time do better in school.

There are numerous ways to give back. Organizations always need money, but if your allowance and part-time job don’t afford you the opportunity to be philanthropic, consider volunteering your time for a worthy cause.

Passion and purpose

Volunteer with organizations that reflect the issues and activities you care about the most. Are you an animal enthusiast? Many animal shelters need help with clerical work and cleaning. Passionate about saving the planet? Start a “green” program at your school or pitch in to clean up a neighborhood park.

There are thousands of causes, charities and issues in which to get involved. Websites like Idealist.org and Volunteermatch.org are great resources to help you find opportunities that touch, move and inspire you to take action.

My gift to you is this blog entry. Hopefully it empowers you to pay it forward and make this holiday season one to remember.

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