GIVEjoy Grows in 2024

Welcome to GIVEjoy in 2024!  This blog aims to inspire you to live with joy, mindfulness, and purpose.  The three main pillars of GIVEjoy are: GIVE, GROW, and PLAY.  These can come to life in many ways – from daily activities in your neighborhood to global philanthropic adventures.  Today I’ll share an overview of each of the three pillars.

Bavaria, Germany (2022)

First, a bit about myself: my dedication to continuous learning, connection with others, and giving back have led me to extensive service opportunities in local and global non-profit organizations such as Big Brothers and Sisters, Cross-Cultural Solutions, Dress for Success, Habitat for Humanity, Step-Up Ministries, TABLE, and The Fuller Center for Housing.

Volunteer and personal travel to Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Holland, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Switzerland, and Thailand have enriched my life and cultivated a passion for making a positive difference.

Now, let’s explore the three key points to this type of outlook and lifestyle:


GIVE: Focus on something bigger than yourself  – make a positive difference in the world.

“Be brave.  Give what you can and then be amazed at what happens next.” – Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson, Curator @ TED Conferences, states this beautifully, “Be brave.  Give what you can and then be amazed at what happens next.”  Whether big of small, every positive action or kind gesture makes a difference. You just have to start.

The Fuller Center for Housing - Volunteer Build (Braga, Portugal - 2023)

The act of giving, when done mindfully and with respect, creates positive momentum that benefits you as well as the recipient.  Studies show volunteering is associated with better overall health and other research shows a link between generosity and happiness.  In the event you needed inspiration, these are excellent motivators!  (Source: The Science of Generosity White Paper, Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley, by Summer Allen, Ph.D., May 2018)

GROW: Focused on curiosity and a growth mindset.

This can be expressed as continuous learning, personal growth and fitness (inclusive of mental, physical and financial fitness).  Examples are meditation, yoga, exercise, hiking, mindful spending/investments, studying a new language, taking a class or going to a lecture.

Personal growth and education is cultivated by investing in experiences.  Volunteerism offers an opportunity to learn about other cultures, history, traditions, and global issues and leaves a greater understanding and sensitivity.  For example, Global Volunteer Network, a non-profit recommended by Bill Gates and CNN, believes in inspiring learning, innovation, and action, to unlock the potential of vulnerable communities around the world.

“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm. As you get older, remember you have another hand: the first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.” – Audrey Hepburn

This applies to people of all ages and walks of life.  Start by helping yourself, and then you are able to help others.  Audrey Hepburn’s charisma and grit shines through in her quote: “Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm. As you get older, remember you have another hand: the first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.”

PLAY: Life is short – have fun and make it count

As Americans, we work hard.  A recent piece indicates over 765 million vacation days have gone unused by Americans. Just imagine what could be accomplished with a redirect of that unused time!

Go Carts in Portugal

Porto, Portugal (2023)

Rest and rejuvenation are absolutely needed and well-deserved.  In addition, there is an opportunity to use that precious time to reframe and rejuvenate in an entirely different way.  At home, actively look for opportunities to play.  These can be found all around you and most are free…you can blast your favorite song and dance in the kitchen, cook a favorite meal, enjoy coffee in bed, play an ‘old school’ board game, etc.  You get the idea.  With a more broad philanthropic perspective, volunteer travel vacations can provide a new perspective, energy, and revitalization.   Even in the absence of a common language, we share a common purpose of caring and sharing to provide a bit more comfort and peace…and have fun along the way.

“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

I hope this has inspired you to actively seek out opportunities to GIVE, GROW and PLAY.

Stay tuned for more posts featuring beneficial information, inspiring interviews, and motivational ideas.

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