Returning the Favor

By Stacy Thompson

So first of all…the flu stinks – don’t know if I actually had the flu, but I certainly felt pretty bad for several days and kept myself quarantined just to avoid any contamination.  Still not at 100%, but I’m back in the swing of things—apologies for my late blog submission, but just couldn’t stay upright to get it in earlier!!

So, as excited as I am about both South Carolina teams this Spring – baseball and softball, that is – I have to rave about my new favorite Facebook obsession, and the absolute best feel-good moment you will experience…EVER!  Yes, I realize that Facebook is likely mocked by those born in the 2000s and the butt of any joke which includes the terms “grandma” or “so-last-decade” or accompanied by a serious eye-roll – but, let’s face it, I love to keep up with my friends who are from that decade, many of whom are in fact, grandmas, and I could care less whether I see an eye-roll, as long as I can wish a long-lost-friend a most Happy Birthday or Anniversary!!

Returning the Favor

By far one of the best experiences I have had on Facebook recently doesn’t involve politics, or recent meals, or even prom invites…if you need to feel good about humanity, and know for sure that there are still wonderful people doing amazing things in their community, look no further than Mike Rowe – he of Dirty Jobs (which was an awesome reality show before reality shows became laughable) – Mike not only loves his mother (see no further than his podcasts, in which he reads her e-mails and hilarity ensues…’Old Blue’ being one such example — http://mikerowe.com/2016/09/mondays-with-mother/) but is a genuinely good guy as well.  He has started a show on Facebook called ‘Returning the Favor’ – if you haven’t seen it yet, please, do yourself a favor a check it out, as it will restore your faith in humanity, inspire you and give you a good cry…all in about ½ an hour.

One of the first episodes I caught on Returning the Favor was about a once homeless kid who decided to make soap for homeless shelters – here was this guy who now had a home, but decided to give back nonetheless, and in the simplest way possible – by making soap.  If ever you thought that a small gesture could not make a big impact, you were sorely mistaken – he and his mom are true examples of paying it forward.  https://www.facebook.com/ReturningTheFavor/videos/1941259262812001/

Other amazing stories I cannot get enough of:

 

The main message in all of the above is not what these individuals are doing (although it should be noted that they are all amazing!!) – it’s that we can do this in our community, in our towns and to help our people – please watch, please listen and, more importantly, please Return the Favor!!  Love you Mike Rowe, and we all look forward to Returning the Favor!!!

Selfishly Selfless

By: Stacy Thompson

volunteer hands

Volunteering your time, expertise and efforts benefits not only the person, animal or cause you choose, but YOU as well! I stay pretty busy with work, family time and football (see my prior blog post as I welcomed in the football season!) and sometimes it seems there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. However, I’ve found that my work outside of work provides so much joy and satisfaction, not to mention value beyond a paycheck, that missing it would be missing out.

  • Volunteer to meet other people – As a volunteer member of the Junior League of Columbia, I regularly have opportunities to meet other volunteers while giving back to our communities – some work outside of the home, some inside, some are Gen-X, Gen-Y and Millennials – but we all have one common focus on improving the health and well-being of children and families in the Midlands. The work we do also brings us closer to other non-profits with shared missions and opportunities to learn more about these amazing organizations that have broadened my outlook as well.
  • Volunteer to expand your skills – I volunteer monthly (and sometimes more than monthly) through the South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Program. At times I may counsel individuals at Transitions or assist callers in the Ask-A-Lawyer program. In the past year I’ve volunteered with the Wills Clinic, drafting wills for senior citizens – not within my area of practice, but a good way to learn a new skill while helping someone in the process.
  • Volunteer to gain purpose and perspective – Too often I get bogged down on how my day went or the stress I have in work. Volunteering takes my mind off my relatively minor troubles and gives me renewed energy to continue helping where I can and when I can. In addition, the health benefits of volunteering are widespread (not my conclusion, but certainly can be found in a number of articles, including a few on the Corporation for National and Community Service website.)
  • Volunteer to gain pride in your community – It’s easy to complain, and even easier to sit and do nothing about it. Instead, become involved in change for the better, even if it simply means taking a meal to a friend or supporting a fundraiser at a local school. Find the cause or the organization that you feel may improve our community, city, state or nation and pledge to donate your time and efforts, even if it is simply talking about their mission to a friend (or ten) or helping to organize a fundraising event. Every little bit helps and every little bit matters.

Volunteering is the ultimate selfishly selfless act – you give a lot, gain a lot and learn a lot about yourself and others.

“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Be A Couch Volunteer!

By: Sydney Yarbrough

Sydney YarbroughVolunteering is very important to me. The act of selflessly doing something to help an organization in need reaps so many rewards!  Many think that volunteering takes up a lot of time and energy, or that they’re too busy to fit it into their schedule, but there are so many ways to volunteer and help people in need, even from your own home! Here are some easy ways that you can use your time to make a difference for a non-profit or cause that you support:

  1. Share their posts on Facebook. I don’t mean just “like” the post. I mean click SHARE, write a message to your followers, and encourage them to support your cause, too! Of course, not all of them will catch on immediately, but at least you’re helping to get the word out!
  2. Find Small Organizations to Support. There are plenty of non-profits that you see regularly in the media and on the news. Many hold events, galas, fundraisers, etc… The truth is, not every non-profit can afford to do these things. Many fund their causes from their own pockets, making an event nearly impossible for their budgets. I encourage you to find a lesser-known non-profit and follow their page on Facebook. Retweet them. Interact with them on your computer at least once every few days.
  3. Donate Your “Clutter.” When you’re doing spring cleaning, instead of putting everything in the trash, separate usable items into a bin and take it directly to a non-profit. Many animal rescues need items like blankets (or old clothes that could be used for blankets), detergent, cleaning supplies, etc. Coupons are a great thing to donate, too! Many assume that donating automatically means writing a check, but not always. Gift cards are also a big help.
  4. Reach Out. Wondering what the best way is for you to help? Pick a cause you’re curious about and send them an email or a Facebook message to see what they are currently most in need of. Ask if they have an Amazon wishlist that you could view and send them a gift, or if they need help hosting an information booth in the future. 

I like to encourage everyone to support smaller non-profits and rescues. Even if that just means “Like”ing their Facebook page. Every little act makes a difference and sometimes you don’t even have to leave your couch!