Giving back is not just about money

By: Jennifer Pretty Nov 29, 2011

Whether it’s the poor economy, personal issues at home or stresses on the job, it’s so easy to get to a point of feeling utter frustration. These issues are real, and we all have them. Many of us are pinching pennies, worrying about a loved one who’s ill, unhappy that we were passed up for promotion or have other stresses going on in our lives. Although it’s difficult to see these situations as temporary, for most of us, they are.

But ask yourself these questions, “What of the person or family who lives literally “hand to mouth”? How about the person you pass each time you go to the office who is asking for some change to buy a meal? What about the family who, because of circumstances outside their control, are sleeping in their van? What about the homeless war veteran who fought in a war so you could have the luxury of time at home to worry about your temporary stresses? Or what about the disabled who are left in some institution seemingly forgotten by their own loved ones?”

We can all choose to turn a blind eye to these situations. After all, regardless of whether we opt to help in some manner, they will continue to exist. Furthermore, it’s often difficult to believe that your contribution can somehow make a difference. It does!

The next time you consider for a moment how difficult your life is, please stop to think how good you actually have it. Think about how impermanent your situation is and that with time, as the expression goes, “this too shall pass.”

It’s times like this, when things are seemingly a challenge for you that you ask how you can help others who are less fortunate. While it’s nice to write a cheque to anonymously help someone, the giving of your time and heart, in many cases, means more than any amount of money can offer.

Volunteering is not just solely about the person whom you are helping. Several things are guaranteed to happen when you volunteer your time:

  • During the time you are with that person or organization, you will not have thought at all about the troubles in your own life;
  • You will bring a smile to someone’s face and if you get out of your own worries long enough, you can bring a smile to your own face as well;
  • Replacing your “oh, pity me” face with a smiley face will improve not only your mood but also your health;
  • You will feel good in the moment and later as you reflect on your experience;
  • You may just open yourself up to a world of networking opportunities to improve your own circumstances.

What are you waiting for? An invitation? A good, swift kick in the behind? Check out the thousands of volunteer opportunities all across Canada. With so many ways to give back in your community, there will definitely be an option that’s the perfect match for your personality, skills and time restraints. Sign me up!


Until next time,

Peace, love and vitamin C!


Jennifer Pretty began her career as the director of artist development for a well-known Canadian music label. Branching out on her own, she then started her own PR business “Pretty Media Management” planning and hosting various charity, entertainment and fashion events. As a dance and fitness class enthusiast Jennifer is a firm believer in the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. She also loves to cook, travel, spend time with family and friends and most importantly living life to the fullest!