by KATY VANCUREN, Assistant Principal
Rockford High School
During the holiday season, I always am in the mood to give. I give to local charities, donate to my church, even answer the telemarketers’ calls and donate to an organization from time to time. But after watching the movie “The Blindside” recently, I started to wonder, “Why not make a bigger effort to give year ‘round?”
Believe me, I am just like you! I don’t have extra money or time, but I do have other things that are valuable to others in need. I have a smile, a kind heart and words to share. I have nice stationary to jot a friend a note of appreciation. I have time to pick up the phone and catch up with an old friend. Despite all the things I don’t have, I still have a lot to give.
“The Blindside” really touched me and, if you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it. It speaks about companionate hearts, a giving spirit, and perhaps most of all, making a difference in the life of another. We all have this ability to give, but sometimes our lives get so busy that time goes by and our intentions get lost.
Giving is certainly something I hope to instill in my children as well. Once a year I have the kids go through their closets and drawers so that we can donate clothing. A few other ideas are:
• sporting equipment—Encourage children to pass last season’s athletic gear to Sports Gift (sportsgift.org), which will distribute it to kids in need.
• school supplies—If your child has extra books, markers, or other items, you can find teachers who need them at iloveschools.com, a nonprofit that connects donors with teachers in U.S. classrooms.
• DVDs—Send movies that haven’t been watched in a while to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan through AMVETS Task Force DVDE (amvets.org/taskforcedvd). Children’s titles go to families of soldiers.
• cell phones—When your kids or you upgrade, check out recyclewirelessphones.com to locate programs that recycle or refurbish old phones, then donate proceeds to various charities.
There are many local and national organizations that are looking for volunteers, goods and money. Reach out to them—make it a family event so that everyone gets the experience of helping others. The best part about giving is the feeling it leaves you with. Do what you can, when you can. Making the difference in the lives of others is a rewarding experience for everyone involved.