Even though I am half way around the world from the US who are currently celebrating Thanksgiving I thought it was a good time to reflect and think about what I have done in the past year to give back to my community and what others can do to make a difference and how to give thanks for my life and the past year!

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This morning I was involved with being interviewed for a DVD with  one of my STYLEAID sponsors – BAM Creative – www.bam.com.au about the partnership that they had formed with WAAC in giving back by designing and hosting the STYLEAID website – www.styleaid.com.au as part of their corporate philanthropy.  It got me to thinking through that interview and the discussions after on who gives and who does not and how each of us can give and can make a difference.  Recently there was much fan fare around the sizable donation that Andrew Forrest made to UWA and the difference it would make and fan fare there should be, we need to celebrate and recognise the benefit that these sorts of philanthropic donations make to the lives of those they are intended to affect.  If more people (and not just those with immense wealth) made the choice to give just 1% of their income to not for profit agencies or charities around the country can you imagine the amazing work that these groups could do?

Thinking about that I reflected on what my partner and I had done over the past year to give back and to give thanks for that and realised that we had been giving back in our own way.  We continued to sponsor a child in Africa, had made donations to a number of charities and donated our time to help out where possible.  Giving to a not for profit or a charity does not have to be about money – even though that can of course really help but it can also be about giving of your time to take part in a street collection, or do a mail box drop for a charity or group you support or even volunteering to help in a soup kitchen or doing office admin for them.  Each of these things has an intrinsic value to the organisation involved and if each of us chose to give just 1% of our income or some of our time then you would be amazed at the difference that would make.

Fundraising is one of the hardest things to do for many charities and attracting companies, volunteers and donors to get involved takes much work and effort.  We are all involved in full on chaotic lives (see my previous blog about work/home balance) and sometimes overlook some of the things that are important in life – like giving back to our community and assisting others who might not be as fortunate as ourselves.

I give thanks each day when I wake up in my own bed, in my house, with my beloved partner and wonder at how lucky I am in my life.  I give thanks for my amazing children and grandchildren and how each one of them enriches my being and accepts me for who I am.  I also try and do as much as I can to give back to the community, not just locally but globally in any way that I can.  We are touched by people all around the world now and have the ability to make a real difference through our actions.

As Thanksgiving happens I encourage you to take the time to reflect on who and what you give to and how you can give back to your local community and the international community because if we can should we not be helping those groups and individuals who need some assistance to make their lives better too!  If we all take the time to try and make a difference then we could really give thanks for a better world!