My Not So Perfect But Fabulous Life

using my big words to inspire… & hopefully make a difference

Pass It On January 21, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Friends,Give Back,Hope — MDunbar @ 7:00 am

Imagine what one small thing would do...

“Pass it on” I know it sounds like a cliché but it is so true. We take things for granted in good times and are reminded, sometimes painfully in hard times, that we need one another.

I have worked with non-profits, either salaried or in a volunteer capacity, for over ten years. I know that every single thing about a non-profit is made possible through donations and support of those who believe in the cause. It has been very interesting to work at a church in these hard economic times. Two years ago the reality of the world in which we live hit home really hard. Not only was the staff stripped of most of our budget used for specific ministries but we were on a pay increase hiatus. There were many of us who opted out of a raise in order to keep our friends on staff and some positions had to be cut anyway. The people in the church were spread too thin and so they cut back in the only area they could, discretionary income. That meant some families had to cut back on what they gave or stop giving altogether. This directly effected how we began to do ministry. We had to be more creative in what we did. We had to raise funds for some of the things that were funded in better financial years. It was a difficult task and frustrating at times but we had the blessing of seeing how folks came to help. 

I went to warm up my lunch and walked through the Welcome Area to find a member who was taking her lunch hour, once a week, to come in and clean the Welcome Area. Members came up to help out with repairs. Members came to the church on weekends to help clean out flower beds and do beautiful landscaping. Members even donated materials for classes so that we could continue to offer courses. People saw a need and they helped to fill it. One person fills a need not knowing they are helping someone else meet a need. It meant so much to me that these folks cared enough about their church to go beyond and give of themselves. That is what makes my job worthwhile. Seeing people work together, seeing people come to Christ.

A young woman came to St. James to learn more about what it means to be a Christian. She took a course called ALPHA.  She started attending a Young Adult Sunday School class. She started volunteering to help a special needs child as a shadow during Sunday School class. She and a friend led the next ALPHA course. I got to be present at her Baptism, which was one of the coolest, most beautiful things I have ever been a part of. I cried.

It all started with a step. She decided to give back by becoming part of something that was bigger than she. Someone was there for her and now she is there for someone else. It’s the whole “Pass it on” thing. I wish everyone could witness the beautiful change that happens when someone finds themselves and even more, helps others find themselves. It takes every single one of us to make this all work. The volunteers offered a course that a young girl took. Now that same young girl is a vital part of the church and it’s ministry.

I realy on my family and friends and they know they can on me. I can’t imagine where I would be without them. I can’t imagine being alone in this world. The cool thing is, I don’t have to and neither do you. It all starts with a step.

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A Cheerful Giver January 20, 2010

Filed under: Give Back,Hope,Joy,Uncategorized — MDunbar @ 7:00 am

In response to yesterday’s post about volunteering and giving back, here are a few suggestions to help you determine where you need to spend your time/money, both very valuable resources.

In Miller’s Book, a few of her suggestions are:

  • “What do you want to see changed in your lifetime?                                               
  • What are your passions?
  • Can you link your passions to what bothers you?
  • Can the organization, given time and money, effect the change?”

These are questions that will help you decide on where you want to give back and it makes a huge difference in your attitude if you actually care about the good works you are doing! I know all too well of the good friend who needs help on a project or donation for a cause they love. I have given our of guilt and later felt a let down because it wasn’t MY passion. My time and money are both valuable commodities in my life. When I give either of these, I make sure it is something I am passionate about and I can’t tell you how good it feels. You can make a difference, just step out in faith and do it! If you can’t find a charity or program to support (I personally think you haven’t looked hard enough. There are a million worthwhile causes out there!) you can actually start your own!

The next time you give to a cause, a cause of YOUR OWN choosing, give cheerfully and know that you are doing your part to make this place a better world.

Here are a few unique gift ideas that keep on giving:

  1. Throw a party and instead of gifts, all donations go to the charity of your choice!
  2. Have a party at an animal shelter where guests help wash the animals and give them a prime adoption look.
  3. Donate an animal through Heifer Project International, to a 3rd World Country to help them become more self reliant! My brother-in-law was single at the time and we bought a “chick” and donated it in his name!http://www.heifer.org/site/c.edJRKQNiFiG/b.204586/
  4. Purchase a “Good Card” at http://www.sixdegrees.org/ and the recipient can give that amount to the charity of his or her choice! How cool?!?
  5. Help the victims of Haiti by visiting http://www.redcross.org/ 
 

Change A Life January 19, 2010

Filed under: Give Back,Hope,Uncategorized — MDunbar @ 10:24 am

Under the bridge Ministries: Feeding the homeless one meal at a time.

 

Today’s reading is focused on philanthropy. This I know a lot about because I have been active in so many non-profits. I volunteer because I find it fulfilling and because I feel like it is our duty to give what we can to make this world a better place. I have been at a point in the past where I was doing way too much. One thing that caused me to pause was that I was volunteering  out of a sense of obligation rather than passion. Not so much recently though. Due to family issues I had to back off from everything. I took a year off. I am slowly getting back into volunteering. I am committed to helping the homeless thanks to some very dear folks at our church. I go on mission trips as often as I can. I am helping the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation raise funds for research. I donate artwork, calligraphy and other things as I can.  

I encourage everyone to find one thing that you are passionate about and get involved. There are so many great causes out there that I am sure you can find a place to use your talents. Whether it is time, money or talent, use what God has given you to make an impact on this world. You never know what life you might impact and I assure you, you will feel the blessings ten fold!