There are so many hyped-up events that I now refuse to take part in, but Giving Tuesday is actually one that I do enjoy.  It’s important to remember those less fortunate then us, especially during the holidays.  If you can’t afford to donate money, then at least donate some time.

Many great local causes need volunteers, and last year on MMCTV I tried to feature at least one non-profit each month that was doing something to help families in our area.  One of my favorites was actually the Storybook Project, which helps record mother’s reading stories to their children.  It was a very humbling experience to spend a day in prison last year around the holidays, and because I found it so moving, I am doing that again this year.  Stripped of jewelry and my phone, subject to being frisked and then surrounded everywhere by cameras that monitor every move made behind a wired fence in the middle of no where is perhaps a bit extreme, and that is fine– you don’t have to go to such lengths to be reminded of how fortunate we are in our daily lives.  But do something.

Helping Junior Achievement this spring at a local middle school was incredibly rewarding, and all it took was one hour of my time for 5 weeks.  Spending an afternoon connecting with the Fresh Start students at Living Classrooms, which teaches work skills to young adults transitioning out of juvenile detention was another incredible experience that I will always cherish.  Why? Because these kids remind me that the odds of escaping poverty were grossly stacked against me.  I give them hope that it can be done, but they give me something much greater– humility and gratitude.

Don’t ignore Giving Tuesday– find a cause that resonates with you, and if you can’t give any money, give others a piece of your heart.  You never know how much can change with just one act of kindness.  I can try to tell you, but really you should experience it for yourself.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.