Saturday, December 13, 2008

Giving back this season

My computer has been at the doctor and it's been really hard surviving without it. But now it's back (yay) and I'm back in business. Are you all as stunned that it's already December as I am? Not only is it December, but Monday marks the half way point. I know they say the older you get the faster time goes, but geez. Stop the bus!

Even though life is busy, I am filled with the spirit of giving. I haven't done much of my shopping but I have dropped a dollar in every Salvation Army bell-ringers basket I pass. And I thought it was time to reflect on the year and what I've done that really makes a difference.

This year I was part of a very cool program at work. Intel (do-do-do-doo--that was their little trademark jingle in case you were wondering) launched a program this year which challenged all their employees to volunteer one MILLION hours world wide. Guess what? We did it. And not only did all those non-profits and schools get volunteer hours, but Intel is also paying them for the hours the employees worked. It's a beautiful thing that really made me proud of my contributions to this trend setting company. I may complain a lot about how it's sucking the life out of me--and I still feel like it is sometimes--but when I look at this major accomplishment I am proud.

I hope what Intel did challenges other major corporations to look at their commitment to social responsibility and start giving back as well. I know not every company can afford to dish out the money to pay for volunteers, but there's not a company in the world that couldn't give 4 hours a quarter, bi-annually or even once a year to have their employees do some volunteer event. The rewards are tremendous. Employees want to feel good about where they work and teaming up to help the local Y, or the under-funded school down the street, or clean up a park so kids don't have to play in a trashy place--these small gestures really fill the heart.

On top of the volunteering I do on my own, my business group within my company also adopts a under privileged school and we mentor, help upgrade their PCs, and assist in other ways. And every holiday season we do a toy drive and deliver presents to each and every student in the school. I get choked up just thinking about it. If you've never done something like this, I'm here to tell you, it will change your life.

So this holiday season, I hope you'll find the spirit within yourself. It may be too late to organize a holiday event for your team at work, but there are still a lot of organizations that need your help. You don't have to spend Christmas day at the soup kitchen (although that's a great thing to do) but just reach out. You'll be surprise at how many hands you'll find reaching back. And think about next year. What can you do in your company to make a difference in the community where you work. Start the ball rolling and get others involved to help keep it moving. If you don't know where to start, get in touch with me and I'll help. It's truly a beautiful thing.

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