to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow
Monday, November 10, 2008
So I have been thinking lately about the upcoming holidays. I try really hard to find the perfect gift for people around this time of year (as opposed to a birthday, or anniversary, for instance). Watching someone open your gift and realizing that it is something they will truly use/enjoy/cherish is a priceless moment, and oh so fleeting.

There are several people in my family who truly want for nothing - sure, they could use some new socks, or some such other utilitarian object, but I'm not one for wrapping up a 3-pack of Fruit-of-the-Loom and putting it under the tree. So in the recent past, I've donated money to a charitable cause in their name. I like to think it was just as appreciated as something material.

This year, I'm going to try and give of my time as well. After approximately 30 seconds of research (i.e. Google), I had a long list of possible tasks. Please consider joining me in doing something more than just hitting the mall this year.

National/Online Charities

Changing the Present
CTP is a wonderful website that matches your desired gift amount, or philanthropy type, to you. Last year, I donated here and, on behalf of my Aunt Judy, (a former Peace Corps Social Worker) helped pay for two African girls to attend school.

Easter Seals
Easter Seals is an amazing organization that helps disabled persons gain greater life independence. They also do Autism-specific work in some areas. You can donate, buy merchandise, or just give of your time.

Victory Junction Gang Camp for Kids
Victory Junction is a very special place for kids with serious illnesses and/or disabilities. Run by the Petty Foundation (of the NASCAR Petty family), Victory Junction is part of Hole-in-the-Wall Network originally founded by the late Paul Newman. Kids attend a themed, one-week camp with their families each summer - what this camp is doing is so special and amazing. I am determined to volunteer there at some point.

Stay tuned for opportunities in the Chicagoland area...coming tomorrow!