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Giving Makes Living More Worthwhile

Published 11.04.17
by Carole Wirszyla


Living is something we all take for granted but giving is something we actually have to engage in. Does that mean more work is involved? Perhaps, but not necessarily so.

Life is a gift our parents gave us and as we grow, we learn by taking advice, instruction, food, shelter, warmth, and rest from them. We are probably oblivious to the less obvious acquisitions: the safety net they provide for us, the love and the sense of belonging, and the building of our self-esteem. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, these fundamental needs represent the necessary building blocks in life that motivate us to do better things.

Once we reach the top of Maslow’s pyramid, which he describes as a state of self-actualization or self-transcendence, we should have reached our full potential. In my opinion, this is a good time to start giving back. Its time for those fortunate enough to have all those building blocks in place to share the wealth and help those less fortunate.

For many of us, giving back means giving our time to help others. We volunteer our time with organizations that support our beliefs or for causes where we believe we can make a difference. These selfless acts of service benefit people in myriad ways.

Like many other non-profits, the YMCA is an inclusive organization of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurture the potential of kids, promote healthy living and foster a sense of social responsibility. Volunteers are a vital part of the YMCA’s operation. Giving your time to the YMCA has a lasting effect on the wider community and the YMCA is thankful for every minute you give.

We all have busy lives and time is precious; our daylight hours are filled with work, social events, and family activities. If you are one of those people who barely finds time to sleep, giving a monetary donation may be a more efficient way to give back. At the YMCA, your money funds:

  • Programs that educate and nurture underprivileged youth in our community to help them achieve success.
  • Events that strengthen the community and promote healthier living.
  • Scholarships that fulfil our mission to build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all children, adults, and families regardless of background or ability.

The impact of your time and money is palpable in the joy you bring to the lives of so many people and in the satisfaction you will feel as a result of making a huge difference in local people’s lives.

I know both the joy and the satisfaction from personal experience of being on both sides of the fence that divides the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

I was blessed with the good fortune to grow up with all four of the basic building blocks of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs satisfied. Since reaching the top of the pyramid, I have experienced many peaks and troughs in my life. During affluent times, I have supported a number of different causes with monetary donations. The intrinsic reward of helping fund causes dear to my heart was always profound and it never ceased to amaze me how even giving a little could help so much. And, throughout my adult life, I have always volunteered my time and skills to help others, even at times when I really didn’t have time to spare but because I believe in the strength of a community supported by volunteers. It’s very satisfying knowing that with just a little bit of effort, I can impact others in so many ways.

But, I have also experienced hard times in my life when I have been humbled by other people’s generosity. The first words out of my mouth when I was told I was expecting twins at a time in my life when I thought I was done having children and was trying to build my second career were “financial suicide!” This wasn’t far from the truth and the past nine years since that discovery have been tough. I will be forever grateful to family, friends, WIC, Angel Foods, and scholarships that have helped my children benefit from programs that were not in our budget.

Throughout all but the first year after having the twins, I have continued to volunteer my time in numerous ways because giving back helped enrich my life and make feel complete. Essentially, living is just something we do; so long as we eat, sleep, and work hard, living just happens. On the other hand, giving is something we have to initiate; we have to dig deep within ourselves to find what makes living worthwhile. Giving back is what makes us whole.

If you are looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of others and to fulfil a need, the YMCA is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world and is committed to strengthening communities and helping people live healthier, more productive lives. Your donation to the Y directly impacts our local community. Click here for information about the Y’s Annual Giving Campaign to find out how you can help.

By Carole Wirszyla
Freelance Writer
Communications Specialist,
Children’s picture book author and Blogger
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