The Gift Of Service

By Colleen Llacsa, LSW

The Gift Of Service

There are times when we must focus on ourselves, commit to self-care, retreat, rebuild and relearn. There are also times when we need to look outside of ourselves and see how we can contribute, help, and advocate for others. These things do not have to work on opposite spectrums.  When things are hard, we are feeling alone and isolated or when we are having trouble getting out of our own way, there is an amazing gift we are given in helping others.

Giving our time, talents, or resources can bring a profound sense of meaning and purpose to our lives. It can help us to feel connected to each other and our community. Giving of ourselves can help us to change our perspective and our mood. It is also a way to build friendships, increase our self-esteem, and feel like part of something bigger than ourselves.

There are so many ways to help others and our world.

We often hear the news and feel as though we alone can not make a difference.  However, we can and it is amazing to see what acts of service can do to change our lives, our communities, our world! There are many ways to help others. One amazing organization to be involved in is NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Through this organization we can volunteer our time by being an advocate and writing letters to our local leaders to prioritize mental health needs. We can help be an advocate by sharing our own personal stories and help to de-stigmatize mental illness. We can participate in NAMIWalks events by raising funds for mental health programs.

This is just one of the many ways we can help contribute to our communities by volunteering our time, talents, or resources. There are so many opportunities for us to share our time and experience with each other. Even during COVID, we can write letters to those living in our local nursing homes, children’s hospitals, or prisons. We can volunteer at our local soup kitchens preparing and serving meals. We can sponsor a child and help to provide for their basic needs. We can make a meal for a senior or a new parent.

Giving to others is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves.

  • A few organizations to consider sharing your time, talents, or resources with are:

NAMI Illinois

www.namiillinois.org

Chicago Food Depository

Chicagofoodbank.org

Habitat for Humanity

habitatchicago.org

Cradles to Crayons

www.cradlestocrayons.org

Open Books

Open-books.org

Meals on Wheels

mealsonwheelschicago.org

Human Rights Watch

www.hrw.org

UNICEF USA

www.unicefusa.org

Author

Colleen Llacsa, LSW

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