giving back

365 Service Ideas: Jacqueline Way Shows You How To Give Back

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An act of service a day. Jacqueline Way isn't a blogger. She's not even a writer. She is an adoptive mother of two boys who works from home as a special events fundraiser. She and her husband, kids, and two chocolate labs live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada near a beach. She felt richly blessed and had a strong desire to help others, but with little time or extra money. So she started 365Give.ca, a site where she committed to doing one act of service every day for a year, and asked others to help her by providing ideas and taking the commitment as well.

"I hike with my dogs in the rainforest," says Jacqueline on her About page. "I run the seawall if I want and live in a neighbourhood where I feel safe. I am a very blessed woman. When I think about all the many people in this world that need so much, I wonder 'where do I begin to help?' I am passionate about giving and I figure that if I can actually show [people] how I find the time and the energy and the creativity to give every day, 365 days of the year, then hey, maybe [they] can find some way to give too. I can already see [them] shaking [their] heads: 'Nope, I really don’t have the time, the energy or the money to give every day.' I disagree. I think we all have something to give if we just open our eyes."

That special year started on September 29, 2010 and, although it didn't end exactly 365 days after it began due to hacking and the adoption of their second son out of foster care, she completed 365 gives. Day 331 was shopping at Socialvest.us, an online shopping site which donates money built up each time one shops there or on other sites to social causes. Day 285 was making a micro-loan through Kiva. And day 152 was donating back the bag refund she received at Whole Foods.

"At check out," she says, "they give you the choice to get a bag refund off your bill if you bring your own bags or to donate it to a local charity" or to contribute it to the Whole Planet Foundation, which creates economic partnerships, including direct microcredit loans, with the poor in those developing-world communities that supply their stores with product.

Her service ideas are not the typical suggestions provided on many micro-volunteering or micro-donating sites. Each post describes a give and lists the amount of time (usually a few minutes) and money (little if any) it required. Reading any one of them will easily inspire even the most daunted, busiest, or poorest person. Says she about her giving experience: "My giving has become a daily routine in our home. I wanted my son to know that even though I was terrified, I would try something new (blogging was a foreign entity to me) and take on the unknown world of social media. His favourite question to me is 'Are you happy, Mom?' How could I not be? I have a wonderful child who is learning compassion and the act of giving. This provides me with more happiness than anything I do or will do in my lifetime."

Have you tried any of the ideas on 365Give? What was your experience? What are your obstacles to giving?

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