giving back

Charitable Organization: Jacqueline Wilson Gives Back at

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There are tons of charitable organizations and people who are trying to make a difference all over the world. Since there are so many choices, supporting or finding one that fits me is often difficult and overwhelming. One of my favorite blogs to follow is, a site for parents who are of the slightly-older demographic. I myself am 42, and have two kids, the youngest of which is only 2, so that's one site that "fits" me.

The site was founded by a woman named Jacqueline Wilson, who had her first biological child at the age of 39. She also founded, where she has the Give Back Initiative.

The Give Back Initiative spotlights non-profit and charity groups, organizations, and individuals working to make the world a better place. Each week, she features a new organization, group, or individual making changes locally or globally. Recent posts spotlighted people like Jason Bass, a man who is running the first marathon of his life to not only get in shape but also to raise money for a Make-a-Wish wish. Another person who was featured was Betsy Moats, who gives an opportunity once a week on her blog for military men and women to share their stories. There are no pictures of starving children in Africa. There are pictures of people doing things, big and small, in their own ways, to help others.

The older you get, the more you realize how truly pressing the needs of those around us are. The older you are, the more likely it is that you've seen of loss, that you've felt loss in your life, and that you have an idea of what it must be like for those who've lost all. You also realize how truly close those needs are. You no longer finish your dinner thinking just about the starving children in Africa, but the starving children in your own city.

To not to be overwhelmed in the face of such need, but to bite off a chunk and say, "I will do what I can do" takes a little bit of courage and commitment. To do something, in the midst of a busy life, for someone you don't know, takes a charitable frame of mind. But it doesn't require the moving of a mountain, just an open heart and eyes. And Jacqueline has that. She said, "I resolved a couple of years ago that I never wanted to be a bystander again and not help people when I know they needed help."

So she keeps her eyes and ears open, and does things like buying a kids meal for someone who appeared to need it at a McDonald's, and buying bedding for a family in need at Christmas. As she shares examples of kind people and great nonprofits, she can't help but increase awareness of the problems they are seeking to address. And as she writes about what she's done, she can't help but inspire even the most stolid person to action.

What are you and your family doing to give back? As you grow older, how are you becoming more aware of those who are in need?

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