giving back

Service: The Importance of Saying Yes!

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Service—Saying the word "yes," especially when you’d rather say "no" can transform your mundane day-to-day into an exciting and fulfilling life adventure. I know this because a few years ago I said yes to a request I wasn’t absolutely sure I could fulfill. This yes altered my holiday celebration from a self-pleasing indulgence to a complete celebration of service and the true meaning of Christmas.

  girls smiling

Five years ago, I was included on a mass email from an old friend who was asking for help for a family she worked with. She was a preschool teacher to some adorable, but extremely needy children. Their father, a migrant worker, had recently lost his hand in a factory accident and couldn’t work.

At the time, we were new homeowners and felt extremely house-poor. Even though I knew I had every reason to say "no," somehow, I knew that this was my time to say "yes."

I accepted the assignment and fulfilled this family’s needs by sacrificing a few of our own needs and by recruiting help from my friends and family. I gave them an opportunity to serve, too. It was much easier than I imagined getting the help I needed.  Together, we came up with more than enough items to provide a lot of relief to this struggling family.

That "yes" brought me ultimate joy that Christmas. It felt so good that I’ve continued to work with the staff at this school for the last five years.

This year, I’ve coordinated an effort to provide Christmas to 36 families at this school. My friends, family, and some strangers have said "yes" to provide a compassionate service for 36 migrant families.

These sponsor families are turning to their friends and neighbors offering them an opportunity for "yes" to help make a huge impact on the lives of the family they are sponsoring. They have stopped at nothing to provide basics like beds and blankets, shoes, and coats for these needy families. Many have so much help they’ve had to get a moving truck to transport the relief items.

Their combined yeses has made a huge impact on the entire community of migrant farm workers associated with the Centro de la Familia school in Providence, Utah. Because of the word yes, kids are sleeping in warm beds instead of on the floor. They are wearing warm, well-fitting shoes and have ample socks and underwear in good condition. Best of all, they know they are loved and cared for by many people in their community.

For the families involved in this project, "yes" has provided adventure, warmth, joy, and purpose to what can be the coldest months of the year.

Next time your life starts to feel a little mundane, self-centered or without purpose, try saying "yes" to little opportunities. The joy and variety you’ll add to your life is worth any temporary sacrifice it takes to make YES happen.

What ways do you like to give back to your community?

I am an early thirties mother of two and wife to a husband who is pretty much the wind beneath my wings (and the money behind my debit card). I enjoy writing and laughing at the things I write.

After graduating from Weber State University I discovered a passion for writing about community issues.

Besides writing, I enjoy doing things I’m not sure I can do. Some things I’ve failed at. Others I have accomplished.

Other interesting things about me…I’m very short. I survived being sprayed by a skunk. I love my pet hibiscus flowering plant almost as much as my human children. I stalk celebrities, but not for a living. I swim surprisingly fast.

I think that’s about it. If you have any questions, I’m always happy to talk about myself.


Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

Kristin Sokol authors, a blog dedicated to helping women stay happy mostly by doing fun things.
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