New Tradition for New Year’s Eve?

New Tradition for New Year’s Eve?

This won’t be a long blog tonight, but I felt compelled to write it. The holidays are in full throttle. Some of us have just finished spending oodles of money on gifts for loved ones and eaten far too many calories/sodium/sugar (pick your culprit) than we probably should have eaten. But the fun’s not over yet. There’s still New Year’s Eve. And the New Year’s Eve college football bowl watching, family barbecues, friends’ parties and overindulgence in beer, wine, mixed drinks, sweet treats, salty snacks, tasty apps and … well, you get the picture. This is very much a time of overindulgence. So I’d like to suggest another way to indulge yourself. Tomorrow. On the last day of the year.


With just one more day of 2017 — and one more day of tax season and tax-deductible donations, for that matter — please add this thought to your restless and sugar-laden mind.


How can you help someone else?


Yep, I really did write that.


I’m not suggesting that in one more day left in the year you can transform yourself from Ebenezer Scrooge to The Good Samaritan in a single day of activities or grand gestures. But I wonder if you realize how simple it can be to make someone’s day with a single click on a screen. There’s probably a charity that means something to you. Surely, after spending hundreds or (gosh, I sure hope not) THOUSANDS on high-tech gadgets or designer name duds to put a smile on a friend or loved one’s face, you could find another $25, $50 — maybe even $100 — that could go to really good use. You might be surprised just how many flea or heartworm meds an animal shelter could afford to give rescued animals with that — how many people a community food bank could feed — or you could check out the good you can do for my new favorite organization to support. Donors Choose.


See, I love Donors Choose because it DIRECTLY supports a group that I think hold one of the least appreciated jobs yet one of the most significant roles — teachers.  I capitalized “directly” because that’s what I love about it. Donors see their contributions directly benefit teachers and their students. If you haven’t visited the site before, go to it. Right now. You can select what types of public school classroom projects you find the most intriguing, most valuable, personal favorite subjects or what you feel are most overlooked areas of education. And then find the city — maybe your old hometown or the community where you live now. And find the project that speaks to you. Who can you help? These are teachers in need of resources, students in need of learning opportunities or materials, and if they don’t get access to them, well, it does make you wonder what insightful moment or intellectual connection to a particular topic, interest or eureka moment might be lost.


For me personally, I am especially drawn to projects connected to three main areas —- arts, music and literacy (both reading and writing projects). Thankfully, there’s a renewed interest in science and technology with the various STEM initiatives on a local, state and national level, but arts and music are constantly threatened at schools on a growing basis, often looked at as less important…and I couldn’t disagree more. Then, of course, there’s literacy. What meaning would anything have without the ability to read and interpret, write and convey? So my hubs and I continue to look for new ways to support area teachers trying to engage students in those areas (or their parents’ involvement). Recently, we received thank you letters from the kids in one class whose teacher requested art materials to be used in conjunction with books being read in class and other assignments.



I cannot express strongly enough how satisfying it is to know that you are not only supporting a teacher in their mission but along with others, working together to put learning tools into the hands of the students. To see that direct benefit of your contribution… it is a wonderful feeling. And I can only imagine how gratifying it would be for a teacher to see their project fully funded on the last day of the year, knowing in the new year and in only a matter of weeks, their students will receive the materials necessary to dive into the project and activities he or she wants to bring to their students. There’s no rule anywhere that says New Year’s Eve cannot include gifts, too.  Why not gifts of a different kind with a longer-lasting impact?


So I ask you, here in the early evening hours on the east coast of North America:  what can you do on the last day of the year to make a difference in someone’s life not for any other reason but to help someone else achieve their goal? And it could be the most wonderful way to bid farewell to one year and usher in another.


Thanks for reading, and considering these words. And may you have a bright, happy and healthy New Year! ~ Chris K.


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