Nearly every day, I have the opportunity to give back or help a cause in need. For example, my workplace is great about generating funds for families and organizations that need financial assistance—and I am frequently asked to participate. Also, my Facebook invites often involve charitable events or ways to help give back to our community.
Now here’s the hard part: choosing whether or not to help. Let’s face it, we can’t do everything. It took me awhile to realize this. When I was in college, I remember feeling almost hopeless, like I wasn’t really helping anyone, but I wasn’t sure I could make a real impact either. I would be hard on myself or make several comments about being stuck in my bubble and the difficulty of branching out.
At this point, I began to learn that ‘giving back’ can take on different forms—it could be a matter of giving time, advice, or being there for someone when you’d rather be doing something else. It could also involve volunteer work, advocating for an important cause, or attending a charitable event.
By discovering more practical ways to help others, I began to feel less overwhelmed and more confident in my abilities. I’ve learned not to feel guilty if I can’t help with everything. Instead, I’ve focused on cultivating my unique talents and becoming less selfish. Giving doesn’t have to involve cutting a big check or working for the Peace Corps, but it does take abandoning our more selfish tendencies. If we start small, find out what we’re passionate about, and actually do something about it, we can definitely make a difference and develop more thoughtful habits.
My friends and I have launched The Social Charity Club of Grand Rapids over 18 months ago. It’s designed to stimulate both local charities and restaurants. The concept is simple: attend a Social Charity event (held the second Thursday of every month from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.), donate $10 dollars to the charity, and receive a complimentary drink and appetizers courtesy of the venue. The featured charity also attends the event, collects the money and all proceeds go directly toward their organization.
I love the idea because it’s affordable, enables people to connect and socialize, and the Social Charity Club is able to represent a different venue and local charity each month. SCC tries to make giving easy and fun. If you are going out anyway, why not give to a charity in need, receive a drink out of the deal, and meet new people? So far we’ve risen over $30,000 for the Grand Rapids charitable community. By helping found this organization, I’ve learned that even a little bit can make a big difference. It takes courage and passion to help those in need and when the passion is there, it’s contagious. The Social Charity Club spreads inspiration and creates a culture of giving in our generation.
Please join us at our next event, benefiting Cherry Street Health Services at Gilly’s Fish House in The BOB.
Date: Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Gilly’s Fish House at The BOB
20 Monroe Ave. NW Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Marjorie Behm is a guest blogger.