YOUTH PERSPECTIVES: Giving Thanks and Giving Back

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by: Dada Alice Mwemera, Youth Engagement Coordinator

DSC_0198, lightened and thumbnailThe holidays are right around the corner!

Personally, as a university student, this means breathing time! Finals are done in the second week of December and I have just under a month to enjoy time with friends, family and loved ones. As a young person, I speak for most of my generation when I say that often, we see the holidays as a chance to hang out, sleep in and relax.

For me, an important part of enjoying this time of relaxation is giving back to those in need. During the holidays, I like to think of one or two agencies that do amazing work and ask myself, What can I do to help them? What can I do to help share my stress-free holiday bliss with someone else (a family, child, shelter)?

I have personally done a lot of volunteer and charity work, and my motivation for doing so doesn’t stem from being a “good kid” or “a nice person.” I once depended on the Christmas boxes when my family survived on very little income. I was once a pediatric patient at the Stollery Children’s Hospital for months at a time and the movies, laptops, games and books that were donated or bought helped me stay connected to other kids and the world around me. I was once in a group home and could not believe that we would get gifts from random strangers when we felt so lost ourselves.

“Giving hope to the hopeless, love to the weary and strength to the weak” – that is the true meaning of the holidays for me. So I challenge each and every one of us, youth and adults alike, to give back, even in the smallest ways. Teachers and parents, encourage your kids to donate old clothes, volunteer at a soup kitchen or maybe play an instrument at a children’s hospital!

The benefits, you might ask? An amazing resume that will show the world the experience you have gained and the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired! Plus a truly happy holiday heart for those you touch and yourself!

This article appeared in our December 2014 News Bulletin. Click here to read the rest of the bulletin!

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