One of the items on my list is to contribute to 4 fantastic causes. Two, I easily completed earlier this year by getting involved in a work campaign to raise funds and the other by donating goods. Because I was doing so well-and it was way too easy-I added two more to my list. Later this week, my spouse and I will be making a food donation to the Food Bank during a community skating event. This takes care of number three and will hopefully make the holidays a bit easier for a family to get through.

For number four, however, I realize I wanted to do something a bit more hands on and personal. Thus, I have signed up as a volunteer at a local community centre which supports new immigrants. I know how difficult the transition to a new country can be so I have signed up to be matched with a newcomer to be a friend and mentor. My match will take place in the new year and will last officially for about six months-after which, ideally, we should have a natural friendship. I have also signed up my husband for this program as he could definitely use more social supports.

I have been involved with various mentoring organizations but have never had the pleasure of being a mentor myself. I know mentors can play a significant role in the lives of mentees. Because the person I will be matched with can be at any stage in their settlement, I am not sure what to plan. However, I anticipate spending time over coffee, going for walks, and learning about a new culture. It should definitely be interesting and very rewarding.

I am thankful that I am in a position to give back in various ways. Although I wish I could contribute more financially, it is not an ideal time. Having worked in the non-profit sector for some time, I have seen what a difference volunteers can really make. It really is amazing at times. Most volunteers are also happier and more well rounded individuals. Volunteering provides all kinds of personal, professional, and spiritual benefits. For everyone reading this today, please consider volunteering or helping others in some capacity in 2013. If we all take care of each other, the world will be a better place-and you will be rewarded with good karma! Who couldn’t use more of that this Christmas?


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