There is so much sadness and anguish in the world right now. Natural disasters just keep occurring and it is hard to know how one person can make the world better. Many times my first reaction to a problem is to feel despair because there is so little I can do. Sometimes, though, I want to reach out in a real and concrete way. I read an article today about ways to make a difference in the world without spending a penny. Here are some of my favorite items on that list.
1. Invite a friend over for a cup of coffee. REALLY listen to every word she says.
2. Send an encouraging note to someone you care about. A handwritten note sent through the mail can mean so much.
3. Instead of using a traditional search engine (like Google or Ask) use Good Search instead. Pick a favorite charity (like ABVI-Goodwill) and you will generate funds for them with every search.
4. Babysit for a friend or neighbor for free. The gift of time can be the greatest present you can give parents of young children.
5. Smile. Smile. Smile. At every person you see today. One smile can change a person’s entire day.
6. Donate blood. Blood supplies are at a desperately low level now.
7. Save Campbell’s soup labels and Box Tops For Education. Find a local school that collects them and donate to that school.
8. Pass along a book you have enjoyed. Write a note inside the front cover and leave it in a public place for someone to find.
9. Thank someone for making a difference in your life. In person, by phone, email, or handwritten note, your thank you will mean a lot.
10. Go for a walk. Take a trash bag and gather trash along the way.
11. Be polite. See how many times you can say “please” and “thank you” today.
12. Go through unused items – little bottles of hotel shampoo, extra blankets, magazines and books you have finished reading – and donate them to a homeless shelter. If you don’t know where a homeless shelter is, use Good Search to find one in your area. Just type in “Homeless Shelter Your City Your State.”
13. Volunteer. There are literally thousands of volunteer opportunities in every city. Hospital, Day Care Centers, Churches, Libraries, Hospice, Neighborhood Centers. Think about whether you would like to work with babies, children, teens, high school drop outs, young parents, people with disabilities, people who are sick or dying, the elderly, people who are homeless, people who want to learn to read, animals in a shelter. Take a step and call an organization and offer to volunteer.
14. Bake. Cookies or bread or brownies. Whatever you enjoy baking. Give your baked item to a friend or neighbor.
15. Make a phone call. Brighten someone’s day by calling just to say hello. Listen (really listen) to whatever the person you call has to say.
There are so many opportunities for one person to make a difference in the world. The ideas above are just a sampling, just some ideas to get me thinking about what I can do. Thinking about taking some of these small steps reminds me of an old song that I have always liked:
I know that just by focusing on spreading positive energy, I can make a difference. The way I interact with my family, friends, co=workers, salespeople, cashiers, and everyone I come into contact with can leave them feeling uplifted. I try to keep this in mind in all my interactions. Above and beyond that, I am going to do as many of the items, above, as I can within the next month.