The season of giving is here and there are numerous organizations that South Dakotans support in their communities. Food pantries, shelters for women and children, clothing drives, and toy drives are all causes that fill our hearts while helping those less fortunate, especially during the holiday season.
As kids, we are taught that our purpose in life is to serve others. We know that giving someone a meal serves an immediate need, but that food may only go so far in helping our neighbors face other challenges in their lives. We also know that giving of our time to support local organizations should go beyond seasonal solutions when helping to lift people out of their struggles.
There are many organizations throughout our state that operate year-round to provide services to meet both short-term and long-term needs in our communities. These organizations are grateful for our financial support for their missions; however, perhaps we should all go beyond financial donations. For those who want to give the gift of service and time, there are many opportunities for giving this holiday season.
For most of us time is limited because of how much we pack into our daily schedules. This makes time a gift that we all cherish. When you give of your time, think about how that can positively impact someone who is struggling with working and raising a family on their own. Compassion Child Care is a group that strengthens working families through affordable daycare, housing solutions, and options for early childhood education. This organization serves many homeless single moms who are working and struggling to provide for their children.
Consider giving your time as a house manager for Compassion Child Care’s housing program and encouraging the young families who this group supports. Also, volunteering at their daycare program gives these working moms an affordable option so they can work during the day to support their families.
You may want to help others by mentoring them or preparing them for their next career or job. Love INC is an organization that coordinates volunteers for more than 60 churches in Rapid City and the surrounding area. These volunteers mentor individuals and families who are in need of shelter, housing, training, and guidance to get back on their feet. This also includes training them for financial independence and teaching interview skills for job seekers.
You can also serve others by using your skills to help head up an organization or teach leadership skills to those who have never had the opportunity to step into a leadership role. Our young people are looking for leaders to follow. Social media is so attractive to the younger generation and it offers access to a variety of personalities who can fill those leadership roles. We know real leadership comes from a tangible connection. Groups like the Aberdeen Boys and Girls Club, Teen Challenge, and the McCrossan Boys Ranch are taking kids away from their devices and teaching them to develop skills and seek positive mentorship. There is also the OneHeart group that is teaching young adults life skills after overcoming addiction. You could be the one who gives your neighbor a second chance at life.
There are myriad ways to help others rather than just contributing funds or resources. I know that however you choose to give back this season and beyond, it will make South Dakota a better place. No matter the season, we are a reflection of our values, and I hope you’ll join me in ensuring our South Dakota values will always be rooted in serving others.
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