Choose to Live Generously

Photo courtesy of www.purehappylife.com

What sort of world could we create through the simple, powerful decision to live generously? How would our lives be different if we gave more love, kindness, time, appreciation, forgiveness, courage, respect, or humor – to ourselves and to those around us? I think we would be happier, healthier individuals who could create a better world for generations to come.

The thing that I love most about generosity is that it creates a ripple effect. It spreads out into the world – into our families, our communities, and our work – and has immeasurable effects. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to witness the impact of our giving and to experience the reward of making someone’s day, week, or year. Other times,  our best and most perfect giving opportunity might be as simple as a smile or a compliment, and we may never know the difference it made in the life of another. It’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that not only do we have the power to positively change the lives around us, but we also can impact the lives of strangers we will never come in contact with. It creates a sense of community in a world that sometimes feels disconnected and selfish.

Brad Formsma’s book “I Like Giving” shares inspirational stories of people giving, as well as practical suggestions about creating a lifestyle of generosity. While I have always been a supporter of random acts of kindness, I love the idea of choosing to be generous on a daily basis. Formsma explains that “when generosity becomes your lifestyle, your life will take on a new glow. You will feel appreciated. You will feel worthy. You will feel celebrated, and you will get that deep sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing you enrich other people’s lives. When giving moves from an occasional activity to the very essence of your life, you start experiencing the fullness of life at a whole different level.” He also shares the following advice:

  • Look for ways to give that are in line with your heart.
  • Give with no strings attached. Giving to others when there is no obligation reminds people that they are inherently worthy; they didn’t have to earn it.
  • Don’t let the occasional person who abuses the goodwill of others ruin your giving and deter you.
  • Sometimes people don’t need money or skills or advice. They just need someone to hear their stories and witness their lives.
  • Giving is meant to enrich someone else, not to draw attention to that person’s need. When true generosity is your motivation, you’ll find the best way to give while honoring the receiver.
  • Receiving can be harder than giving, because receiving reminds us that we need other people. When someone meets a legitimate need that we are unable to meet on our own, we are humbled.
  • We often look at the great needs in the world and see all the things we can’t do, which keeps us from doing the things we can do.

In honor of National Volunteer Month, I want to encourage you to not only get involved on campus and in your community, but to start cultivating a lifestyle of generosity. You don’t have to make massive life changes to become a gift to other people. You can start with who you are, right where you are, right now. Take a minute to think about your life. How could you incorporate generosity into your daily interactions with people?

What Are You Doing for Others?

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Yesterday, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 115 students gathered at CPCC for the 11th Annual MLK Challenge. Students had the opportunity to learn about Dr. King’s legacy and to participate in a variety of community service projects throughout the city, including framing a house with Habitat for Humanity and making security blankets for children with the Linus Project. News coverage can be found at the following websites: WCCB Charlotte and Charlotte Observer.

If you didn’t get the chance to participate in this year’s MLK Challenge, you still have plenty of opportunities this semester to give back and make a difference in the community. We challenge you to do something for others this semester, whether it’s a small act of kindness or participating in an upcoming service project sponsored by Service-Learning. CPCC’s Service-Learning Center initiates and supports curricular and co-curricular activities that enhance student learning, promote civic responsibility, and respond to the critical needs in our community through collaborative campus and community partnerships.  Service-in-Action is a series of 12-15 service events hosted throughout the semester. Participants can have a “little of this, a little of that” experience to explore  different ways to give back. For a complete list of Service-in-Action dates for spring semester, please click here. Upcoming January Service Projects include:

Friday, January 30, 2015
Friendship Trays, 8am-11am
Friendship Trays – also known as Meals on Wheels – delivers, in a caring and friendly manner, balanced meals to individuals in this community who are unable, because of age or infirmity, to obtain and prepare their own meal. For this event, participants will assist in helping package meals to be shared with the community. Want to know more? Please visit: http://www.friendshiptrays.org/

Saturday, January 31, 2015
ECE Poverty Simulation at Harris Campus, 11am-3pm
A poverty simulation is a guided experience that exposes participants to the realities of poverty, including the challenges of navigating the complex world of government services and other essential service providers. Students participating in this volunteer opportunity will assume the roles of different families facing poverty or serving as a govern agency. The task for each family is to provide basic necessities and shelter during four 13-minute weeks, while balancing the requirements of various service providers with the realities of daily life.

To Register: Email Jenn Marts to sign up for any Service-in-Action events at  Jenn.Marts@cpcc.edu or call 704.330.6824. Please remember to leave your CPCC Student ID Number, your email address, your name, if this is for a class, your instructor’s name along with class and course number, and your phone number.

Greatness is Discovered in Service

If you didn’t get the chance to participate in this year’s MLK Challenge, you still have plenty of opportunities this semester to give back and make a difference in the community. CPCC’s Service-Learning Center initiates and supports curricular and co-curricular activities that enhance student learning, promote civic responsibility, and respond to the critical needs in our community through collaborative campus and community partnerships. Spots are still available for the following Service-in-Action events:

Loaves & Fishes, Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 9am-Noon: Loaves and Fishes is a Charlotte-based food pantry that collects and supplies food and groceries to people in crisis. For this service project, we will be sorting and packaging food that will be distributed to these pantries to help those in need. For more information, please visit: http://www.loavesandfishes.org/

Second Harvest Food Bank, Friday, April 4, 2014, 1pm-4pm: This volunteer opportunity will focus on students sorting and boxing food and other materials to be distributed to those in need. Volunteers should dress comfortably, keeping in mind that the warehouse we are working in is not temperature controlled. Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina strives through education, advocacy, and partnerships to eliminate hunger by the solicitation and distribution of food. Want to know more? http://www.secondharvestmetrolina.org/

Crisis Assistance Ministries, Friday, April 11, 2014, 2:30pm-4:30pm: Crisis Assistance Ministry is a Mecklenburg County non-profit that prevents homelessness and preserves dignity for Charlotte’s working poor. For this service project, we will spend the afternoon preparing donated clothing and household items to be given to those in need. For more information, please visit: http://www.crisisassistance.org/

CPCC Skyline Run, Saturday, April 26, 2013, 6:30am-11am: This volunteer opportunity is a wonderful way to get involved in the CPCC community and support the effort to raise money for student scholarships. Student volunteers will be placed in a variety of locations around the race 5K race course to assist in traffic flow, handing out water, and helping with other important areas of the race. Want to learn more? http://cpccfoundation.com/skyline/

For more information or to register: e-mail Jenn Marts at Jenn.Marts@cpcc.edu or call 704.330.6824.