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Starting a New Holiday Tradition

There is just something magical about this time of year. For most people, holidays are
wonderful! Whether you’re a teenager still benefiting from the joys of opening presents, a young adult just starting out on your own, a young family creating new memories, or a group that has been celebrating your same favourite traditions year after year. One thing that stands important for folks around the holidays is that very thing: tradition.

When I did a bit of research on holiday
traditions, one event was missing from many lists: volunteering. And I don’t call it “helping the needy” or use that language for a reason. Not only does using phrasing like “the poor” or “the unfortunate” lump a whole population of people together – who are each unique individuals with hopes and dreams and stories – it also creates the illusion that “these people” are somehow essentially different from “us.” They’re not.

This Christmas, if you are looking to start a new tradition with you family, please consider volunteering. You are donating something far more precious than money: your time. You can earn more money, you can spare some change, but what can you never get back? Your time. And that makes it the most precious gift of all.

As blogger, Crystal, already pointed out, kids want something more special than presents for Christmas. They want to spend time with their loved ones. Many people state that’s what the holidays are really about. This holiday season, why not combine spending time with your family, creating new traditions, and giving back to your community all together? Guaranteed there won’t be any gift you receive that will make you feel as good.
If you are ready to donate your time, what should you look for in an organization? With more and more non-profits springing up to address the growing needs of our community, it is becoming more important for community members to understand the impact of the time and money they donate. Look for charities that address the root causes of the injustice and invest in long term solutions. YWCA is one charity, of many, that does just that. YWCA ensures that the services provided assist women, families and men  in the movement out of homelessness and into a more stable life with the supports they need to help prevent returning to homelessness. YWCA also participates in many advocacy and educational initiatives to raise awareness about the issues of poverty right here in the Niagara Region.

Think about what you are passionate about – animal welfare, anti-poverty, children – and see what assistance you can offer around the holidays to an organization you love.

Don’t get me wrong, community organizations all appreciate and need the monetary donations they receive. But when you are searching for a more meaningful and engaging way to spend the holidays, don’t underestimate the power of volunteering your time.

To find out more about volunteering in your community or with YWCA Niagara region, email volunteercoordinator@ywcaniagararegion.ca.

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