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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Be the Change You Want To See

Starting a new year often prompts people to make vague, and usually unsuccessful, promises to change. People swear they will start exercising, change their eating habits, stop smoking or lose weight. Few of them will succeed.

But what if each of us went beyond these pledges of personal improvement, and decided to do something positive on a larger scale? Perhaps collectively we can make a difference and start to bring about change in our world.

What moves you? Is it homelessness, finding a cure for a disease, or helping unwanted dogs and cats? Maybe your passion is helping kids or abused women. Think about what moves you, and then find a way to take action: volunteer, adopt a homeless animal, write to your elected officials, donate money, sign up to be a 'big brother' or 'big sister,' visit a lonely senior, take part in a walk-a-thon, crochet blankets for newborns.

Nearly everybody can help, regardless of age. An 11-year-old girl in Albuquerque made it her mission last January to provide toys to needy kids. She spent the year saving her money, setting up a lemonade stand, and asking friends and neighbors for support to buy toys. Just before Christmas, she delivered the toys to an organization that distributed them to kids who otherwise wouldn't receive anything at Christmas. And she delivered a lot of toys, too. If an 11-year-old can do this, why can't we adults do something to make a real impact on others?

A senior citizen was moved to help the homeless by making sleeping bags from old clothes and giving them to people forced to sleep on the streets. Her effort has now spread to many states, and hundreds of sleeping bags have been sewn and distributed to those who really need them. Another senior citizen has crocheted more than 700 hats for newborns in local hospitals.

My wish for the new year is that people decide to do something, anything, to make a difference in the world, no matter how small. There are so many issues, so many causes, that need help. Regardless of your interest, age or financial situation, find a cause that touches your heart, and get involved. Make it your resolution to do something to make this world a better place.

The group you help will benefit, you will feel good about helping, and the world will be a better place.

As Gandhi said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world.”