Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Volunteering: The Gift of Giving

The holidays are a time of year a lot of people reflect on what they have and what they are thankful for. (After all, Thanksgiving has the word “thanks” in the name!) Christmas and Hannukah have always symbolized the gift of giving to loved ones and spending quality time with them. One of the greatest gifts I can think of is the gift of giving. Not only do I work for Titus Contracting LLC, I volunteer with several area charities, and one of my favorites is the Life Hurts program at Hosanna! Church in Lakeville, MN.

Life Hurts is a youth-oriented program that meets once a week at Hosanna! Church. This support group centers around at-risk teens and youths who need a strong guiding hand to stay on the right path in life. The issues these young ones are dealing with are everything from divorcing parents to eating disorders to abuse and addiction. We meet and talk about what they are going through, and the end result is healing and hope. This program is one of the main reasons I believe in the gift of giving. Sure, I am giving these youths the gift of my time and myself, but, really I feel like I am the one receiving a gift. These teens are going through some very rough times, and I want to be there to support them and show them healthy coping strategies.

There is an event Life Hurts hosts called the “Feed My Starving Children” program. Other volunteers and I made more than 13,000 meals that will help feed 30 hungry children for one year! An hour and a half of our time made a huge difference in 30 lives: that thought makes my head spin sometimes!

You can extend the gift of giving in many ways. You can volunteer like I do, but even something as simple as giving a homeless person a sandwich or cup of coffee can help immensely – possibly even more than you can see with your naked eye. Or if a friend or family member looks depressed or upset, lend an ear. Sometimes, just sitting with a person and listening to him or her vent is more than enough. I have learned through my work with the Life Hurts program that sometimes the simple act of listening is the gift that keeps on giving.

Scott Rajavuori is the manager of design, sales and marketing for Titus Contracting LLC, a commercial and home remodeling company located in Savage, Minn.