After a challenging several years of disrupted routines, difficulties connecting to those who mean the most to us and, for far too many, grief for a loved one, we’ve all been forced to think more deeply about what we truly value. And in fact, science shows giving is one of our most powerful well-being tools, transforming the giver as much as the recipient. By connecting meaningfully with others through a cause we care about, we’re able to connect more deeply with ourselves.
After losing my mom unexpectedly at the age of 8, I personally see the value of supporting an incredible organization, The Foundation for Grieving Children. Its mission is to support children, teens, young adults, and their families following the death of a loved one.
My fellow Thriver, Emily Mias, lost her uncle to suicide, and chose to give to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Emily said, “It makes me feel better to know I can help others avoid the devastating loss, or comfort friends and family after the tragedy.”
Often, it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the week after work and taking care of family, but the truth is, the more you give back, the more you are likely to receive in terms of fulfillment and joy.
Whether it’s helping out family members, volunteering for a local charity, or donating funds to support those in need across the globe, giving back to the community is a great way to serve others while also improving our own well-being. Giving just an hour or two of your time or making a donation is always appreciated and it’s deeply rewarding too.
There are opportunities to lend a helping hand everywhere, and as these Thrive Challenge winners have found, serving others leads to unexpected benefits.
1. Help out the unhoused.
“I’m focusing on gratitude and I know how lucky I am to have a roof over my head and a car. A lot of people don’t have that. So every single day I drive around and hand out any extra food I have to the homeless, and I always give them a dollar or two.”
–– Michelle Burks, Walmart Supercenter #2479; San Diego, CA; $5K Winner
2. Volunteer at your local church or neighborhood center and have fun.
“I’m a greeter at my church, where I volunteer every Sunday. I welcome everyone who comes through the door, singing and dancing, and get people to join in. I’m the best dancer in my church! I always smile. When you smile, it makes people’s day, and it’s contagious — they start to smile or laugh. And laughter is healing, whatever you are going through.
— Sunday Oguntoyinbo, Walmart Supercenter #5727; Bradenton, FL; $10,000 Grand Champion Winner
3. Get involved with a community volunteer group.
“I’m giving back to the community with our police volunteer group: ‘We Are One.’ We cleaned up one side of a highway and helped install a new dog park, putting up fencing. I am so thankful and blessed to be healthy and have a wonderful marriage. Giving back brings me joy.”
— Dorothy Cook, Walmart Customer; San Diego, CA; $5K Winner
4. Help out elderly relatives.
“My house is like a care home for seniors! I take care of my mother, my mother-in-law, my uncle, and his wife, and they all have medical problems. I take them to the doctor, make sure they take their medications, shop and cook for them. My husband and I also have two kids. I do it because it’s good for my soul and I’m happy I have the energy for everything, thanks to the Thrive Challenge.” — Maria Howell, Walmart Supercenter #5823; Dallas, TX; $5K Winner