The end of the year is a hectic time filled with preparations for the holidays, potential vacations, family time, and the ever impending New Year Resolutions. It’s also a reflective time, one filled with gratitude and the overwhelming sentiment of gratefulness that drives people to give back to the community around them and to those less fortunate. This is my favorite time of year! I love the idea of new beginnings, celebrating a successful year, spending time with family and friends, and sharing that Holiday spirit with those around me, which I do so through giving.

Giving, a central pillar in Challenge Detroit, is one of my favorite things to do especially around the Holiday season. I believe volunteering, philanthropy, and charitable giving are important year round, but this time of year is often a season of abundance and celebration for many, but not for all. It’s a good reminder to celebrate how fortunate you have been in life by paying it forward with your actions and, if you’re able to, with monetary donations.

This year in particular, I was able to do just that through my host company The Center for Financial Planning (not to forget that through the fellowship I get to give back through intellectual service every Friday!). Part of my responsibilities at The Center include organizing staff volunteering and charitable giving, which is a passion of mine. The Center is located in Southfield, and the staff hail from all over SE Michigan, so it was even more thrilling that I was able to share a couple of Detroit’s hard working and long standing non-profits, Focus: Hope and Arts and Scraps, with my fellow co-workers.


The week of Thanksgiving, as we were individually preparing for the copious amount of food we were destined to consume, The Center staff was reminded that’s not the case for all as we helped sort and create boxes of food for low-income families and homebound seniors at Focus: Hope. The following week, we shifted gears and volunteered in the Arts and Scraps warehouse creating kits for students to learn and express creativity through art projects made out of recycled industrial materials. Arts and Scraps measures success through smiles and that day alone we helped foster 3,000-4,000 future smiles! THAT’S A LOT OF CHILD HAPPINESS!

IMG_9311On top of giving our time, we also were generous in giving of resources. One of my favorite projects we did through this past month was become a Toys for Tots donation spot. The Center staff, clients, and many altruistic individuals donated over $1500 worth of toys to our location alone, giving us two large and overflowing boxes. I had the pleasure of shopping for a large amount of these toys and want to thank The Doll Hospital and Toy Soldier Shop for their generosity and selling interactive toys that foster childhood development and creativity. (Some of the toys that were donated were so fun, I had to pry them out of the hands of our adult staff!)

I wish everyone a Happy Holiday season and hope you take this time to reflect on the impact you’ve made this year through service, and perhaps make some goals or resolutions to do even more in the new year.