Recently I have been encouraged to share the causes that are important to me on my blog. As someone who’s a young adult cancer survivor, a recovering mental health advocate and a concerned environmental enthusiast there were a number of initiatives that came to mind. In this post you’ll find ways you can give back, why events are the best way to raise funds, and a link to plan your own event.
I have always searched for ways to give back to the communities that have directly provided for me and those that support what I believe in: from planning events, raising awareness, and spending my dollars wisely — including giving to charities and nonprofits.
I have shared in the past ways you can help in your everyday life, even if it’s just buying local or cruelty-free products. I did a yoga intensive in college and a lot of what I presented in my final project in pleas for Mother Nature still resonates today:
- Waste less: food, water, energy
- Share more: carpool, clothes
…just to name a handful.
My project was geared towards the youth who were my peers and the future of this world. I tried to inspire them to find fun ways to use less water, like showering with their partner, or buying less clothes by hosting a “bitch ‘n’ switch”, where you get together with your friends and
complain talk and trade clothes — it’s a great way to recycle, up-cycle, and give articles a new, loving home.
Below are some initiatives that have been crucial in my survival, recovery, and development as a responsible citizen, and you can find out what they mean to me.
#1. In my years since surviving AML I have run a half marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada’s Team In Training, through the Magic Kingdom. The Canadian team raised over 4 million dollars in one event, and I have also been an ambassador for their Pineapple Challenge, an event where you and a team of 2-10 dress up in costumes and run a 5K obstacle course all while holding a pineapple. I ran it with one of my Disney girls and we called ourselves the “Hakuna Matata” team.
#2. I have also been approached by a door-to-door Doctors Without Borders representative who came in, ate my roommate’s and my’s leftover Sunday waffles and not only did we sign up for monthly donations but he sat with us for over 30 minutes and told us where the money was going, and what kind of support they offer globally. (Happy ending: the rep and my roommate are now engaged and we continue to support the organization!)
#3. I have not given directly to a mental health service, as most of these we are lucky to have the costs covered in Canada, but I have definitely benefitted from them and I have plans to give back in the near future. I am more likely to support the housing projects that have given me a place to stay in my darkest days and volunteer my time for initiatives in my area.
It’s necessary to know where your dollars and supports are going and that it is not just going to “administrative costs” which can be a way to shadow the spending of certain organizations. It’s also important to choose causes that are meaningful for you and your loved ones as this is money you can never get back, and if you were ever to have something bad happen to your finances — higher powers forbid — you don’t want to feel like that money was wasted.
Never give more than you can, which shouldn’t be over 10% of your paycheque unless you are very well off, in which case, please give abundantly. If you’re young and saving up for your first car, first home, paying off student debt (like me), or even starting a family there are still ways you can contribute. Use your dollars on what you buy already wisely. Like I said earlier: buy local and enviro-friendly products. It can be small like laundry and dish detergents, hygiene products, and makeup. Always reduce, reuse, and recycle and volunteering is a great way to put your skills to good use without spending a nickel.
Events are a great way to raise awareness and actually bring people together for a cause. It gives people a chance to share stories about how they or their loved ones have been affected by an issue and be supported in the flesh. Here is the link of eventbrite, a ticketing service where you can plan your very own event to raise funds — it can be a golf tournament, a silent auction, or your birthday party where you donate the funds to a charity… being a philanthropist and/or humanitarian is not just for celebrities anymore. We are the majority and have the most say in how the future goes down. We have the power in ourselves to make a difference and change the world, and without getting too political, we need to get involved now more than ever: in natural disasters, in our hometowns and our local communities.
I love you all more than words can say, always.