Excerpted from Celebrating philanthropy: Giving Tuesday, giving every day
by Patty Enrado
The Dress at 50
It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.
– Mother Teresa, Albanian Roman Catholic nun, humanitarian, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient for 1979
I missed giving a shout-out for Giving Tuesday on its actual day this year, which was December 3rd. Giving Tuesday, in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, was the brainchild of Henry Timms, interim executive director of 92nd Street Y in New York City, who created and wanted to promote a day of “personal philanthropy” on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
“The driving spirit of this season is about generosity and giving thanks,” said Timms. “Giving Tuesday is a celebration of all forms of giving.” This year, more than 7,000 nonprofits around the country were slated to have participated in the growing movement through myriad activities, including volunteerism, grant matching, year-end donations, and support for specific projects.
I love the idea of Giving Tuesday! I love the idea of celebrating philanthropy during this time of consumerism. Since I missed highlighting Giving Tuesday on its appointed day, I’m advocating for picking any day this holiday season and giving back. Make a tradition out of it. For the last few years, our family has collected the various solicitations that come in the mail for the holiday season and on an appointed evening, we each pick one nonprofit organization to make a donation. We talk about the different types of organizations – environmental, animal, political, social justice, and so on – and we group the solicitations accordingly to make the process more manageable and less overwhelming. We talk about why we have chosen a particular organization. There are a lot of worthy causes out there, but here are our selections for this holiday season...
Community Alliance for Learning (WriterCoach Connection)
When my son entered Portola Middle School as a seventh grader, I first learned about WriterCoach Connection, a program run by the Community Alliance for Learning (1191 Solano Avenue, #6098, Albany, CA 94706, 510.524.2319). The program was modeled after a successful writer-coach initiative on the East Coast and first implemented at Berkeley High School in February 2001. Its success led to the expansion of the program to Albany middle and high schools, Berkeley middle schools, Oakland high schools, and El Cerrito High School and Portola Middle School – all in the East Bay.
Trained community volunteers work with students on an individual basis for one hour per week. The testimonials are tremendous and inspirational. English teachers see vast improvement in their students who were previously getting low grades or not turning in their work. Students are getting the support they need and are motivated to become better writers, critical thinkers, and confident communicators. While Jacob didn’t require WCC resources, I’m a firm believer in supporting all aspects of the school community because that only strengthens the school overall.
My time is limited and to be honest I’m not a great tutor, as my kids will tell you, which is why homework duty falls on David’s shoulders. So I choose to support this incredibly important program with a modest donation. If you have the time and like to tutor, WCC would certainly appreciate your support as a community volunteer.
However you choose to give – be it through volunteering or donating or a simple act as offering a hug – give with your whole heart. To do so is an act of generosity of staggering proportions.