About Year of Giving…
The Year of Giving started officially on Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 3:30 pm. The concept was simple. I gave away $10 to a different person every day for a year. I wrote about each person I intersected with as well as the unbelievable journey that ensued.
I had lost my job at a nonprofit organization due to the economic climate so taking on this endeavor may not seem like it was fiscally prudent. However, I think it is exactly these times that we must focus on helping others.
I embarked on my Year of Giving on December 15th, 2009 in memory of my mother who lost her long battle with heart disease on this day in 2006. She was a true altruist – always thinking of others before herself.
My goal wasn’t necessarily to change the lives of those with whom I came in contact. Let’s face it, $10 dollars is probably not going to change someone’s life in and of itself. I do believe, however, that the act of giving can inspire others to pursue the ideals that the French philosopher Auguste Comte envisioned when he coined the term “altruism.” Whether that comes in the form of someone who reads this blog and wants to create their own Year of Giving or someone who uses the $10 to help someone else out, the specific results are less important than the overall good that we can achieve together.
In December of 2010 the year came to an end and I embarked on two new journeys. The first involved sharing the unique experience of being a Kindness Investor for seven days with others who were out of work. Some of them choose to share their stories with me and I have posted them on the Year of Giving. In addition, I made a personal commitment in 2011 to volunteer once a week with a different organization and share that adventure here.
My latest project is called Anthony & Me – it’s a year-long experiment that pushes the boundaries of peer mentorship and social networking. After I finished the Year of Giving, I started to write a book about my experience. I’m not a professional writer (obviously!) and it has turned out to be more challenging that I expected. SO I’ve wanted to have someone who could help hold me accountable for my writing – you know give me deadlines and check to see if in fact I am writing on the days that I set aside for the book.
This is where Anthony comes in. He’s not a book agent or editor for some fancy publishing house. He’s a 55-year-old guy who has been homeless for more than a decade. In return for his help keeping me on track with my writing, I’ve agreed to help him get off the streets and into his very own apartment. You can follow our progress on the Anthony & Me blog.
Thanks for taking time to visit the site. I hope that you find yourself inspired today to do something special for someone. You would be surprised at how even something as simple as a smile or a thank you can make the difference in someone’s day. And remember, “happiness is only real when shared.”
I am 40 and reside in Washington, DC. In October of 2009 I became unemployed for the first time in my adult life which has given me the opportunity to pursue several personal goals as well as focus on giving and helping others.
I could bore you with stories about how I lived and studied a year of high school in the great city of Guasave, Mexico or how I accidentally knocked Sir Anthony Hopkins over as we got off a flight in Miami, etc. However, I would rather that you spend your time checking out some of the experiences that I have shared with the people I meet every day.
If you would like to contact me directly, you can send me email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The title banner photo of the hand is courtesy of Amrit. More of Amrit’s photography can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/aksphotography/