5 meaningful ways to give back to your community this year

What kept us going in the midst of this crisis are acts of generosity and kindness that have come to the fore and built a sense of community and interconnectedness.
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NEW DELHI: The last two years have been extremely challenging for a lot of people around the world. From losing loved ones, livelihoods, and hope, these few years have been one of the toughest in recent memory.

What kept us going in the midst of this crisis are acts of generosity and kindness that have come to the fore and built a sense of community and interconnectedness.

This crisis has put a spotlight on how crucial these community care networks are for providing healing and supporting a thriving and more connected society.

GivingTuesday - a global generosity movement that envisions a world built on radical generosity and shared humanity through its study of generosity over the years has found that giving is an important way in which people address their uncertainty.

Expressing generosity-whether through acts of kindness, volunteering, or charitable donations-gives people agency, allowing them to feel hope and connection in a time that many have felt hopeless and disconnected. As the New Year dawns upon us, there has never been a better time for people to embrace generosity, in all of its forms.

GivingTuesday highlights a few ways one can make a resolution to incorporate generosity in everyday life: Offering small acts of kindness: Random acts of kindness are all about sudden inspiration and good intentions. It is important to pay attention to the people around you and take note of what you can do to make their lives a little easier.

Sometimes a kind word or act is all you need to create a ripple effect that lasts throughout the day.

These include acts such as offering your seat in public transport to a pregnant woman or a senior citizen, holding the door or elevator for someone, checking in on an elderly neighbour, or bringing dinner to someone who has fallen sick or is going through a rough day, dropping off a little baked treat to neighbours, morning bus driver or to your household.

Any small act of kindness or a simple gesture can brighten someone's day.

Volunteering and Community Engagement: One of the most effective ways of giving back is by volunteering for a cause you believe in. This could be at an awareness drive, beach clean-up, food distribution, animal shelter, etc. Volunteer work is also flexible, so you can participate as per your schedule, and you can choose opportunities that fit your interest.

It also helps to volunteer with other so that it can be an enriching community experience, and socially beneficial at the same time. It is also important to find your right interest cause, and not give up if the first volunteering experience does not match up to your expectations. Volunteering is a small step that goes from knowing an interesting cause to make sure that the cause comes into action.

Giving your time: People tend to misunderstand that generosity should only include the donation of money. Giving your time to someone in need can also be an equal act of generosity. Acts like spending time with senior citizens at old age homes, teaching intellectually disabled kids, collaborating with local non-profits, etc, can also be impactful acts of generosity.

There are also organisations where one can volunteer to cook a meal for homeless guests. Taking the time to help prepare or serve a meal can be of great help to people who need it.

With a wide range of options for people to spend time on, the key is to make some time for things that matter and can make a difference. Giving your time for a noble cause is a beautiful act of kindness, and supports the spirit of giving.

Using your skills for good: The most underrated yet the most innovative and impactful form of giving is to use your skills for good. Teaching a subject or basic reading/writing practice to underprivileged children, using your marketing/ logistics skills to help a non-profit, supporting a fundraiser drive by using your financial skills, or helping a charity or non-profit get more funds for a cause they are working towards.

You can also teach your skills to people who would need them in their lives, and give them mentorship as and when required. Not only is this a noble generosity effort but also helps someone gain life skills. Every hour you spend using your skills for someone turns into an hour of changing someone's entire life for good.

Using your voice to promote giving: Give your voice to amplify the concept of giving on social media, and engage as many people to come forward and contribute to it in whatever way they can.

Be a part of organisations or movements of larger social impact such as GivingTuesday, that aims to grow more generosity, and encourage people to adopt, recognise, and practice generosity as a way of life.

Voicing acts of kindness and generosity will raise awareness about the movement and make people more inclined towards being more generous and practicing small acts of kindness in their day-to-day lives. Sharing one's feelings about the acts of kindness that they have done, or seen around can inspire people to adopt this virtue as a part of their lives.

However one chooses to incorporate generosity; your time, compassion, and service will be appreciated more than you may ever know. An act of generosity comes from a place of service and genuine kindness and has the power to change someone's life for the better.

May this coming year encourage all of us to make a resolution to practice generosity, and enable us to embrace this virtue-not just on one day or during a calamity, but throughout the year. Small acts of kindness and a whole heart of generosity can bring the change we all wish to see with each New Year.

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