Making a difference by being present

Making a difference by being present A few months ago a woman in my community rang in her 90th birthday by leaping out of an airplane. Three generations of her family also took the plunge with her that day. It was her intention to do two things to celebrate her birthday. To create a memory that her family will never forget and to also raise awareness for a cause that she is passionate about. In the weeks leading up to the big day, Olive raised $2,500.00 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

After hearing the story about this amazing and fearless woman I thought to myself “What can I do to make a difference?” Sure, I give money and food to causes that are close to my heart but Olive’s leap for a cause forced me to face the truth about something. “I give of my money but I’m not physically involved with any causes or special groups”.

This stranger’s courage and commitment to a cause inspired me to take action.

Its time to get physical…

Every day over the last three years, I drive by a nursing/retirement home and it never fails, I say to myself “I should see about volunteering there”. No sooner do I pass by the building my thoughts quickly take me somewhere else and I soon forget about my good intentions.

Shortly after being inspired by Olive’s story, I finally took action and am now volunteering a few hours a week at the same facility that I passed by every day. I offer to do a variety of things – I read for some residences and help out on game night. I used to be a make up artist, so I take great pride in dolling up the ladies for when they’re expecting visitors.

I hope that one day I will be half as brave as Olive and find the courage to leap out of a plane just because or for a cause. But for now I took the first step and made a small jump by getting out of my routine and comfort zone to be present in volunteering my time to help make a difference. It is bringing me more rewards than I could have possibly imagined.

I know my presence is making a difference because every time I knock on a resident’s room door – I’m greeted with a big smile and an “I’m so happy to see you today”.