I'm sitting on a couch in my hotel room watching the sun slowly rise above the Atlantic Ocean. This is by far the highlight of my trip. Anytime I'm at the beach, you'll find that I always watch the sun rise above the ocean. For the next 45 minutes I'll watch a vast array of colors dance across the crisp blue sky that is virtually indescribable.
As I watch the sun rise, I've been considering 2009 and all that there is to be done. I've been thinking of some ideas but I need to put pen to paper so that when I return home, I'll be able to get started working on these goals. This list may change over the course of 2009, but this will give me something to work towards.
1. Get on the list of approved Charities for various organizations that offers to match donations made by their employees. Currently Spreading Joy Corporation (SJC) on the list of approved charities for SPX Corporation, but I'm going to contact Bank of America, Wachovia and Starbucks and send in the necessary forms to be added to their list. Does YOUR company offer a matching program or do you know of other organizations that offer their employees this benefit? Please comment below and let me know. This is a great way to DOUBLE any your contribution.
2. Visit children at the hospital once a month and take a book or small gift. I'd love to be spreading joy at a hospital once a month. Go in with a book or teddy bear in hand and spend the day encouraging and lifting the spirits of those children (and possibly parents) in the hospital. That is where the monetary donations and matches will come in handy. I'll be able to approach book warehouses or suppliers and ask for deep discounts on 300 copies of Curious George or other wonderful books. If you are a book supplier or know one that may give discounts for something of this nature, please let me know. You can comment below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Meet with local schools and encourage our youth to be spreading joy daily. Many think that because they are young and do not work that they can not make a difference. Because of their age and the fact that they do not work, that can work for their advantage. They can grab the attention of many adults who will not listen to most people. They can organize community book, coat and/or food drives. Those of us who do not live in their community can not do those things because many communities have a no solicitation policy. Making a difference is more purpose driven than anything. The desire comes from the heart and if we can show them the simple joys of giving while they are young, this will become part of their daily routine. Imagine an army of young people doing one nice thing for someone every day....what a wonderful world this would be!
4. Obtain Government, Foundation and other grants that are out there. Because there are no foundations that give grants to the basic "do gooder" this is going to be difficult for SJC. Many grants hinge on the fact that the NPO is focused on 1 issue and SJC wants to meet a wide variety of needs. I will be working on grant writing and seeking out those grants that will fall within any area of what SJC works for. I'll be sending out letters of inquiry asking for guidelines. I know there are organizations out there that are willing to be a part of Spreading Joy - I just have to be willing to diligently seek them out! If anyone has grant writing skills or a background in English/grammar - and would be willing to help out, please let me know.
5. Marketing and Personally doing more acts of joy to spread the word about Spreading Joy. I enjoy giving and doing things for others. I also need to get the word out and remind others that it is not HOW much you give or WHO you give to that matters. We just need to give. I've been watching the news and hearing how a lot of retailers are going to be shutting their doors. 2009 may end up being a very bleak year financially, but that doesn't give us the right to stop giving and doing for others. If anything, there will be a greater need. More resumes will need to be written. More people will end up on the streets because of the declining economy. No matter what our financial situation is, no matter how old we are or where we live we all have something to give. Many of our young people could teach an adult how to use computers. Many of us that been in the Office administration profession could teach others about customer service, office duties and help write resumes. If you are a Corporate Head Hunter - you could help the jobless become more comfortable with the interviewing process. There are so many ways to make a difference that doesn't even cost a single penny - we just need to be aware of the needs around us.
6. Start collecting Christmas gifts for Christmas Joy 2009. While we were able to distribute 770 toys for Christmas 2008, have a desire to do more. I honestly feel that the need will be greater this year. Imagine if 200 people started and "others" box and put a toy or gift worth around $5.00 in it every other week for this year. Each person would have about 22 gifts come Thanksgiving. Can you imagine the difference 4400 gifts will make this Christmas?!? $5.00 every other week will not break the bank and is a doable goal. Many companies will have a lot of left over items - even after putting them on clearance. My goal is to contact them and ask if they will donate those items. Ask if they will remember SJC when they do their Spring Cleaning. Those items can be stored and held on to until they are needed this Christmas. Don't forget about the tape and wrapping paper. Thanks to a wonderful individual that loves Spreading Joy - this was not a problem this year. She donated enough paper to wrap all of the toys.
7. Highlighting those that make a difference. As I said earlier, 2009 may be a tough year for many of us. But, there are those that will continue to make a difference and I want to share that with you. It will encourage you and motivate you to action. Seeing the joy that comes from sharing and caring will help others to realize that it can be done. The lasting joy that comes from knowing that you cared enough to get involved and make a difference is something that everyone needs to experience for themselves. What is your story of giving? How are you making a difference? You can comment at the end of this blog or click here to share on the SJC web site.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful sunrise with me and for how you are Spreading Joy!