TheNext Gen COme
a multimedia-based magazine geared to provide a platform of expression for young people worldwide. By using the creative arts, this monthly magazine addresses everything from the most popular teen dilemmas to headlining political and social issues affecting young people.
I first started giving back to the community when I was 4 years old. At that age, my mom felt I was old enough to travel with her to Brooklyn, where she worked as a marketing director for a hospital. The days leading up to our
trip, we packed gift bags filled with socks for over 30 children ages 2 months to 18. Then on Christmas Eve, we traveled to the hospital and visited the kids in the long-term care pediatric unit.
The children that live there are severely disabled. Many suffer from cognitive and neurological disorders and are permanent residents of the hospital. Some of them go to school, some don’t. Even though I was extremely young, I remember how the experience felt to me.
I had always known how to share, and I’d always loved making people smile, but when I handed that first package of socks to a little boy in a wheelchair for the first time, his face lit up!.
I don’t think I could ever describe how that made me feel. That feeling never left and that's why I make it my mission to return to the hospital every year with gifts for those children.
After the first year of Gift Giving, I told my mother that I wanted to do it again. So we started to get more consistent, gaining funds and sponsors from the hospital staff such as the CEO, Development Director and Compliance Officer. One year two local Senators joined us, brining toys for us to contribute. Because financially our goals were challenging, we would tend to reach out to sponsors as early as August.
We’ve given socks, stuffed animals, jackets, blankets, hats, scarves, gloves, and underwear to children at Kingsbrooke Jewish Medical Center.
This year, I also visited the Sierra House; a non-profit organization and group home that is committed to improving the lives of low income families, and homeless young adults through housing, education, and community services. They massively contribute to the long-term stability of our community.
While I absolutley adore traveling to Brooklyn every year for my gift giving charity, I found myself also wanting to find a place in my community to give back to. Through a friend of mine, I came across Sierra House and couldn't wait to donate.
It was quite a surreal experience, arriving at the home. The women and children living there were so welcoming and had amazing spirits. One little girl living in the home could not wait to show me around. She told me hilarious stories about who broke which doors, who's kids slept in which room, and who was friends/ enemies with whom. As a young woman of color, seeing such a supportive community of black women supporting one another was really refreshing. Giving gifts to those young girls felt almost like giving a gift to a friend. I saw so much of myself through them, and their strength and perseverance inspired me to be more passionate about giving back.
Giving is important to me because I feel like if we didn’t give we’d never understand how important it is to our own success. The world is an extremely brutal and selfish place, and I feel like in order to overcome that and be our best selves we have to learn to be selfless individuals.
We have to realize how fortunate we are and take advantage of it by sharing it with those who is less fortunate. At the end of the day, all of us could have been born into a completely different set of circumstances. And I know if I was struggling, I would pray for someone generous enough to help me.
Helping out can be really simple! Start locally by finding shelters, local hospitals or food pantries close to you. Call and ask what type of volunteer programs they might offer. These organizations always have a great need for volunteers and those willing to sponsor a giving program.
You can also opt to do something fun like hold a bake sale, sell candy to your classmates, or plan a fundraising event at your school, local movie theater, town square, or even a town park. Choose a cause/ charity you feel passionate about to donate the proceeds to. These efforts can not only inspire you to give often, but it can also encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to do the same.
TNGCU encourages you to give as much as you can this coming New Year. For creative ways to give back to your community, follow us on Instagram
and search our hashtag #TNGCUgivers. Every holiday season we post 5 creative ways to give back. Who knows, you might make one of them your New Years Resolution! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone, and remember to let the good vibes roll right into 2019.