Serving Others Beyond the Holidays

Aileen Dosev, Editor in Chief

What are your New Year’s resolutions? In all likelihood, your goals include exercising more, eating healthier or spending less time on social media—some of the most popular nationwide, according to Statistica. Amidst the spirit of giving, one might expect charity to top the resolution lists. In fact, as much as 30% of all charitable donations occur in December. The last three days of the year account for 10% alone. What happens after January first? As the holiday spirit fades, consider making a year-long commitment to a non-profit organization or humanitarian cause in 2023.

Begin by identifying social issues that you feel passionately about or challenges you can address within your community. Perhaps you would like to support your neighborhood food shelf to combat hunger and poverty, or maybe your local creek looks more like a sewer than a thriving ecosystem. Once you’ve identified a cause to support, make a plan to further that cause in some way for the next twelve months. This need not be a drain on your time and resources – even a once-a-month commitment can be a gratifying way to give back to your community and planet. Maybe your holiday packing event at Feed My Starving Children becomes a regular tradition with friends and family. Taking the dog out for a walk might be an opportunity to remove harmful debris from your local park. No matter what difference you decide to make, involving others is a great way to make your activity fun and easy to continue. If you’d like to upscale your impact, consider joining one of Minnetonka High School’s many volunteer clubs, such as Service Club Imagine or Bunny Besties.

In addition to benefiting those who need it most, service comes with positive mental effects. According to Mayo Clinic, “volunteering reduces stress and increases positive, relaxed feelings by releasing dopamine. By spending time in service to others, volunteers report feeling a sense of meaning and appreciation, both given and received.” Caring for your community is care of yourself. So while you’re curating this year’s resolutions, consider adding charity to the list.