For a while I stopped watching the evening news
because I became overwhelmed with the countless stories of violence
and despair around the world. I thought if I just turned off the TV
it would all go away and I could exist in a bubble of
But then I log onto Twitter or Facebook and these stories
find me there. As I read and push back tears of anger and
frustration I ask myself, "What can I do?" How can I help children
attending schools in Chicago's Austin community
without teachers? What about the children living in
refugee camps in Sudan? Polio has been eradicated in the United
States, but there are reports that it may be coming back in
Syria. If you are like me, you are wondering where to
begin. Here are my five suggestions for simple ways you can
Lend a hand
Whether you help out one time or you find an
ongoing opportunity, the easiest way to give back is to give your
time. Chicago Cares
is one amazing organization that provides volunteer
opportunities around the city. Since 1991, Chicago Cares volunteers
have completed 1.4 million volunteer hours. This is also a great
opportunity to get the whole family involved in making a
Send an email (or letter)
I'm a firm believer in the power of advocacy.
Regardless of how you feel about the state of our government, it's
important that you let your voice be heard to elected officials.
Bring attention to a cause that you feel passionate about by
emailing, calling or writing a letter to your alderman, congressman
There are so many charities that solicit funds to
support a variety of causes locally and around the globe. There are
also many websites that can help you navigate which charities are
legitimate and which ones are scams. Do your research and give what
Family vacation with a twist
As your family makes spring break and Memorial Day
vacation plans, why not engage in some act of service? It could be
as simple as doing some random acts of
kindness in the town you are visiting or
partnering with Habitat for
Humanity to build a home for a week.
Get to know your neighbors
I am convinced that many of the problems that exist
in the world could be solved if we simply took the time to get to
know one another. I'm surprised at the number of people who
couldn't name a single family that lives on their block. We can
transform our neighborhoods by building a sense of community. This
means hosting block parties, creating an email list or even
shoveling each other's snow. Having a strong sense of community is
a key ingredient to building a safer world for all of us to
What tips do you have for wanting to alleviate some of the
problems that plague our society?
Laila is the creator of Only Laila, a site dedicated to sharing simple solutions for single and working moms.
See more of Laila's stories here.
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