Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Live Deliberately: Using Your Skills to Help Others

Township near Durban, South Africa
In 2011, Matt and I were given an opportunity to travel to Durban, South Africa to work with an organization that helped orphans and other vulnerable children in the Zulu community. We met some amazing people there during that time: people who wanted nothing more than to use their skills to help others.

We were asked to join them because of their dream to build a shelter for the 27 children living in a small home near Adam's Mission. Since we were just about finished with our own tiny house building project they asked us for some advice. Advice quickly turned into volunteering.

A lot of things happened on that trip and we weren't able to build the shelter as planned, but the children were given another building so our efforts were not without results.

We decided at that time that it was important to us to use our skills to help others. Here are a few ways to do this yourself.

  1. Volunteer in your community. If you have built your own tiny house from the ground up (or wheels up), an organization such as Habitat for Humanity may be a good choice. No matter what your skills are you can use them to benefit others.
  2. Make connections. We ended up in South Africa because a friend asked us to help. If you make connections with others not only do you develop a friendship and bond but you can do some real good, too. 
  3. Make donations. Sometimes organizations or individuals don't need physical assistance but rather money or items donated to help out. Especially if you are in the process of downsizing you can do some real good by donating the things your eliminating from your life. 
  4. Know that you can't help everyone. None of us have unlimited time or resources to volunteer or donate to every possible cause that crosses our paths. It can feel overwhelming to wish you could help everyone, but you may have to choose.
Part of our motivation for changing our lives was to feel more connected and more engaged. Volunteering our time or making donations to the local food bank are just a few ways we can be part of our community - locally and globally.

What can you do to use your skills to help others?

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