Charity Magazine

Active Living Through Active Giving

Posted on the 22 August 2011 by Gjosefsberg @gjosefsberg

Habitat-for-Humanity-77I mentioned a few weeks ago that being healthy means living a healthy lifestyle.  It’s a lot more than just 4 hour diets and trips to the gym.  It means doing everything possible to live a life that gets you moving more and eating less.  Today I’d like to talk about the act of giving.

We all enjoy giving.  We like making people around us feel better.  However, purely monetary giving (the act of giving money) seems to be unpopular these days.  We hear constant stories of our money being used for less than charitable purposes, we believe that the individuals we give our money to might misuse it or we simply have no money to give.  So, I would like to propose an alternative that is satisfying to both body and soul, volunteering.

My One Brick Adventures

A few years ago I was looking for new ways to meet people when I stumbled on an organization called One Brick.  It’s a beautiful idea, the brain child of an software engineer who believed people would enjoy volunteering a lot more if they had more choices in what they signed up for.  One Brick acts as a clearing house for a variety of non profits looking for volunteers.  They post up events and members can then choose which events they want to volunteer at.  Members get an amazing selection of events to choose from, which keeps them coming back for more.  Plus One Brick organizes various social events after the volunteer events in order to foster a sense of community.  It really is a great way to give back to the community while having fun and meeting new people.  Except what the heck does this have to do with living a healthy life?

Well, many of the activities One Brick offers are quite physical in nature.  There are creek cleanups, habitat restorations, warehouse clearings, workshop building and home construction, all for a good cause.  These are the kind of events where you spend 6 hours doing something quite physical (I once spent an entire day weeding the back yard of an animal shelter) and then go out for a burrito.  In other words, this is the perfect social activity for someone who likes living a healthy lifestyle.  You get some good exercise, meet new people and do something good for the world around you.  How can this not be the perfect day?

And One Brick is just one of many such organizations.  One of my coworkers recently spent a weekend building housing for Habitat for Humanity.  She said it was one of the most physically exhausting weekends she ever had but also one of the most satisfying.  Think about that one for a second, she got a whole weekend worth of exercise while helping others and feeling good.  That’s a healthy lifestyle right there.

There are dozens if not hundreds of organizations out there who need your time.  You can spend your weekend sitting on the couch or you can spend it giving.  It requires no money, only time and sweat, and they’re all a lot more fun than spending a few hours at the gym.

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