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GET OUT AND GIVE BACK/Engage!

Jane Hess Collins
By Jane Hess Collins
Posted on Apr 13,2011
Filed Under News , Community,
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Photo by Al Butler<br /> <br />Al is originally from Arkansas, he had a great life when he was younger, he got a scholarship to school for track and got a degree in marketing. He never ended up using his degree but he held a great job for a long while. Due to some big misfortunes, today, Al is homeless.
Photo by Al Butler
Al is originally from Arkansas, he had a great life when he was younger, he got
a scholarship to school for track and got a degree in marketing. He never ended
up using his degree but he held a great job for a long while. Due to some big
misfortunes, today, Al is homeless.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - In the last three days I’ve helped homeless men write resumes, listened to immigrants proudly share their face-to-face meetings with the mayor, updated a non profit’s Facebook page and unsuccessfully tried to shove a too-big couch into the too-small apartment of a low-income family.

Why all the activity? In short, engage your community! Be the change and spread the word.
 
I’ve just started a new “Get Out and Give Back” program where I engage in at least one community service activity each week (or four in three days in this case) then spread the word through Twitter, Facebook and my website. I tweet as I’m doing the work, and then post on my Facebook page and back on Twitter, directing followers back to a story that I’ve written on my website.
 
The non profits get publicity. Followers are informed and inspired. I feel incredibly relevant.
 
Everybody wins.

It’s taken me a year and a half to move from thinking about doing this to actually pulling the trigger. Lots of reasons on why I’ve sat on this great idea for so long, but since taking the plunge less than a week ago, I’ve learned that online applications for menial labor jobs are too bureaucratic for a homeless high school graduate, and I’ve felt a surge of national pride that we teach and encourage our citizens to right a wrong.

Non profits have deluged me with requests to work with them. What organization doesn’t want free help and publicity? And who doesn’t want to feel relevant? While your time to help may be limited, I challenge you to start communicating and sharing the good that you do too. Let people know when you give back and how good it makes you feel. It’s not bragging or showing off. Everyone wants to feel relevant, and if you’re happy, most people will want to be let in on why.

Spreading the word on the good you do doesn’t necessarily require that you become a social media expert. Just let your family and friends know how much you enjoy your volunteer passion, whatever it is, in conversation, letters and phone calls.

If you are plugged into social media, here’s your chance to start a sea change. Create a Facebook page, sign up for Twitter, start a blog. Then type. Upload some pictures. If you feel creative, produce a few Flip Videos for YouTube.

You can follow my volunteer adventures through the social media sites listed at the end of this story. But I really hope you’ll start sharing the good that you do in your own communities, and inspire your friends and family to do the same. Start a movement.

Put me out of business.

Get out and give back.

Jane Hess Collins of Old Town Alexandria helps and encourages people to give back through her writing, speaking, coaching and workshops. You can follow Get Out and Give Back on Facebook, Twitter (@getoutgiveback) and at getoutandgiveback.com.



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