Tag: volunteer

Inspiration is everywhere!

Inspiration is everywhere!

People change lives.  Everyday this happens, a person changes someone else’s life.  That’s quite a bit of power to be able to literally change someone’s life.  That’s actually incredible if you truly think about that.  Strangers, doctors, retail associates, food servers, teachers, police officers, managers, etc.  They all have the power to change someone’s life in such a positive and meaningful way.  Any person can change a life and I have had many that have changed mine recently.

First and foremost, I am mostly positive, not always, but mostly.  I like to believe that people do good and deep down are good.  I hope to leave my house each day knowing that there are going to be people that I have the ability to impact in a great way.  While I hope to have that impact, there are also so many people that change mine (probably without even realizing it!).  I like to think about how the small things people are doing are changing my life in a pretty cool way.  This first group of people that has regularly and frequently been changing my life are the Lowe’s employees.  They always seem to make me smile even if it’s the second or third time I’ve been in my local Lowe’s store.  They add smiles and humor to my life.  From the carpet guy to the countertop lady, to the guy in doors yesterday who said to us in a joking way, “Aren’t you done renovating yet?…” , our trips to Lowe’s have become an adventure.  Nearly every employee knows us when they see us coming, many ask about the progress on our house, if we are finished painting, requesting to see pictures, or just saying something like, “You’re back again” or “I think I’ve seen you every day this week”.  While it might seem crazy, it seems like their humor and smiles makes us feel like family.

Lowe’s might seem odd, but it’s renovation time and that means life is crazy!  I must find the small things in life and their impact is helping me get through the chaos!  As for the others, I met two phenomenal people that just happened to impact my life.  Both inspired me and motivated me.  The first, an amazingly successful person that owns a business in California.  He’s gone through many different phases in life and has had many different adventures, many of which I was a bit envious of, but mostly because they aligned with goals I hope to achieve at one point in my life.  Generally, he’s lived abroad and I dream of doing that, he has the ability to give back in a very large capacity and I hope to do that more and more, and he’s got a calm and pleasant demeanor that makes him admirable in his role as a business owner (I hope to become more calm with each school year!).  Generally, we meet a lot of people, but this was a person that I felt like really appreciates giving back and that’s of course something I can get behind!  As someone that would love to continue to expand my backpack drive, even possibly forming it into a non-profit, it was cool to hear that he has a passion and heart for giving back, too.  As a side note, I met him at a presentation he gave to my early bird class and he later inspired a story that my afternoon classes wrote together.  We created a “class story” together and it started with, “One day Mrs. Jamieson’s class went on an adventure to California to open a computer technology company…”.  It was cool to see the class use their imagination based on a speaker that impacted my life.

Finally, a speaker for my early bird class came and shared a life-changing story that was beyond inspirational.  The story he shared about his cousin who died of cancer was heartbreaking yet motivational.  He used that sadness and turned it into a way to change the lives of others.  The way he has used his cousin’s death to help others with cancer through exercise is one of the coolest, selfless, and inspiring acts that I have heard.  The amazing things that his program, Strong Survivors, is doing for cancer patients to improve their lives has made a lasting impact on my life.  It really gives me more perspective on why I think life is about helping other people.

With all of that, these people have not only impacted my life, they have helped me, motivated me, and inspired me.  They have made me laugh, smile, and reaffirm why helping people is what life is all about.  It gives you purpose and that will give more to you in life than money ever will.  Keep on smiling, giving, helping others, and #AlwaysChooseKindness!

~jj

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Lighting up your community!

Lighting up your community!

It’s been a busy few months for some really great things at the school where I teach and the community I live in.  There may appear to be a lot of division, chaos, stress, negativity, sad stories, awful news, maybe even hate in the world, but what I have found is there is actually even more positive stories where people are doing great things.  Here are a few examples of some awesome community kindness stories:  David Muir shared a story about a community in Milwaukee where a bus driver helped a homeless person in need who was on her bus.  I also saw a story where a community is rebuilding a school and students and teachers served Thanksgiving dinner in Panama City, Florida where there community suffered extreme devastation due to Hurricane Michael.  It’s our responsibility to spotlight amazing stories and make those the focal point today and every single day of the year.  That’s what will help make the world a better place and I think that’s something we can all agree we want and hope to see for the youth in America.  I recently reached out to the local Army National Guard to assist with team building for an entrepreneurship and leadership program.  What I got from involving the Army National Guard was awesome!  I teamed up with a recruiter who has helped with team building, boosting self-confidence, and demonstrating how to use the skills of each member on your team to accomplish goals.

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Life is just a ride…you must keep pedaling!

Life is just a ride…you must keep pedaling!

It’s May and that means school is almost out.  I did a podcast at the beginning of the month with a very cool person that found me via Twitter.  His name is Chad Smart and he is the host of Positive Cynicism.  Check him out at jitterymonkey.com and listen to his motivational and fun podcasts.  Here’s a link to hear the one he allowed me to participate in: http://jitterymonkey.com/positive-cynicism-42-question-everything-jenna-jamieson/

I also did some volunteering this month because it’s kind of my hobby.  A hobby that I allow to take over my ‘normal’ life on occasion.  I volunteered at SIU’s graduation for probably my 10th time or more.   It was a simple gesture to help others out and give back to my community.  It’s important to recognize the impact volunteering can have in your local community.  With all the ways to make a difference, to give back to organizations, and to help others in need, volunteering can be one of the most simple ways to do that.  Not only does it help your community and people in it, but beyond that it gives you a sense of purpose.  That is at the core of finding and achieving pure happiness – finding genuine purpose that can give your life meaning.  I challenge you to add more volunteering to your life where you get nothing in return, not something you do at your job or at your church, or as part of a club you are in, but pure volunteering with no sub-lining or sub-benefit.  Volunteering where you give your time away for free and get nothing in return.  It will give you purpose – specifically, a purpose you have probably never felt before.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Diversity can change the world!

Diversity can change the world!

If you know me, you know I love diversity.   The first time I remember heavily considering and thinking about diversity is in 8th grade when I begged my mom to move high schools so I could be in a more diverse district filled with lots of ethnicities and different cultural experiences.

I love diversity because I love what it brings to my life, and more than anything I love what it teaches me.  Similarly, I remember as we headed to Ireland to elope that I recall how noticeable the diversity was in London and Dublin.  From the waiters and staff that helped with our wedding to the many people that we met, the vacation was filled with Muslims, Indians, Americans, Romanians, and many others.

These experiences have further reminded me how much I appreciate and love to be immersed in projects and opportunities that expose me to people and students with different opportunities, educational backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and experiences.

I hope others are able to learn and appreciate those they are surrounded by and the communities in which they live.  It is so easy to judge those who are different, but I personally prefer to learn from them, and I hope you do, too!  We can learn why they do things the way they do, why they wear the clothing they do, what their religion means to them, how their journey brought them to where they are now, and so on.

Back to the whole high school story which is what set me on my path of wondering about diversity.  We eventually moved and I loved my new high school that had so much more diversity, my alma mater, and where I now have the privilege of working.  I once again was lucky enough to witness the diversity at prom.  I realized how lucky I am to be in a place that offers so much diversity and experiences for me to grow.

It is so easy to judge those that are diverse or different than us, but I hope at some point we learn to embrace them because of the many great things they can teach us.  I challenge you to think about this next time you are helping someone from a different culture, someone that isn’t like you, or someone that may be far different than you are used to.  All the diversity we see and have among us is what brings people together to invent new things, find new cures, expand community projects, teach our students, and ultimately to change the world!

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Make the days count!

Make the days count!

Summer is here and I want to make sure I get lots done rather than lounging too much.  I started yesterday by making my “Summer To Do List” to keep myself accountable.  I want to be sure I have some volunteering in my schedule as well as get some overdue projects completed!

I also don’t want to let myself sit in front of a screen for an extended period of time without moving, whether it be a tv screen or a computer screen.  I have noticed that many parents have made plans to keep their children from having too much screen time this summer.  Remember it is equally as important to follow the same rules, don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk as well.  Make sure you get up and move periodically – if you are watching your favorite show, game, or movie get up and move rather than sitting for two or three hours.  Your body and brain needs the stimulation and movement.  Plus, by making the days count that means you are also adding some fitness into your day! It makes you feel less stressed, less grouchy, and more energetic to get through the day.  So keep a list or schedule that utilizes your time wisely so you aren’t spending too much time on social media, sitting around the house, or not getting your goals accomplished.  If you aren’t sure what to omit from your schedule consider scanning newsfeeds less than the typical five, ten, fifteen, or more times a day.

Consider getting involved in your community, volunteer at some local events, and show your family the importance of giving back to others.  If you love fitness, find a Relay for Life, American Heart Association, or other charity walk or run to participate in.  If you love cooking, consider cooking or baking treats for your local police station.  There are endless options and your kids can even help or tag along so they see the value in appreciating others.

Whatever you do, make sure you make your summer days count and work for you!  If you do, you will feel much better at the end of each day.  So, if you are like me, start that “Summer To Do List” so you can make each day count.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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