Photo Caption: Actress/Activist Emmanuelle Vaugier, founder of The Fluffball Foundation, offering a kind show of appreciation, lovely soul that she is.
One of my longtime New Year Resolutions is to give back out of gratitude for all that I have and all that I am. This resolution lends itself to a joyful, purpose-driven existence. If I am having a bad day, I reach for my gratitude resolution and it usually lifts my spirits. On the good days, giving back is the cherry on top of the sundae.
With that in mind, each year I choose a cause, or multiple causes, to support by volunteering or making charitable contributions. I have walked 60 miles four times in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, raised more than $10,000 overall, and volunteered three years as Camp Services Captain or Camp Services Coach. Participating in the 3-Day is my way of doing something proactive to help dear friends who are survivors of breast cancer. Along the way, I have made wonderful memories and forged friendships that are priceless.
Another cause that I continue support is preservation of the planet: I work to combat global warming by reducing my Carbon Footprint (and I recycle, reuse and reduce). I also engage in "Premeditated Acts of Kindness" and I support various animal welfare organizations.
My annual decision on which causes to support, and in turn my commitment to 'give back,' is a joy to fulfill. Public service is both my vocation and my avocation. I want to work with others to make this planet a better place . . . and quite frankly, it just feels good to team up with like-minded, passionate folks on great causes that make a difference.
So in addition to my on-going list of causes that I support - drum roll please - my top two priorities for 2015 include: raising money for the The Fluffball Foundation, which was created by Actress/Activist Emmanuelle Vaugier; and volunteering at the Eagle Hill Equine Rescue in Virginia. The Fluffball Foundation works to support various organizations focused on animal rescue and well being efforts across the United States through various fundraising efforts. This year's annual event October 3 in Los Angeles will support the The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, a non-profit rescue organization focused on rescuing and rehabilitating abused animals. According to The Fluffball, "they provide a service that specializes in saving these animals from abuse situations, and then working to find them the perfect homes."
I am proud to say I have reached and exceeded my 2015 fundraising goal for The Fluffball and my Crowdrise Campaign has topped $2,575 (August Update: $5930). I am gratified that my financial support will help animals in need, but there is more to do: I am shifting my energy and focus just a bit in April to my second, more "hands-on" priority, which actually has been sitting "unfulfilled" on my list for several years: Volunteering at Eagle Hill Equine Rescue, a nonprofit organization near my home in Virginia.
Eagle Hill Equine Rescue, according to its Mission Statement, "offers rescue, rehabilitation and forever placement to abused, neglected or at risk equines. We promote humane treatment and to strengthen the bond between horses and people, especially children, through education and guidance."
Sometimes to add new resolutions to your plate, you have to clear some space. I am diligently working to complete projects, so I can start volunteering in April to coincide with my birthday. I love Birthday resolutions and I love animals, so it is going to be a real treat to pitch in, in whatever way that I am needed, to help the horses.
In closing, I write today, not to pat myself on the back, but to inspire others to 'give back out of gratitude for all that they have and all that they are.' Causes come in all shapes and sizes . . . I urge you to open your mind to the possibilities, make a decision to go for it, and follow through with small daily steps. Small steps add up to big results over time. Sometimes the results can truly be profound.
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