Hey friends,

I’m writing this blog on Christmas Eve of 2018 and wishing everyone Happy Holidays! Truth be told, I used to get a bit down/sad during this time of the year because it’s around this time in 1994 that my mom and I moved to the United States. I also don’t have family members here so growing up, so I never experienced the large gatherings for the holidays my friends did.

However, I learned to be grateful for what I have and that changed the outlook on things. I learned from my mentors to volunteer and give back to the best of my abilities. This year, I helped out with a Thanksgiving event in Los Angeles. We helped out thousands of homeless and lower income families to not be alone on Thanksgiving.

There were services offered such as hair cutting/grooming and free eye and dental exams. People lined up for hours prior to opening. The line started by checking in their belongings, then they were sat and food was given to them. After they were done eating, they lined up to get clothing and hygiene products.

I accompanied a gentleman named Lawrence as he was lined up to enter the event. He shared his life story with me. He said he doesn’t have any family members anymore. He moved to Los Angeles many decades ago. He faces depression and is scared of being kicked out of his apartment due to the rise in rent. All he wanted were clothing and a blanket.

All I can do was empathize as he told me his story. Even though he didn’t have much, he was still happy and optimistic about life! He inspired me to be grateful for what I have, and I challenge you to do the same.

Another event I got involved with was an Adopt A Senior program for the Holidays. Anyone who got involved received a wish list of gifts the seniors wanted. These seniors don’t have much and for most of them, these gifts will be the only ones they receive for the year. I took part in it, and I told a friend about it. He was too busy to do the shopping, so I did it on his behalf.

My senior only wanted the essentials: blanket, socks, and a sweater. My friend’s senior wanted adult diapers and a throw. The experience truly humbled me, and made me be happy for what I have.

The Holidays can be challenging. Especially with the gloomy weather, depending where you live, it can be sad and depressing. I encourage you to take control of things that you are able to. If you feel like you are alone, you aren’t. You can look at events to join to make new friends. Sometimes we take what we have for granted because we became accustomed to them. Perhaps volunteering (even if it’s just your time) will give you a sense of fulfillment and gratitude. I sincerely hope you all finish the year in a positive manner and as always, if there’s anything I can do for you, feel free to connect!