We’re in the season of the year where hearts are a little lighter, there’s some happiness in the air, and we take a few minutes more than usual to take stock of the blessings we have in our lives.
Now that the turkey is carved and you’re switching to decking halls or lighting candles, I’d like to take my time this month to ask that you focus on the spirit of giving that comes this time of year, and I want to spotlight three opportunities for you to make an impact on someone’s life.
The first opportunity is through the Knollwood Foundation.
Sadly, for too many children in our community, the school cafeteria is the only place they are assured to get a meal.
Breakfast and lunch are taken care of at school, but weekends and holiday breaks may be times when these children are forced to go without due to severe financial circumstances.
School “Backpack Programs” identify children in need and quietly pack easily prepared, non-perishable food for them to take home for weekends and holiday breaks when they won’t be in school.
Gifts to the Knollwood Foundation not only help ease that burden on those children, but by directly supporting the Foundation’s mission of helping our community, those donations are also tax-deductible.
If you are interested in making a donation to the Knollwood Foundation, please visit knollwoodfoundation.com, and click “Donate.”
The second opportunity is Mauldin High School’s Spirit Week.
Over the past 17 years, the students of Mauldin High School and our community have raised over one million dollars for several Upstate charities including A Child’s Haven, Pendleton Place, Let There Be Mom, Hope Academy, BI-LO Charities, Children’s Cancer Center, Camp Courage, Building Dreams, and many more.
This year’s beneficiary of MHS Spirit Week is Safe Harbor.
Safe Harbor is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence in Upstate South Carolina.
Safe Harbor provides services like safe emergency shelter, counseling, assistance with orders of protection, and transitional housing, as well as teen dating violence education and community outreach in Greenville, Pickens, Anderson, and Oconee counties.
If you are interested in making a contribution to benefit Safe Harbor, please visit mauldinhighspiritweek.com, and scroll down to “Online Donations.”
If you feel more comfortable giving your time, there are opportunities for that as well.
Personally, academically, and eventually professionally, mentoring relationships can have powerful impacts on girls and boys who may need an additional positive influence in their lives, but many will grow up without one.
According to research, youth who were considered “at-risk” but who had a mentor are 55% more likely to apply to college, 78% more likely to regularly volunteer, and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.
Mauldin Middle School, Mauldin High School, and several other area schools have mentor programs established through Mentor Upstate.
After completing an application, training, and a background check, mentors visit with a student once a week during the student’s lunch or breakfast at school.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please visit mentorupstate.org, and click “Training Sign Up.”
This year, as you think about how much you’ve been given, please take a minute or two to ask how you can give and how you can make a difference in the life of someone who needs you.