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Give the Gift of Selflessness

  September 15, 2017

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‘Tis the season for giving – or at least that’s what we have always been told this time of year. With endless displays of flashy new toys and gadgets, however, it’s almost impossible to ignore the materialism that accompanies the holidays. We rationalize each gift purchase as being “selfless”, while simultaneously dreaming about what delicately-wrapped treasures await us in exchange. If the holidays are a time of giving, why do we always expect something in return?

This year, let’s make the holiday season meaningful again by giving the gift of selflessness.

In recent years, companies, organizations, and individuals have begun to partake in the selfless giving tradition.  In 2012, the 92nd Street Y and United Nations Foundation launched Giving Tuesday in response to the commercialization and consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday hashtag on social media) is a celebrated day of giving back, where people around the world can donate money, time, and talent to the causes they care most about.

Selfless giving doesn’t have to come in the form of a social movement to have an impact. Look around your local community and you’re likely to be surprised by all the selfless giving happening right under your nose. Three sisters from the Greater Boston area were inspired to launch a website after their own children expressed the desire to help others feel welcome in their communities. The website, Your Land My Land, allows kids across the U.S. to create personalized cards, letters and artwork to send to refugees and immigrants who are settling into their first American homes.

Volunteering for organizations and charities is a great way to become a selfless-giver to a cause you believe in. After a highly contentious presidential campaign season, the Institute’s Manchester office saw an influx in volunteers:

“Whenever a public figure says something outrageous about refugees and others, we always have seen people calling us and offering us support.

— IINE-Manchester Site Director, Amadou Hamady

According to Amadou, new volunteers not only allow staff members to do more for their clients, but it’s also an opportunity to help refugees and immigrants understand that one of the United States’ historic humanitarian traditions is the public-private partnerships between local, state, and federal governments, and corporations, foundations, community groups, and individuals to welcome and support refugees to their new communities.

No act of selflessness is too small to make a difference. Now more than ever, your family, friends, community, and even strangers could benefit from your selfless gifts.

We would be remiss if we didn’t take time to thank the hundreds of selfless donors and volunteers of the International Institute of New England. For almost 100 years, community support has allowed the Institute to welcome newcomers and support their integration into New England Communities.

Please consider making a selfless gift today to the Institute to help invest in the future of inclusive, diverse, and thriving New England communities.

This holiday season, may selflessness bring peace and joy to your heart and your home!


Photo Credit: “Happy Holidays!” by Shutter Fotos (CC BY-SA 2.0)



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