The Act of Giving (and Receiving)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and the time to cherish our loved ones’ fellowship, enjoy an extended restful weekend, and of course to taste-test every delicious dish until you are stuffed. During the festivity you may be asked, “what are you thankful for?”. If you’re like me your mind will go blank in a heartbeat despite being asked every year. But after a bit, we all realize that there are so many reasons to be grateful on Thanksgiving.

One way to help remember is to brainstorm three blessings that have made your life easier this year. Going further, after you’ve put some thought to it, I challenge you to act so that at least one of your blessings can bless someone else who may not be able to share the same sentiment right now.

Here at Workforce Solutions, we believe that volunteering can be the greatest opportunity to give back to your community. Organizations throughout the Gulf Coast region are hosting events that need a helping hand; which can uplift your community in many ways. Now before registering at the first event you find on the internet, consider volunteering for an event that will — without seeming selfish— help you in the future. This is a prime moment to sharpen your hard and soft skills for your career:

For instance, if you are someone who has little or no work history, you may include volunteering as a section of your resume. The energy and time you spend helping your community is an opportunity for you to exhibit initiative, dedication, and work experience to employers.

If you are a high school student, consider that colleges and organizations offering scholarships aren’t solely interested in your academic success; they are also impressed by your extracurricular activities as well. Volunteering on Thanksgiving will help create teachable memories you can include in those essays demonstrating that you are an accomplished student deserving of college acceptance and scholarship recipient letters.

Volunteering can also help with improving skills you may feel that you are lacking. For example, you may be looking forward to sharpening your leadership skills because you are aiming for a promotion in management. Leading a team of individuals during a Thanksgiving event will certainly show others your leadership ability. If you find that communicating with your peers is an obstacle for you, dedicating some time to the event of your choice will help you get out of your comfort zone, practice your interpersonal skills, collaborate with others, and also help you make new contacts along the way. Networking is imperative if you wish to be at the top of today’s competitive job market. Skills enhanced through volunteering are problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, time-management and many more! Once you’re done you can even take a selfie and share your positive experience on your social media for employers past and present as well as future key contacts!

Whether through turkey drives, serving food at shelters, or running a 10k for a cause, keep your purpose in mind and how you will bless others and yourself. All these opportunities to give back to your community this Thanksgiving will, in turn, give back to you in many ways what your superiors are looking for in prospective candidates. Lastly, volunteering this Thanksgiving will hopefully spark your interest to help at other annual events for the rest of your life.

May you all have a cheerful Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

Omar Martinez is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston Region. Prior to joining the team, Omar served as a resource specialist helping customers get back into the workforce by reviewing current labor market information, job-readiness skills, and community resources. Omar’s continued driving force is to help customers get a job, keep a job, or get a better job by conducting job skills seminars throughout the 13 counties of the Gulf Coast region. He holds a B.S. in Psychology and a Minor in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Houston.

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