Day 6 is to do a Charitable Act. Anna in her post this morning says that we don't have to shout to the world whether or not we have performed a charitable act, and we don't have to talk about what we're doing. I will be telling you what I will be doing today. I feel, personally (and this is a very personal thing. I don't expect anyone to agree/do the same), that it's important not to tell you how much I give, but say why I give. A few years ago, an Oxford Professor came out and told the world about his idea of everyone pledging to give 10% of their earnings to charity. As he spoke, as he explained what a difference that would make if all who could do that did it, I was inspired to do so myself. That day I made a pledge to myself that the minute I get a full time job, I would start giving away 10% of what I earn. And so I did.
(I don't intend for the next part to sound at all lectury, I just want to explain who I give to and why. If it does sound lectury, read it in the voice of David Attenborough. That should help)
The first charity I decided to give to once I had a proper grown up job is the University of Leicester. Why would I give money to something that makes millions each year, and to which so many students are paying a fortune in tuition fees to? Well, for one thing, the tuition fees don't even cover teaching and the resources used by students, let alone the building of new facilities or student support. I was also lucky enough to never need help to get through my studies, but many people do. So I give money to student support, in order to help people struggling through sometimes quite horrible situations, both financial and personal. I also gave the rest of my "10%" to the new campaign to extend the disability arts centre the University built in 1997. If anyone is interested in that campaign, the link to support it can be found here: http://www.le.ac.uk/embracearts/about/fundraising.html
I also donate things like clothes and such to charities when I can, and often buy things from charity shops.
Today I will be donating to 4 places.
Firstly, I will be giving to Laura, who's blog is called The Mrs Makes. She's running for Cancer Research UK. Since Corey has lost a few people to cancer this year, and in the past, I'd like to give something back. Plus I find Laura amazing: not only does she run a million miles each week, but she's also part of a rowing team while undertaking a PhD. I feel incredibly lazy...
I will also be giving something to Wikipedia. Because, while not a traditional charity as such, the idea behind it is brilliant. I've used it for years and found it an incredibly useful way to get the background understanding on subjects, it's pretty useful for my job plus it's been the best source of procrastination over the years.
A girl who did my masters with me is off to Honduras to work for a charity next year, so I'll be giving something to her, too. I'm hoping that it'll lead to further NGO work for her in the future.
Finally, every winter, as the nights draw in and the temperature drops, I always think of the homeless who have to sleep in the most inhospitable conditions. I walk around from warm home, to warm shop, then back again, with my mountains of shopping I didn't really need to buy. As I walk past each Big Issue seller, each person begging on the streets, I always feel a pang of guilt. So I'll be giving to Big Issue as well as a homeless shelter.
Why so many people? Sure, I could just give to one place. But every year I go overboard with Christmas presents. This year is no exception, I've spent more than I usually do. So I've decided to go overboard with my Christmas giving (if you can actually go overboard with charitable donations).
As Anna also mentioned in her brilliantly written post this morning, a charitable act doesn't have to be monetarily based. I will try, throughout the rest of Advent (hopefully getting into a good habit for the rest of the time) to think before I speak, to try and be kind to others, and to be a good person, friend and family member. I will try not to judge others, and remember to be patient. When I fail, I will apologise, admit my fault and try and do better next time.