One of my longtime New Year Resolutions is to give back out of gratitude for all that I have and all that I am. This resolution lends itself to a joyful, purpose-driven existence. If I am having a challenging day, I reach for my gratitude resolution and it usually gives me a boost. On great days, giving back is the cherry on top of the sundae.
Each year I choose a cause, or multiple causes, to support by volunteering or making charitable contributions. I have walked 60 miles three Follow this link to more photos. times in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, raised more than $10,000 overall, and donated countless hours of my time and expertise by volunteering three years as Camp Services Captain and Camp Services Coach (2008-2012). Participating in the 3-Day is my way of doing something meaningful to help dear friends who are survivors of breast cancer. Along the way I have made wonderful memories and forged friendships that are priceless.
Another cause that I continue support is protection and preservation of the planet: I work to combat global warming by reducing my Carbon Footprint (I recycle, reuse and reduce). I also engage in 'Premeditated Acts of Kindness' and I support various animal welfare organizations such as the Eagle Hill Equine Rescue in Virginia where I volunteer. In 2015, on Saturdays, I had the great pleasure of grooming my buddy Teddy, a 30+ year old former race track horse.
My annual decision on which causes to support - and in turn my commitment to give back - is a joy to fulfill. Public service is a vocation and an avocation. I thrive on working with others to make this planet a better place . . . and quite frankly, it just feels good to team up with like-minded, passionate folks on great causes that make a difference.
My charitable fundraising priority in 2015-2017+ is to raise money and awareness for the The Fluffball Foundation, which was created by Actress and Animal Welfare Activist Emmanuelle Vaugier. Follow this link to more photos. The Fluffball Foundation works to support organizations focused on animal rescue and well being efforts across the United States and internationally through various fundraising efforts. At the 2015 event, I was humbled and pleasantly surprised when Emmanuelle honored me with an award for my advocacy and fundraising activities on behalf of her foundation. In 2016, I was again honored when she and her team published a profile about me, and my advocacy efforts, as well as a profile about my business. When asked about one of my biggest realizations since participating in The Fluffball, my response was heartfelt based on a lifelong passionate desire to make a difference:
"I am reminded every single day of the importance of living a purpose-driven life, giving your all to causes that you believe in, and joining with other like-minded individuals in a journey to make this planet a better place for all living things. It is very fulfilling, at the end of the day, to say, "I was one of us, fighting the good fight to make a difference."
In 2016, The Fluffball was held November 12 at the Little Door in Los Angeles and again supported the The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, a non-profit rescue organization that works to save animals that are victims of extreme abuse. It was another fabulous event and I am looking forward to supporting The Fluffball, again, in 2017.
The Fluffball, this year, is raising funds and awareness for a Los Angeles-based organization that rescues and rehabilitates horses that are neglected, forgotten, or unwanted - Forgotten Horses Rescue, Inc. The 2017 annual event is slated for November 4 at the Lombardi House in Los Angeles.
I firmly believe in putting my money where my mouth is and leading by example - "I match donations to my Fluffball Campaign," so please donate early and often! I have raised and donated more than $13,000 for The Fluffball in 2015, 2016, and 2017 Crowdrise Campaigns and as a 2016-2017 Fluffball Sponsor. I am gratified that my financial support has helped animals in desperate need, but there is so much more to do and so many more to save. To donate to The Fluffball, please visit my 2017 Fluffball Crowdrise Campaign page, or drop by The Fluffball Foundation website.
I share my love of making a difference, not to pat myself on the back, but to inspire others to give back out of gratitude. Causes come in all shapes and sizes. I urge you to open your mind to the possibilities, make a decision to go for it, and follow through with small daily steps. Small steps add up to big results over time . . . and sometimes the results can be truly profound.