Unified Caring Association (UCA) strives to continue promoting caring around the world. But how can someone start performing caring acts? One of the best ways is to start close to home. Help out at a local food bank or shelter or donate clothing or personal care items to those in need. UCA did just this in our local community where our headquarters are located.
UCA jumped into action when we learned about an urgent need for supplies at Great Northern Services (GNS). GNS serves about 10,000 lunches over the summer months to school aged children up to the age of 18 years old. GNS sponsors the USDA Summer Food Service Program donates bag lunches during the work week (Monday-Friday) in the summer months of June, July and August with no cost to the children’s families that receive the lunches.
Supplies that were needed included kitchen utensils, pots, food containers and lunch bags for every child and every lunch all summer long. These supplies were needed by the teams to put the lunches together and deliver them to the kids. We are happy to report that smiles were on everyone’s faces as the lunches were served up. It was a huge pleasure to help support the caring efforts provided by GNS and the USDA Food Service Program to serve up nutritious meals in the community of Siskiyou county. We continue sending our best wishes to all of the teams and every child they serve!
Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association and keep up to date on UCA’s caring acts? Check out our blogs on UCA, Caring Action, and Caring the UCA Way! Other ways to keep up with UCA activities are on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!
Have you ever felt so good after helping someone else? If so you are not alone! There are so many ways to volunteer your time and skills to help others while giving yourself the gift of self-care. Unified Caring Association (UCA) gives more than three cheers for volunteers.
Volunteering does more than we often think!
When we give our time and knowledge through volunteering we feel a ‘helper’s high’. This phrase was coined by Allen Luks. He defines this as “…the sense of euphoria that can be experienced soon after helping someone else.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) During this ‘high’ there are two phases. The strongest is the first phase. This phase is characterized by an uplifting and euphoric mood. This is followed by phase two where there is a longer lasting sense of calm. This is almost like taking three big, quick breaths for the mind! What is most interesting is that “..the greatest effect (the high) was observed in helping strangers.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) As when we talk about meditation and or mindfulness activities we see a reduced risk in depression. We infer that the same positive effects happen during volunteering activities as those of meditation and or grounding yourself in nature.
How else can volunteering help us?
Along with creating a healthy, caring social network “…volunteerism was associated with a markedly lower risk of dying. Depending on the study, the decrease in death rates ranged between 20 to 60%.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM) This lower risk of dying can be linked to how those who volunteer take care of their own personal health. Often times those who volunteer make a larger effort to take care of their well-being. An example is regular preventive care visits to their doctor.
Sharing caring through connection
When we are volunteering we are likely exerting “…its positive health effects by connecting people to others and to an activity that they find meaningful. Achieving connection, purpose, and meaning is critical to attenuating stressors of life—particularly loneliness. Since stress is a major cause of disease, especially heart disease, the ability to quench the need for connection, purpose, and meaning can bring about beneficial and salutary changes for people. And when there is [a] purpose and we are connected to others, we take care of ourselves.” (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/why-volunteers-live-longer-science-of-kindness/?fbclid=IwAR0xw41uqf5GZK8oyRS6pKCLUzkZgliOe0GTFf0qpNnlfaCOCaDEbnskURM)
When UCA held a recent scholarship contest. One of the questions asked was in regards to if there is one thing you would change in the world, what would it be? We are still moved by one response written. This was by TiAnna Olivas. She writes, “Volunteering not only has a positive impact on the people and organization, it reshapes the way you view life as well. Volunteering provides the opportunity to meet new people, gain new experiences, and make a productive influence on the world around you…I have gained so much from my personal experiences with volunteering. I volunteer with the local pantry and the people there are so kind and have taught me so much. Volunteering with them, I have witnessed how they live an abundant life, filled with making the people around them happy. I strive to be like them, being a light in this dark world. (https://www.unifiedcaring.org/tianna-olivas/)
Unified Caring Association has suggested resources to begin, continue or expand volunteering. One resource is the National Volunteering Caregiving Alliance. Through this network members can connect to about 700 communities throughout the U.S. This network is to help provide volunteer caregivers by connecting community programs and organizations to those in need.
A second resource available for UCA members is access to The Corporation for National and Community Service. This organization plays a key role in supporting the culture of service in the U.S.A. It is here that you can find a volunteering opportunity. There are so many volunteer categories, the sky’s the limit! For example we could search for volunteer opportunities in food banks and soup kitchens, collecting clothing and items in need for the homeless, or spending time assisting the elderly.
In short, volunteering is not only helpful to those you are spending time with, but helpful in our own self-care journey as well. Let’s give many cheers for those of us that spend time volunteering. Thank you for all you do!
Would you like to know more about Unified Caring Association? Check out our blogs on UCA, Caring Action, and Caring the UCA Way! Would you like to keep up with UCA activities? Check us out on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter for updates throughout the week!
Unified Caring Association (UCA) is happy to announce their sponsorship of the 2018 Miles for Maji Event! This caring event is happening on 4/22/2018 – Earth Day – at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, Boston. With their ongoing support of clean water projects, it’s not surprising to see our friends at UCA sponsor caring beyond borders once again!
When the team at Unified Caring Association heard from their non-profit C.A.R.E. partner, Save the Rain, about a wonderful humanitarian initiative that was started by a group of American students, they immediately decided to get involved!
What is Miles for Maji?
In the summer of 2016, a group of 13 high school students traveled to Tanzania on a service trip. While in country the teens learned first-hand about the global water crisis and even had the experience of walking for water with Tanzanian villagers. As they walked, they learned that each school day across Tanzania, children have to leave their classrooms to walk for hours to collect water … and the water is not even clean! The students reflected on the hardship of the Tanzanian students. They realized how lucky they were to not have to forfeit hours of their education each day. They thought about the waterborne illnesses their Tanzanian friends had to deal with. As a result, they decided to do something impactful to create a difference for those living in water starved communities. So, they formed a group called Miles for Maji – “maji” is the Swahili word for water – with the purpose of raising funds to provide clean drinking water to an entire Tanzanian village.
Where does UCA come in?
With the support and corporate sponsorship of Unified Caring Association, the Miles for Maji students created walking and running fundraising events in West Palm Beach, San Diego and Boston that took place on Earth Day, April 22, 2017. One UCA team member created an online “remote participation” option for the event giving others the opportunity to do their own “walk for water.” It created a wave of awareness and fundraising activity across the country! The 2017 event raised over $15,000 toward their goal!
UCA team member, Christine Greenberg stated, “It was a pleasure for all of us at Unified Caring Association to sponsor such a wonderful act of global citizenship. With the support of UCA, all money raised by the Miles for Maji events will go directly to fund the creation of a clean water solution for a village in need. Our CARE partner, the non-profit Save the Rain, will use the funds to provide clean drinking water to the village of Makiba, in Tanzania. Currently the primary school in Makiba has 1,100 students. Their walk for water is 6 hours long with 70% of the students suffering from waterborne illnesses and 53% failing school because of these challenges. Unified Caring Association is completely delighted to support the beautiful demonstration of caring beyond borders that the Miles for Maji project demonstrates. This is truly caring in action!”
How can I get involved?
On Earth Day 4/22/2018, Cate Brown, Miles for Maji founder, will be hosting her second annual Miles for Maji mile walk and 5k race at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, Boston. The goal of providing the village of Makiba with clean drinking water is clearly within reach! Unified Caring Association is proud to sponsor this amazing event once again. We wish Cate and the village of Makiba every success, and encourage everyone to participate or donate to this very worthy cause. To join the Miles for Maji effort to provide clean water to Makiba, please visit the Miles for Maji website.
Thanks to Miles for Maji and Save the Rain for their caring example in our world!