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INK BLAST | FOR THE NEW YEAR, VOW TO CHANGE OTHERS’ LIVES, NOT YOURS

INK BLAST | FOR THE NEW YEAR, VOW TO CHANGE OTHERS’ LIVES, NOT YOURS

By Juleyka Lantigua
2009 Forget about losing weight, quitting smoking/drinking/spending and every other vice you’ve enjoyed. This year, instead of thinking about yourself when you make your resolutions for 2009, how about thinking about others?

I’m suggesting that you make a commitment to changing other lives besides your own. There are big and small things you can do that could have tremendous impact on one person, a group of people, even your entire neighborhood.  Thinking and acting locally will probably yield quicker and more tangible results (like, ending world hunger vs. volunteering at a soup kitchen).

In no particular order, here are a few ideas that come to mind. Pick just one, and watch what happens. (I’ve provided some websites to get you thinking, without any official endorsement on my behalf.)

• Volunteer in your area of expertise. Lots neighborhood businesses and non-profit organizations need accounting services, legal advice, real estate guidance, grant writing, organizational and IT support.

• Coach a sport you’re good at, for free. [ Find where: www.volunteermatch.org]

• Become a Big Brother/Sister. [Learn more: www.bbbs.org]

• Cook one meal a week for an elderly neighbor. [Free recipes: www.epicurious.com]

• Help your parents/siblings/aunties/cousins with the US citizenship paperwork/test. [Official site: www.uscis.gov]

• Set up Skype between your parents and their parents back in the home country. (Seriously consider including a webcam. Just makes the whole experience that much cooler.) [Visit: www.skype.com]

• Treat your parents to a movie date on you once a month. [If you have AAA, you can buy discounted movie passes packs of 10. www.aaa.com.]

• Tithe to your church. You read that right. I’m suggesting you give 10% of your after taxes take-home income to your church. [Tithe online: www.easytithe.com]

• Help your college-age sibling/cousin/niece/godchild open a Roth IRA, and cover the initial monthly investment (typically $50/month) until they graduate and start working.

• Teach a skills class at the local adult learning center or through church-sponsored program.

• Babysit once a month for your overworked and under-romanced married friends with a kid or two or four. [wwwresources.kaboose.com]

Happy New Year.

"Juleyka Lantigua is a journalist and editor whose work appears in national newspapers and magazines. For more info visit: www.juleykalantigua.com."

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