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Today I’d like to talk about a topic very close to my heart. Giving back. Everyone of us is in a position to give something back. I consider myself to be a lucky girl. My mom was a 22 year old student when I was born. Being a single mother in Russia, working part time while also finishing her degree, I cannot imagine how she was able to take care of a small child and bring me up as she did. Visiting my aunt in Germany she met my father and the two of them fell deeply in love. We moved to Germany and they got married when I was 4 years old. Ever since I had all the educational opportunities I could wish for. I graduated from high-school, I made it to university, I even studied abroad in Shanghai for a semester, I got my bachelors degree in economics and East Asian studies and currently I am writing my master thesis in a field I thoroughly enjoy to work in. I can afford living in my own flat – it isn’t the best neighborhood and also not the most beautiful house, but it’s my own. And I am going abroad again for my last semester starting in January.

Becoming active and giving back was always something I wanted to do, though felt like I don’t have the time or money for. I guess these are the most common excuses. But if you take a look around you will notice that there are a lot of organizations which search for volunteers with as little time as 1-4 hours per week and are aware of the busy time schedule you might have. Since I joined the local LEO club two years ago, I got to know so many local social organizations with great causes that always search for volunteers. May it be the youth development program, which brings students and socially disadvantaged pupils together to encourage them on their future course of education or the local food bank, which gives food to those in need year around. Also while we have a campaign every month it’s never an obligation to join. Those of us who can spare the time do. Mostly we do raise money to forward to a social organization we’d like to support, but often we also support by manpower. Last month we visited a local retirement home and baked wafers for the residents and the month before we collected books which people gave away for free and sold them to support the afore mentioned youth development program.

It doesn’t matter how busy you are, I bet you do have half a day per month to give something back. I suggest you inform yourself about social organizations and programs in your town and find a cause that you would like to support. Get to know the people who you would work with, join one or two activities and most importantly: be open minded.

I hope I could motivate you to commit yourself to a social project. But most likely some of you are already doing some kind of social work: share! I’d love to hear your stories.

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