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Spotlight: Thinking thankful -- Giving back to the community

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, you may find yourself reflecting on what you’re grateful for, who you’re grateful to, and what you can do to show that gratitude.
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As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, you may find yourself reflecting on what you’re grateful for, who you’re grateful to, and what you can do to show that gratitude.

In fact, showing gratitude can boost happiness, as research shows it helps you feel positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve your health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

You can show gratitude by giving back to your community, said Glen Riggs, a Realtor with Elation Real Estate.

“When thinking about giving to the community, the first thing that people usually think about is to make monetary donations, but there is so much more to giving than just donations,” he said.

Volunteer with a nonprofit

Donating your time will support community organizations that can’t exist without volunteers.

“So many organizations are just looking for your time and expertise,” Riggs said. “I am the president for Tri-Valley Theatre Company, and we love donations, but a typical main stage musical requires hundreds of volunteer hours. Most of the positions do not require any special skills, just a willingness to learn and be around amazing people.”

Other potential places to volunteer in the Tri-Valley area include food banks, meal delivery services and the Valley Humane Society.

Spend time with older adults

Older adults whose loved ones don’t live nearby or who have health problems that restrict their mobility and travel opportunities may feel particularly lonely during the winter holiday season. Visiting them is a great way to show respect for older generations and the people who care for them.

“Consider giving some time to the seniors in our community,” Riggs said. “Check in with local senior centers on how you can help by driving someone to their doctor’s appointment. In many cases, the senior services are just looking for someone to spend a few hours with someone so that their caregiver can get a few hours to run errands or have lunch with a friend.”

Support children and their families

Supporting young people in the community is a cause close to Riggs’ heart.

“We adopted our son from foster care, which has opened up a world to us that we didn’t even know existed,” he said. “Usually, holidays provide support for families and children in foster care through giving tree events or sponsored toys events.”

You may find a giving tree at a grocery store, school or community center. It will usually have ornaments that list needs and wants for a local child who might not receive gifts otherwise.

You can also find ways to help in every season.

“Don’t forget about these families and children in need at other times of the year,” Riggs said. “Look for back-to-school drives, personal care drives, coat donation opportunities and more. Feel free to reach out to an organization that you would like to support and ask what they might need.”

Perform small acts of kindness

Showing that you care doesn’t have to require a lot of money or planning. It can be as simple as showing kindness with words or acts throughout your day, picking up trash in your community and saying thank you to friends and family.

“I am always searching for ways that I can give back to the community,” Riggs said. “We are so fortunate to live in such an amazing area with so much support.”

Glen Riggs is an agent at Elation Real Estate, which offers a “boutique feel with world-class results” with a team exceeding more than 30 years buying and selling homes in the Tri-Valley. Glen guides new and experienced home buyers and sellers through every step of the process.

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