Being in the tech field, I love Cyber Monday. It’s a great day to get some of the things that I’ve needed / wanted throughout the year at a sweet discount. Lately though, I’ve been thinking about the real spirit of Thanksgiving. Typically it’s been all about getting what me and my family needs / wants, but what does that really do for me? Sure, it gets me the material possessions that I want, but give it a few months and I’m left with a new toy or device… with no growth. No spiritual growth and no mark on my community. It almost makes me feel guilty participating because it’s during a time that should be for sharing with friends and family and being grateful for what we have and where we are in life. Well, I consider my community a part of my family and for so long I’ve neglected them.

While working with the YMCA of Catawba Valley, I’ve found out about something I had never heard of before – Giving Tuesday. It’s basically the day after Cyber Monday and it’s geared towards giving people a national day to give a little back to your community instead of focusing on all the “getting”. It’s become a national movement in the United States and I can see why. It’s a wonderful avenue to do a little more than what you would normally and join in with others in donating to an organization or a cause that can do things to help the community you live in.

This will be my first year participating in #GivingTuesday and I’ve decided to donate to the YMCA of Catawba Valley. The are local in my community (and who I work for) and I love all the wonderful things they do for the community. It’s hard somethings to find something or someone to donate to because it’s hard to tell where that money is actually going to. Because I’m working very closely with the Fundraising department I can say first hand that I know exactly where my money is going to be going! All donations on Giving Tuesday (or any donations in general) go towards what they call their “Annual Campaign”. This is what drives their financial assistance program. It provides financial assistance for children, individuals and families for all the programs and services that the YMCA offers. Some of these include a YMCA membership, Childcare, Summer Camp, Swimming Lessons, and a LOT.. LOT of programs at their Teen Center which helps teens gain the life experience, knowledge and friendships to get them fully ready for that transition into adulthood. The Teen Center is probably my favorite offering at the YMCA, and I also volunteer there teaching computer / web design classes to teens in the After School Program (which is also included in the financial assistance program).

The best part? I can say with absolute certainty that 100% of the funds that get donated go towards financial assistance. It doesn’t go to anyone’s salary, to operating procedures, or anything like that.. it’s all to help and benefit the community. You can also verify this by looking at the required financial documentation that they have posted on their website.

Anyways, this is what I’m doing this year and plan on continuing it every year. If you’d like to learn more about #GivingTuesday you can check out the landing page I have set up for the YMCA

But please, don’t feel obligated to donate to the YMCA because of my words.. Especially if you aren’t in this community (Hickory / Conover area)… Because Giving Tuesday is used all over the United States. So, if the YMCA isn’t for you I urge you to look around in your own community for a place that you can feel confident in donating to and make a difference in someone’s life. The national day for #GivingTuesday is December 1st, 2015 and most places start accepting donations at 6AM.

If you’d like more information on Giving Tuesday in general or to find other organizations or causes to donate to, check out their national website:

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