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Volunteer on Independence Day

The Fourth of July is coming up—what are you doing to celebrate? Most people will organize big parties and potlucks, have friends and family over and watch a great fireworks show. What if you could do all that and show your patriotism by giving back? Dedicate yourself to a new way of celebrating Independence Day by volunteering this week. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Give back to veterans—A simple, direct way of honoring the U.S.A. is by thanking soldiers and veterans. There are so many ways to give back: volunteering at the V.A., sending a box of items to troops overseas and writing Thank You letters to soldiers and veterans. This is a simple way to show gratitude and patriotism.

Help a parade—If you have children, you may want to get the kids involved and volunteer for a parade. You’ll be celebrating Independence Day while educating children about the holiday and how to work in a team. Look into building a float or making pinwheels—these are hands-on patriotic projects that are great for a family.

Fundraise for a cause—Maybe you’re already dedicated to a cause other than helping veterans and community parades. You show your patriotism year-round by giving your time and effort to causes that help your community or country, so take the opportunity to host a Fourth of July-themed fundraiser to help your cause.

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Why You Should Laugh More

Children laugh about 300 times a day. The average adult? Only four times a day. As our lives become heavy with responsibilities and serious matters, we forget to simply laugh. That childhood wonder and positivity fades throughout life, but it’s truly important to infuse more laughter throughout the day. Laughing affects our mind and body in beneficial ways. Here are a few reasons why you should laugh more:

Increases creativity—Laughing, like smiling, can trick your mind into feeling relaxed in tense situations. If you’ve been experiencing writer’s block or a brief stunt in creativity, infuse more humor in your work day.

Decreases stress—Studies have shown that laughing reduce levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine and dopamine. Laughing also increases endorphins, infection-fighting antibodies and improves blood flow to the heart.

Enlivens your life—Laughter can help us see life with a glass half full outlook. Laughing frequently enlivens us, increases positive thinking and optimism, as well as making us friendlier.

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Summer Volunteer Ideas

Give back to your community and enjoy your time outside when the sun is shining and weather is nice. Volunteering during the summer is a great way to introduce philanthropy to your kids and get the whole family involved. With minimal effort, you can improve your community, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy nature. Here are three summer volunteering ideas:

Camp counselor—Join in the fun with your kids and participate in summer camp. Many summer camps are always looking for volunteers and counselors. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and give back. Volunteer at your kids’ camp or help out with a different one.

Park cleanup—If you enjoy your time at the park, then give back by participating in a monthly cleanup of community parks. Contact your local parks and recreation organizations to plan a group cleanup.

Marathon fundraisers—Support your favorite organizations by organizing marathon fundraisers in the summer. Invite your friends and family to participate and enjoy the lovely weather while giving back.

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United Nations Public Service Day

Public Service Day, although not widely celebrated, is June 23rd and is a great reminder to give back to your community. According to the United Nations, Public Service Day, “intends to celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community; highlight the contribution of public service in the development process; recognize the work of public servants, and encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector.” Here are just a few ways to celebrate Public Service Day:

Educate—Reach out to a local school to facilitate activities and educate students about United Nations Public Service Day. Host a presentation, organize a poster or essay contest or even take the students to job shadow in the public sector. Teach them the important value of giving back and being a public servant.

Recognize—Shine the light on public servants in your community by thanking them. Send handwritten letters, organize a Public Service Announcement on local radio stations that honor employees or create an event thanking public servants.

Publicize—Educate your community about Public Service Day and recognize public servants by writing an Op-Ed for the local newspaper. The opinion page is a popular page in the newspaper, and many will be enlightened about the United Nations Public Service Day.