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How to Get Involved on Memorial Day

Today we celebrate Memorial Day. This day is so much more than a time for vacations, barbecues or beach days. Memorial Day is a chance to commemorate our U.S. veterans and everything they have done for this nation.

This Memorial Day, we remember and honor the men and women who have served our country’s armed forces—specifically those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. If you want to do more to give back this Memorial Day, check out these ideas to see how you can get involved.

Volunteer at a veterans cemetery.
Honor fallen heros by using today as an opportunity to thank them for their service. Check in your community to see if there are any local veterans’ cemeteries who are in need of service or upkeep. Some cemeteries have volunteering opportunities that include giving tours, helping with maintenance, raising and lowering flags or even groundskeeping. Use today as a chance to honor those who gave it all by keeping their resting place in the best condition.

Decorate a memorial site.
Along with volunteering and upkeep, you can also decorate veterans’ memorial sites. Show your gratitude by setting American flags, flowers or other decorations on otherwise bare sites. If you really want to make a day out of it, get friends or family involved so you can split up the cemetery and make sure every headstone has a decoration.

Send the troops a care package.
For the military men and women who are still serving in and outside of the United States, consider putting together a care package to thank them for their service. Things to consider including: a handwritten letter, an arts and crafts piece, snacks, candy, pain relievers, toothpaste, pen and paper, books and especially some uniquely American goodies.

You’ll be able to brighten a military man or woman’s day, and the troops who receive the care package will definitely feel the appreciation, no matter how far away they are.

Support a Memorial Day charity run.
Many nonprofit organizations offer charity runs in support of Memorial Day and other veterans’ programs. Check to see if there are any events going on in your neighborhood and consider getting involved. You could sign up to run, serve as a volunteer or even stand on the sideline and cheer people on to boost morale. However you get involved, your contribution will help make for a valuable Memorial Day.

Donate to a veterans’ cause.
Finally, if you want to help give back this Memorial Day, look into local and national veterans’ causes to see how you can contribute through your time or donations. Whether it’s donating an old cell phone to help troops abroad call home, volunteering at a local home for veterans or supporting a homeless veteran meals program, your gift can make a world of difference in the lives of those who have given so much for our country.

Today and every day, we honor the men and women who have served our country boldly and made the ultimate sacrifice. Live an altruistic life and make this Memorial Day about more than the barbecues or beach by giving back to these heroes.

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4 Ways to Give Back at Work

The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. That’s 90,000 hours of answering calls, working with clients and furthering a company’s mission. For those interested in living an altruistic life, this is an opportunity to reach and make a difference in the community.

No matter what your job is, it’s an chance to connect and come together. If you want to use your work for others, check out four ways you can give back at work.

1. Donate your skills.
Wherever you work, you have a valuable skill set that many nonprofit or do-good organizations could potentially use. One helpful way to get involved is to donate your time, talents and skills to an organization that helps improve the community.

For example, if you have experience working in a technical field, you could help a nonprofit set up their website. Or, if you consider yourself a handy person, perhaps donate your talents to building necessary equipment for a cause. Your skills are valuable, and can truly help an organization that may have a limited budget. Reach out to community members near you and see how you can give back.

2. Build a partnership.
Another way to support the community through your workplace is building a partnership with a local group or cause. Partnerships don’t have to be entirely financial; they can also focus on mutual goods or benefits for each other. Talk with your employer and offer up some of the value that comes from supporting community groups.

For example, consider having your place of employment sponsor a children’s sports team, or host a nonprofit organization at your headquarters. The options are limitless when it comes to building up a partnership and growing the community closer together.

3. Get a group together.
If your workplace is unable to create a partnership, try getting a smaller group of employees together to work on projects for the community. If you’re interested in giving back through your work, chances are that other team members are as well.

Ask around to see who wants to get involved, then go out and make an impact! Volunteer with a local project, collect goods for a nonprofit organization or donate to a cause. Even simple group activities like charity runs can have a huge impact. No matter what you decide, there’s power in working together.

4. Propose a volunteer day.
Finally, if you really want to get your workplace involved in giving back, propose an all-team volunteer day. Choose a local cause or organization you care about and see how you can get involved for a day. Make T-shirts, carpool and have some fun with it! You may be surprised at how much volunteering can really bring your team together.

Work takes up the majority of our lives, so why not use it to help serve others? No matter where you work or what you do, there’s always a way to give back and give to others through your efforts. Try out some of these methods and see how much of an impact you can make.

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Celebrating Peace Officers Memorial Day

Happy May 15th! In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed this day as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the week in which it falls to be National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress, National Police Week pays special recognition to local, State and Federal law enforcement officers—particularly those who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

On this day, flags are flown at half-staff in memory of the officers who have fallen in the line of duty. Organizations such as the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), Fraternal Order of Police/Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary (FOP/FOPA) and Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) come together to commemorate this week and honor the officers.

How can you celebrate Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week and pay homage to officers around the country? Here are some ideas to get started.

1. Thank your local police station.
One simple way to recognize Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week is to thank your local police station. This can be anything from drafting an email, writing a Facebook post or stopping by the station.

Put together a basket of goodies for the officers to enjoy, or, if you have children, have them write handwritten notes thanking the officers for their service. In an often thankless profession, this is a great opportunity to give officers valuable gratitude.

2. Recognize their service.
According to COPS, about 140-160 officers are killed while on duty each year. Today, FOPA will organize the 36th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. The event often draws thousands of people from all over the U.S. who come to recognize the service of the nation’s officers.

It will be followed by the placement of a memorial wreath at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial wall, which features the names of more than 19,000 law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

While it can be pretty difficult to travel all the way to Washington, D.C., you can still recognize the service of officers past and present. Take some time today to share the occasion with your loved ones, learn about the value of the police force or even get to know an officer. The more we understand and share in the significance of peace officers, the more we can appreciate their service for public safety.

3. Use #PeaceOfficersMemorialDay.
Finally, share the news about Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week by posting about it on social media with the hashtags #PeaceOfficersMemorialDay and #NationalPoliceWeek. This will continue to help get the word out about this day and encourage others to get involved. Officers themselves will even be able to see these hashtags and feel the appreciation all across the country.

Today, live an altruistic life by celebrating Peace Officers Memorial Day and continue this week by commemorating National Police Week. Together, we can recognize the officers who have given their lives in service of others, and come together as one in conversation of how to best serve the world.

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The Power of Storytelling in Living a Full Life

For centuries, humans have used storytelling as a means of communication, connecting and relationship-building. We create our lives and the world around us through the stories we tell with each other, and what they mean to us.

Living a full and altruistic life is about more than just doing your best. It’s about sharing your best with others around you, and connecting with them through our inherent need to tell stories. Storytelling is powerful, and it has enormous benefits in store for you and those around you. Today we’re going to talk about how storytelling can impact your life.

What is storytelling?
This may seem like a simple question, but in today’s world of split-second infographics and 30-second videos, storytelling can actually be a difficult thing to define. Storytelling can be as simple as reading a book, to as complicated as creating your own elaborate tale. Storytelling is exactly as it sounds: it tells a story that has meaning, insight, value or even just good-natured humor. Storytelling has many different forms and uses, which we’re going to talk about next.

Where is storytelling useful?
Storytelling is useful for anything from putting your children to bed to selling a product or establishing a political campaign. Think of how much of our lives are told through stories: movies, books, commercials, music, friendships, family, even social media is full of different stories people share on their pages. Storytelling is useful in virtually every avenue of our lives, and builds up a life rich with connections and relationships.

How does storytelling build understanding?
Storytelling builds understanding because it promotes connections between various people and cultures. Through storytelling, we learn compassion, empathy, tolerance and respect. We feel connected to the protagonist of the story because we see his or her point of view. Once this is established, we start to understand their feelings, thoughts or emotions, and how society may impact them differently. This is why storytelling from different perspectives is so powerful and necessary. When we see and tell stories of other people from other situations, we link together across cultures and share in our mutual experiences.

How does storytelling impact intelligence?
Telling and listening to stories benefits our mental and emotional intelligence in a variety of ways. Mentally, the connection between storytelling and literacy has been well established. Our vocabulary, comprehension, sequencing skills, memory and creativity all grow when we tell stories. It can also significantly improve our listening and focus skills by tuning into specific details. Finally, storytelling stretches our imagination, encouraging us to delve into different ways of thinking.

Storytelling also improves our emotional intelligence by teaching us how to experience different emotions. We can personally learn about fear, heroism, love, hate, compassion, sorrow, grief and joy all from one story. For those struggling to express or understand their own emotions, storytelling within their own lives—journaling, blogging, video recording, etc.—can help process through these challenges.

In living an altruistic life, storytelling is powerful in learning about those in need and how best to help them. When we tell our own stories and listen to those around us, we unconsciously create connections and build more meaningful lives. Try telling your story this week, and see how your life is benefitted.

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Brain Injury Services Names Denise Hyater-Lindenmuth as New Executive Director

Brain Injury Services, a community-based nonprofit headquartered in Springfield, VA, has selected Denise Hyater-Lindenmuth as the new Executive Director to replace outgoing Executive Director Karen Brown. Ms. Brown has served as Executive Director since 1999 having previously served as the Director of Programs since 1996. This will be the third Executive Director selected to serve in the last 28 years since the organization’s inception. The Chair of Brain Injury Services Board of Directors Rick Ferraro stated, “The warm and effective working relationship that I have watched quickly blossom between Denise and Karen and the whole BIS team shows that this will be a smooth transition of leadership.”

Ms. Hyater-Lindenmuth has significant experience with non-profit leadership as well as serving as Chief Development Officer of an organization serving individuals with disabilities. She brings over 20 years of strategic communications, operational management and fundraising experience to the Board. As a thought leader and consultant in non-profit and for-profit enterprises, she is skilled and highly valued for innovating and executing initiatives that resulted in exceptional team engagement and financial sustainability.

Over her career, Ms. Hyater-Lindenmuth has raised more than $60 million dollars, managed over 100 staff, mentored many and rallied thousands of volunteers to advocate mission. Recently Ms. Hyater-Lindenmuth completed her MBA at The George Washington University where she focused on financial management and organizational development. Ms. Hyater-Lindenmuth received a master’s degree from Trinity Washington University in Health Education and her bachelor’s degree at Howard University in Public Relations, and is conversational in Spanish and Portuguese languages. She lives Washington, D.C., with her husband Philip and has three children.

After serving as the Executive Director during the organization’s “growth spurt”, Karen Brown reflected, “I am very pleased that our Board was able to find such a well-qualified individual that can further our mission and continue the quality and services that we provide. Her knowledge, experience and skill set will certainly help Brain Injury Services through the next stages of organizational development” Ms. Hyater will officially begin working on May 1st, 2017 with Ms. Brown who will formally retire on June 30th, 2017.

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How to Grow Altruism This May Day

Happy May Day! Today marks the beginning of a beautiful month full of sunshine, flowers and a fresh new start to summer. May is a busy time of year, filled with graduations, weddings and other spring events, but May Day itself is a historic holiday that celebrates the beginning of spring with festivals and fiestas.

Today can even be an opportunity to plant the seed of altruism. If you want to make your May Day meaningful, check out these ideas for how to share the gift of altruism today.

Give out May Day baskets.
Of course, the easiest way to give this May Day is by handing out May Day baskets! This can be a fun activity to do together with a child for his or her friends, or even as an adult. You may even hand out a few in the workplace.

Get crafty and try out some new ideas, from paper baskets all the way to full-on handmade. Fill them up with goodies and treats to surprise the recipients, then get to giving. May Day is fun for both giving and receiving baskets, so start out your summer with an altruistic step.

Send May Day warm fuzzies.
If baskets aren’t a good fit for your May Day festivities, consider giving others the gift of warm fuzzies. Everyone loves kind, thoughtful words to make them feel appreciated.

Give your friends, family members and coworkers notes or cards with warm fuzzies written on them, and see how much joy they bring. If you really want to get in on the fun, try using some funky paper or folding creatively for a colorfully cool fuzzy.

Plant May Day flowers for the future.
What’s one of the best parts of May? The flowers, of course! You can give back this May Day by planting flowers and other types of greenery for the future, including fruits, vegetables and even trees. Whether you work on your own garden, help out a friend or even a community area, you can grow flowers for tomorrow by planting the seeds today.

Volunteer at May Day events.
Lots of nonprofit and even for-profit organizations will have fundraising events this month to celebrate the bright spring weather. Check in your neighborhood to see what organizations you care about are doing and get involved.

Volunteers are a vital part of the success of any nonprofit, and you can help join that by running an event, collecting summer items or helping to raise money. Start your summer off altruistically with a fun volunteering experience.

Donate in the name of May Day.
Finally, celebrate giving this May Day by donating what you can to a local cause you care about. Whether it’s finances, gently used items or even your time, your donation makes a difference in starting the summer off for nonprofits. See where the greatest need is and start giving.

This May Day, live altruistically. Whether you make one person’s day or contribute to an entire group of people, your contribution makes a difference in building a brighter spring and even better world.