By: Christie Dominique Castillo, Career Advancement Program J-1 Intern and Ambassador Scholar

It seems to me that most people are losing the essence and meaning of life. Many of us think that we only live for ourselves, and that we must earn, gain or complete something to determine whether we are successful or not. The standard of happiness seems to depend on what you have or hope to have – instead of realizing that authentic happiness comes from sharing and giving.  It seems that we only care for our own contentment and pleasure. The principle that tends to govern humanity is that ignorance is bliss. We feel that it is hard for us to assist others and that it is easier to take no notice of them. We fail to remember that life itself is for everyone.

Planting trees, coastal clean-ups, and medical and dental missions are a few of the ways to get involved positively in society. However, sometimes we take action because it is required, it is fun, or so we can gain more friends. When this happens, the spirit of the act of giving becomes deserted. At times, we help because of the reward, the satisfaction, or the benefits we accumulate. Sadly, most of us give our time only for those reasons. Yes, we try to clean the air, but as we do so, we pollute our souls.

Volunteerism, or sharing what you have with others, is an act of love and mercy. It is a burning desire and passion. Being a volunteer means giving the best that you can without expecting anything in return. It is working from heart to hand, and it means nothing when you are the only one benefiting. You must take charge and do something to fulfill other’s needs. For me, I do not give to receive, but I give because I know how it feels to be emptied, rejected, and neglected. Giving someone attention and what you already have means a lot to them, and I believe that there is no greater gift than giving. Everything you opt to share is appreciated. You do not lose any time, effort, or garment by giving, but you send a message to others that this can be a solution to any societal problem.

There is a scarcity of those who have a big heart to help others. The happiness that money and material things bring barely lasts. Yet there is deep joy every time we hear a ‘thank you’ and our hearts are warmed by seeing the gratitude in other’s eyes.

I invite you all to give yourselves to others, share a moment, and take a leap. I am sure that you will find the true enjoyment that your heart has wanted. The abundance we have and the bounty we possess are nothing when we don’t hear the wail and need of society. Give to others, and you will see what a difference you can make

Are you ready to make a positive difference in society? Take a look at Greenheart Exchange’s programs to see how you can take the first steps in getting involved!