Those who serve

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “it is high time that the ideal of success should be replaced with the ideal of service.”

On Remembrance Day, we take time to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of those who have served (and are currently serving) our country. There are those who have given their lives for our freedoms, who were forever changed by what they experienced. There are still many men and women in service, who are putting themselves on the line to make their world, country, and community a better place to live. We also stop to think of the families who have suffered losses and who make sacrifices in order for a loved one to serve in this way. And there are volunteers, and members of the media, who put themselves at risk to help in war zones, and to raise awareness, and to connect people across borders.

It is vitally important that we acknowledge these citizens, not just on this day, but every day. Another important aspect of Remembrance Day is education of youth, “lest we forget” the history that brought us to the world we have today.

One of the things that stands out in Remembrance Day ceremonies is our pride in our country, the quality of life we enjoy, and gratitude for our freedoms and blessings. By being mindful about what was fought for, we allow those gifts to be appreciated and passed on for future generations. In my work at United Way, I really see that our young people are driven by a desire to give back. Their service is a tremendous legacy for the previous generations who served proudly.

Each of us can take action to make our world a better place. As a citizen, you may feel called to go help overseas, or there are ways you can serve in your own neighbourhood or community. Whatever your path, giving back is part of the fullness of life.

As we enter the holiday season with hearts full of gratitude and remembrance, many people feel that they can give more, but aren’t sure how.

Some common ways that people are choosing to serve include:

Random acts of kindness. You might shovel a driveway, or run errands, for a neighbour who is sick or elderly. You could surprise someone with a kind note or phone call. What matters is finding someone who could use a little pick-me-up (couldn’t we all?) and brightening their life.

Sponsor someone. Some people are more fortunate than others, and there are a lot of organizations helping those in need over the holiday season. These organizations include the Kelowna Community Food Bank, Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, Salvation Army, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, St. Vincent de Paul, Seniors Outreach Resource Centre and many others.

You can join one of these movements to pay forward your blessings. A lot of people choose to sponsor a family with children, but did you know you can also sponsor a senior, or provide for the holiday needs of a shelter, or sponsor a teen or adult?

Volunteering. You can search the Kelowna Community Resources volunteer database at and even create your own volunteer profile to receive matches.

Kelowna Community Resources produces the Holiday Events Guide, which includes information about holiday events and ways to give back. This will be available online at or by dropping in to their offices on Dolphin Avenue and Lawrence Avenue in Kelowna. Kelowna Community Resources is a United Way funded Community Partner Agency.

United Way is working to improve our communities worldwide by bringing people together and inspiring action. Find out more at .

From all of us at United Way, thank you to the veterans and families who have changed our world through service, and to all those who continue to give back and move change forward.

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About the Author

The mission of United Way is to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action.

We call this our Community Impact Mission. Community impact is about achieving meaningful, long-term improvements to the quality of life in Canadian communities, by addressing not just the symptoms of problems but also getting at the root causes. It’s about making fundamental changes to community conditions.

United Way is achieving this mission by moving people from poverty to possibility, promoting healthy people and strong communities, and supporting all that kids can be.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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