What does “living with purpose” mean to me? Simply sharing a smile, giving a compliment when someone least expects it, contributing to the planning of a new initiative which will fill vital community needs, and/or rolling up my sleeves to serve others are all ways that I choose to “live with purpose” on a daily basis. The magnitude of the purpose is not my driver—making a difference for someone else motivates me regardless of significance. “Helping others” continues to surface as one of my personal core values and for me, is nearly synonymous with “living with purpose.” I love choosing to spend my time helping others to reach their full potential and goals, connecting others to help others (grammatically odd, yet I love facilitating others’ efforts to help others through Jewish Volunteer Connection and traditional networking), or just helping others myself. Since I choose to live with purpose, I repeatedly realize that while I often might be perceived to be “the helper”, I so often receive more than I give and am helped in the process--I gain a different perspective, learn something new, or find myself with enhanced gratitude. While “receiving more than giving” could be viewed as an over-used expression, for me, it is hardly trite. The fulfillment that I experience from living with purpose fuels my motivation and passion to continue living purposefully and to create more opportunities for others to do so in ways that are meaningful to them and the beneficiaries of their purposeful lives.
My grandmother always said, "when you give, you get." When I volunteer with Bookworms at John Eager Howard, I get to share my love of reading. I get smiles, laughs, and even hugs from the kindergartners. A 2003 study showed that children from high-income families are exposed to 30 million more words than children from families on welfare. In just one hour per month, I get to expose the children I read with to more books, more words, and a wider world.