'Tis the Season for Giving...and Volunteering

Thursday, December 18, 2008 | 10:36 AM


The holidays bring much joy, but this year, they may also bring uncertainty for those feeling the affects of this economic downturn. Wallets are a little tighter this year, so it's important to remember that there are other ways to ‘give’ without getting a large credit card bill come January.

For me, working with Google Grants gives me the chance to see firsthand that many organizations, like yours, are doing great things for our world by giving attention to those in need. Each day, you encourage people to give what they can to help those less fortunate, which is an ideal that many of us remember during the holidays, but something you all act upon year round.

I have been a volunteer with the Google Grants program since October 2007, helping with application reviews, activating grantee accounts and alerting organizations of their acceptance into the Google Grants program. Beyond the Grants program, I have volunteered in a local elementary school's first grade classroom to help promote workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Last Christmas, I volunteered along side other Googlers wrapping and sorting gifts for underprivileged children, and will do the same this year. During my time as a student at Vanderbilt University, I volunteered weekly in a preschool classroom in a low-income area of Nashville, TN. All of these activities were valuable and rewarding experiences that didn't come with a hefty bill, but rather, enabled me to give something back to the organization, their constituents and the community.

Based on my experiences, this was proof that the gift of time can be a meaningful and valuable one.

Working with Google Grants gives me the opportunity to see that one thing has remained the same despite the economic downturn: People are still helping people. People are still doing great things. All of you are working hard to make the world a better place, and that is the true spirit of the season.