Yesterday was Giving Tuesday, a yearly event started by the 92nd Street Y cultural center in New York City, designed to celebrate and support the idea of making charitable donations of time and resources during the holiday season. In the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are focused primarily on consumerism, Giving Tuesday focuses on ways in which we can give back to our communities to bring about positive change in the world. But there’s no need to limit our charitable efforts to a single day; kindness and generosity should be perennial acts. And as writers, here are some ways in which we can harness our love and passion for the written word to improve the lives of those around us.
- Participate in literacy programs. According to RIF, “ninety-three million adults in the United States read at or below the level needed to contribute successfully to society,” and literacy is strongly linked to socioeconomic background. There are several organizations in our community devoted to improving these statistics by helping both adults and children from all walks of life increase their reading skills. READ San Diego and Words Alive are always on the lookout for literacy tutors and other program assistants. (Coincidentally, these are two charities to which we’ll be donating proceeds from last month’s Literacy Bash fundraiser!)
- Lend a hand at the library. Our public library exists to provide our community with so many wonderful, free programs and resources: classes, workshops, and let’s not forget the treasure trove of books to borrow. As a result, they’re always in need of assistance, be it in the form of volunteers or financial support. Locally, the San Diego Public Library Foundation website has information on how you can make donations of both time and money.
- Give books. You can donate your gently used books to your local library or to Better World Books, who resells donations to raise money to benefit literacy and libraries. You can also encourage reading by giving books to your friends and family as holiday presents. And finally, if you have a Twitter account, use the hashtag #giveabook until December 24th, and Penguin Random House will donate a book to the literacy nonprofit First Book, which provides new books to children in need.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. What about you – what are some of your favorite ways to use your love of reading and writing to help uplift our community?