For a good part of my life, I’ve been a bit of a rogue â€” not always living the best, healthiest, most responsible life. But I feel like I’ve turned myself around, gotten my personal life and career together, and I love what I do. Along with this contentment has come an increasing desire to give back to others.
Last January, I took part in the Hope for Haiti telethon that George Clooney organized, and I was overwhelmed at the love and support that came in from across America and around the world. It was a great experience, but what touched me even more was how thankful and appreciative the donors were to me â€” even though they were the ones calling in and donating money. Even now, three months after the earthquake, there’s still so much that needs to be done for the people of Haiti. I’m heading there this month with the non-profit http://www.artistsforpeaceandjustice.com]Artists for Peace and Justice. The organization’s immediate goal is to build schools to serve the poorest areas of Haiti. I’m sponsoring a school down there for five years. Now, I’m fortunate to make a bit of money, but I want you to know that you don’t have to sponsor an entire school.
Every contribution makes a difference. Along with my support of Haiti, I’ve had a long-standing involvement with the charity http://www.powerpeacepurpose.com]Kids Kicking Cancer. Started by Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg â€” a martial arts black belt who lost his first child to leukemia â€” KKC teaches kids with cancer or cancer-related illnesses the healing, mind-body themes of martial arts training. They learn methods of relaxation, meditation, pain management, deep breathing and karate â€” all of which provide them with a sense of purpose, teamwork and unity. The children I meet as part of my work with KKC are such an inspiration to me. I get so much more back from these kids than I give. The power, the strength and the sheer joy in these kids â€” many fighting for their lives and in chronic pain â€” is incredible.
If I’m being honest, I have to say I’m a bit of latecomer to the world of giving back. It’s mostly come since I started acting.
With an increased profile, I was approached to support various causes. I used to think “why me?” but then I realized that lending my support to an important cause can raise its visibility and hopefully encourage others to support it, too. We all have a voice and the ability to make a contribution â€” whether financially or through volunteering.
Please consider helping our neighbors in Haiti, teaming with the amazing young people in KKC or doing something in your own community. Sharing your time and resources with others is an incredible gift â€” for them and for you.
Truitt writes for USA WEEKEND.