Tag Archives: Girl Scouts of the USA

No contest: Girl Scouts is the BEST leadership organization for girls

From Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts prepares girls for a lifetime of leadership like no other organization. From protecting our national parks to accepting a mission on the International Space Station to lobbying the city council, Girl Scouts is the best-suited organization to offer girls unparalleled opportunities to learn 21st-century skills and empower themselves with the experiences they need to succeed in life.

Access to cutting edge STEM programs and badges that prepare girls with soft skills to excel in the most competitive fields are a few benefits of being a Girl Scout.

“Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development organization for girls,” says Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “We are, and will remain, the first choice for girls and parents who want to provide their girls with opportunities to build new skills; explore STEM and the outdoors; participate in community projects; and grow into happy, successful, and civically engaged adults. We’re dedicated to building that critical STEM workforce pipeline that businesses and communities across the country are looking for. Girls are our country’s greatest untapped resource and are the key to our nation’s competitive advantage in the digital economy we’re living in. They’ll be the drivers and the designers of our industries of the future, filling and creating jobs that don’t even exist yet. And at Girl Scouts, we’re preparing girls for these opportunities.”

Research shows that a girl learns best in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment. Here she can practice different skills; explore her potential; take on leadership positions; and even feel allowed to fail, dust herself off, get up, and try again.

This pro-girl environment is now more important than ever—and the proof is in the research. Compared to their peers, Girl Scouts are more likely than non–Girl Scouts to be leaders because they:

  1. Develop a strong sense of self 
     
  2. Seek challenges and learn from setbacks
  3. Display positive values
  4. Form and maintain healthy relationships
  5. Identify and solve problems in their communities
Girl Scouts is the best leadership organization for girls.

Girl Scout alums continue to make waves across industries, proof that the Girl Scout effect is lasting. In the United States, more than half of female business leaders, 73 percent of current female senators, and all secretaries of state are Girl Scout alums.

There’s no contest: Girl Scouts is unmatched in delivering proven outcomes that set girls up to close the gender gap and position our nation to compete in the global economy.

The Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, is a top-tier credential for girls as they enter their post–high school lives, enabling them to distinguish themselves in the college admissions process, earn college scholarships, and enter the military one rank higher.

Our findings are clear—there has never been a better time to be a Girl Scout. Because when girls succeed, so does society. Invest in Girl Scouts. Change the world.

 

Six camping badges that empower girls through outdoor adventures

From Girl Scouts of the USA

It’s once again time for your girl to check her outdoor gear, restock her daypack, and get ready to spend more time in the great outdoors—like a Girl Scout! Whether she’s having camping adventures with her troop at Girl Scout camp, visiting a National Parkwith her family, or even pitching a tent in her own backyard, there are so many ways to have a Girl Scout adventure. 

Plus, she just might earn a Girl Scout badge or two… 

Daisy Buddy Camper badge: Camping is a great adventure to do outdoors. Here she’ll play in nature, eat outside, and sleep under the stars with her family, friends, or Girl Scout sisters. When she earns this badge, your Daisy will learn how to plan for a camping trip and properly pack her outdoor gear—so she’s always Girl Scout prepared! Earn this badge.

Brownie Cabin Camper badge: When your Brownie earns this badge, it’s a chance for her to spend time in nature and have fun with friends or family. She’ll dive deeper into planning her camping trip, learn how to use camping gear, prepare a delicious meal in the outdoors, and try her hand at a new camping skill! Earn this badge

Junior Eco Camper badge: We already know it’s easy being green when you’re a Girl Scout, and with this badge, your Junior will not only learn the Leave No Trace Seven Principles but also how to apply them! She’ll plan meals with the environment in mind, prepare a minimal-impact campsite, and go on a conservation hike. Having fun and protecting the environment at the same time? We’re in! Earn this badge

Cadette Primitive Camper badge: Primitive camping can be difficult, even for experienced campers, but we know your Girl Scout Cadette is up for the challenge! Through this badge, she’ll step up her outdoor skills—from planning a primitive camping adventure with her troop to gathering the gear she’ll need to succeed. Earn this badge.

Senior Adventure Camper badge: Girl Scouts are natural outdoor adventurers, and whether your Girl Scout Senior likes to kayak, mountain bike, or go rock climbing, why not combine her passion with an overnight camping trip to make the most of her outdoor experience? Adventure camping requires minimal equipment and gear because she’ll be active all day and possibly moving campsites. And thanks to this badge, your girl will know exactly how to prepare for the challenge. Earn this badge

Ambassador Survival Camper badge: Is your girl ready to test her camping skills with minimal supplies? Once she earns this badge, she will be! She’ll learn what it’s really like to go off the grid, survive off the land, and explore the great outdoors with her crew. And she’ll not only be prepared for future adventures outdoors but also be able to share her knowledge with others. Earn this badge.

10 ways to show our planet some love

From Girl Scouts of the USA

We’re Girl Scouts. We know a thing or two about being green!

It’s in our DNA. Our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, was a famous nature enthusiast—and we always encourage everyone to use our planet’s scarce resources wisely, for themselves and for everyone!

On Earth Day—and every day—you can take action to help protect and honor the planet we all call home. There’s only one Earth, but there are so many ways to celebrate it!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Go outside. Nothing says you love Mother Nature like spending some quality time with her! Take a walk. Smell a flower. Listen to the birds. Take photos in a national parkand share your best shots on Instagram and Twitter using #gsoutdoors. Then check out your photos—and others.

2. Recycle. Items made from glass, paper, metal, or plastic can all be recycled into new products instead of clogging our landfills or spoiling the environment. So don’t trash it, recycle it! You’ll help conserve resources, prevent pollution, reduce greenhouse gases, and make the environment healthy for future generations.       

3. Plant a garden. See firsthand how plants develop and thrive. Grow your own flowers, fruits, veggies, a tree, or all of them! You can start from seeds, cuttings, or potted plants. Go ahead—it’s OK to get your hands dirty for a good cause!

4. Say “goodbye” to plastic water bottles. It’s important to stay hydrated, but those disposable plastic water bottles are bad news for our animal friends and the environment. Just switch to a refillable water bottle you can carry with you. It’s healthy, environmentally friendly, and economical. Win, win, and win!

5. Flip the switch on energy use. Turn off lights, computers, televisions, game consoles, and other electronic devices when you’re not using them— simple, but so effective!

6. Go to an Earth Day fair. Find an Earth Day event in your community and go! It’s your chance to learn about environmentally friendly practices, products, and volunteer opportunities. Plus, you just might make new friends who share your interests or pick up a tip or two on how to be more environmentally aware.

7. Use less, reuse more. You can reduce waste by not creating it in the first place. Try to buy reusable items instead of disposable ones. Repair broken things instead of buying new. Do a good deed by donating unwanted clothing, toys, and other items to charity instead of tossing them in the trash.

8. Spark a conversation. Talk to your friends about environmental issues that interest you. Together, you can make a plan to have a positive impact on our planet. Or get in touch with elected officials and community representatives to share your ideas on the environment. Raise your voice and be heard!

9. Conserve water. Did you know that only 1% of the Earth’s water is suitable to drink? So let’s use it wisely. Turn off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth. Take a quick shower instead of filling the bathtub. Be on the lookout for leaks at home and school. We can do this!

10. Organize a cleanup. Get your friends and family together and have some fun cleaning up your local park, beach, school, or playground. After you’re done, have a picnic to celebrate a job well done. 

And that’s just the beginning!

In Girl Scouts, there are plenty of ways to make every day feel like Earth Day! Girls can explore the It’s Your Planet—Love It! Journey—or work toward their Outdoor badges, find an awesome summer camp, or even be part of the Girl Scout Ranger Program in our national parks.

So let’s get out there and make this an Earth Day to remember!

For more information on Girl Scouts and the outdoors, check out the special report, More Than S’mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts’ Outdoor Experiences (PDF).

Girl empowerment through financial literacy: It all adds up

From Girl Scouts of the USA

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute study Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy, girls know they need a solid financial foundation, but few feel confident about their skills. 

Girl Scouts and Toyota Financial Services (TFS) are changing that, through a multiyear partnership developed to help girls become self-reliant, financially informed, and capable of leveraging their talent and business values to make the world a better place. 

Thanks to the partnership, every Girl Scout Junior, Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador can take part in financial-planning activities that let them practice real-life scenarios, like saving for college and building good credit—important stuff! 

One way Girl Scouts and TFS are preparing girls to take charge of their financial education and future is with the TFS “Driving My Financial Future” Tip Sheet—a key resource to help Girl Scouts further strengthen the skills they hone when they earn Financial Literacy badges. These badges can be earned throughout the year and target such practical situations as setting up a budget and engaging in philanthropy.

Efforts like this one build young women’s financial literacy, empowering them for a successful future—tomorrow and in the decades to come.

So what are you waiting for? Accelerate your girl’s future with our awesome Tip Sheet!

 

Four awesome ways to thank your Girl Scout volunteer

From Girl Scouts of the USA

April is National Volunteer Month! Celebrate your favorite Girl Scout volunteers with these thoughtful ideas! Whether you choose to do one activity or all, you’re sure to make the volunteers in your life feel loved and appreciated and remember all the reasons why they continue to give their time and hearts to the Girl Scout mission.

1. Send a personalized ecard! Who doesn’t love a fun ecard? This month, show the Girl Scout volunteer in your life—your Girl Scout VIP!—just how much they mean to you by choosing from one of four awesome predesigned ecard templates. Just fill in the blank to finish the sentence (keep it short and sweet, please!) and share your ecard with them on Facebook, on Twitter, or by email—SWEET! Get started.

2. Shout them out on social media! What better way to make your favorite Girl Scout volunteer feel special than to shout ‘em out for the world to know? They’re the best, and you’re proud to say it loud and clear: I love my Girl Scout volunteer!

During National Volunteer Week (April 15–21), head on over to your favorite social media pages and share why this volunteer (or volunteers!) is so special to you. Make sure to tag @girlscouts and include the hashtag #NVW2018 so we can follow the love.

3. Write them a handwritten letter! That’s right. Imagine their surprise when they open their mailbox and find an old-school letter from you. Need a little inspiration? Here are a few things you could include:

  • Why your favorite Girl Scout volunteer is so special?
  • An especially memorable time when you were happy to have their guidance and support/
  • How they have made a difference in your life?
  • Your three favorite things about them.

4. Buy them something special with this offer from the Girl Scout Shop! During April, use code VOLUNTEER18 for 15% off* one item from our online store, the Girl Scout Shop, and bring a smile to a volunteer’s face with a fun little token of your appreciation.

Know someone who isn’t a Girl Scout volunteer but would make a great one? Use one (or more!) of these thoughtful appreciation ideas to let them know how they could make a lasting difference in girls’ lives today!

*The code is active April 1 through April 30, 2018, for 15% off one item from a customer’s order. The 15% discount will be applied to the highest priced item in an order. If a customer buys two or more of the same item that the discount applies to, the 15% will only be taken off one item. The code is for one-time use per customer, online only at girlscoutshop.com.

Take Action: Name a bridge in Savannah, Georgia, after Juliette Gordon Low

From Girl Scouts of the USA

It’s Girl Scout Week! Calling all Girl Scouts, volunteers, alums, and supporters to help us celebrate by taking action! There are just three weeks remaining in the Georgia legislative session, and we need your help to urge the state legislature to name the Savannah River bridge for Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low.

Last fall, Girl Scouts launched a Movement-wide effort to name a bridge in Savannah after our legendary founder. At G.I.R.L. 2017, Girl Scouts from across the country signed a banner and petition in support of the Juliette Gordon Low Bridge. Georgia Girl Scouts wrote their legislators to ask for their support, and on February 6, more than 400 girls visited the state capitol to lobby their representatives in person.

Now we need your help!

As the state’s legislative session comes to a close, we must show the members of the Georgia General Assembly the strength of our Movement nationwide.

Take action today: Click here to tell Georgia lawmakers to support the Juliette Gordon Low Bridge.

Reach out to fellow Girl Scout supporters near and far in this campaign to name the Savannah bridge after Juliette Gordon Low. Please share our link, advocate.girlscouts.org, and ask others to take action. Thank you for your support.

Girl Scout Week: Be a G.I.R.L. every day

 

 

 

 

From Girl Scouts of the USA

Although we celebrate important moments all year long, Girl Scout Week is a particularly special time! That’s because Girl Scouts across the United States (and even abroad) have the chance to connect with one another, show the world everything they do, and celebrate what it means to have that one-of-a-kind G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ grit.


This year, we’re challenging Girl Scouts everywhere to commit to seven goals and accompanying activities—whether girls have time for them this week or want to take them on in the months to come. After all, being a Girl Scout isn’t just for special occasions!



Sunday, March 11: celebrate inclusivity! Girl Scout Week starts with Girl Scout Sunday. Whether you’re Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, or not religious, take some time today to connect with your beliefs and values and learn about someone else’s. And take a moment to perform an act of kindness—that’s something everyone believes in!




 
 

Monday, March 12: be a go-getter! Kick off the school week by taking action and getting involved civically. Check out these resources and tips from the G.I.R.L. Agenda to feel inspired and prepared to make the world a better place—the possibilities are endless. You may even become motivated to work toward earning the Global Action award while you’re at it.



 
 

Tuesday, March 13: be an innovator! Explore science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  The different badges you can earn while at it will give you so many reasons to be proud, and the possibilities of STEM are endless—try your hand at robotics, botany, coding, or kitchen chemistry! If you’ve already got stellar STEM skills, reach out to a younger troop to see if you can share what you know.

Wednesday, March 14: be a risk-taker! Think about what makes you uncomfortable and how you can tackle your fears, then take risks by trying something new. Taking part in outdoor adventures with friends or family is the ultimate Girl Scout way. You could even find a way to volunteer with a group at school. Think about what you could accomplish if you joined an after-school environmental club, or better yet, start one. Your Ranger patch awaits!




Thursday, March 15: take the lead! Raise your hand. Stand up against bullying. Seize opportunities to help those in need.  When you’re a leader, you’re confident, responsible, and committed to changing the world.

Friday, March 16: revel in some Friday FUN! Work with your Girl Scout sisters to come up with a new way to celebrate being a Girl Scout. There are so many great Girl Scout traditions and ceremonies you can partake in—you can always come up with fun and meaningful activities on your own.

Saturday, March 17: observe Girl Scout Sabbath!This is the perfect day to reread and contemplate the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Find out more about the My Promise, My Faith pin and start taking steps to earn it, no matter what your beliefs. 



Show us how you’re celebrating all week long by sharing your activities on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #GirlScoutWeek.

 

Aurora Cadettes go silver, lead state’s first vehicle smoking ban

From Girl Scouts of the USA

Five bold Girl Scouts—Makenna, Amelia, Julianna, Micaela, and Sofia—demonstrated the power and voices of a 100-woman army. How? This small but mighty group took on a complex and meaningful challenge to earn their Girl Scout Silver Award. As part of Troop 60789 from Girl Scouts of Colorado, the girls worked closely with their longtime troop leader Kristen Batcho and other community mentors for almost a year to champion and pass an ordinance that made smoking (whether tobacco, marijuana, or vaping) in a vehicle while a minor is present subject to community service or a fine. The ban, passed by the Aurora City Council, is the first of its kind in Colorado and an incredible accomplishment for these determined change-makers who are just 13 and 14 years old.

CH-A-GS-Colorado Smoking Ordinance 2

Amelia, Makenna, Micaela, Julianna, and Sofia present their smoking ordinance to the Aurora City Council on September 25, 2017.

Before starting their Silver Award project, the girls completed the Breathe Journey, part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, focusing on how the environment, air, and noise pollution all affect people. After completing the Journey, the girls discussed what they would do with all of the new information they had just learned and then brainstormed how they could apply it to their Silver Award project. During these discussions, they kept coming back to the topic of smoking, mainly the many different ways that it harms adults and children—smokers and nonsmokers alike. The girls researched the topic further and decided to try to ban smoking in cars with minors to minimize the effects of secondhand smoke and to protect young people’s health.

“We wanted to give a voice to the kids who don’t have a voice to tell the adult person to stop smoking,” said Makenna, age 13.

“We chose this project because people smoking in cars might not only get lung cancer themselves, they could also be making their kids sick,” Sophia, age 14, added. “The kids breathe in the smoke and are affected too.”

To begin creating this important change in their community, Kristen and the girls reached out to Aurora City Council member Charlie Richardson for guidance. He was 100 percent on board! Charlie attended one of the troop’s meetings and educated the girls on the ordinance process. He then connected them to city attorney Nancy Rogers, who helped them write the actual ordinance in the most effective way possible. Nancy also came to a troop meeting and engaged in a lively discussion with the girls during which they asked questions and talked through how they wanted the ordinance to proceed.

Initially the girls wanted to make smoking in a vehicle with minors a primary offense. In other words, a police officer could pull someone over for that without any other reason. But when the original ordinance came back with an amendment to make it a secondary offense, meaning a person would have to be pulled over for another offense first before they could be punished for smoking in a car with a minor, the girls realized they had a better chance of getting the legislation passed if they accepted the amendment, so they did.

When it came time for the ordinance to be discussed in detail at a city council meeting, the girls asked several speakers to testify on their behalf, including representatives from the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, UCHealth, and National Jewish Health.

Kathleen Moreira, the representative from UCHealth and a tobacco treatment specialist and smoking cessation expert, gave what Kristen calls “quite a compelling testimony” on secondhand smoke and the effects it has kids, especially as they’re still growing. Because Kathleen is a former smoker, the child of a parent who smoked in the car often, a mom, and a proud Girl Scout alum, UCHealth felt she would be the perfect person to represent the hospital and support the girls in their pursuit.

    • CH-A-GS-Colorado Smoking Ordinance 4

      Kathleen Moreira, Kristen Batcho, and Girl Scouts Makenna and Julianna smile for the camera after being interviewed by 9News morning anchor Cory Rose about the girls’ Silver Award project.

    • CH-A-GS-Colorado Smoking Ordinance 5

      Sophia, Amelia, Micaela, Makena and Julianna are recognized by Senator Rhoda Fields at the State Capitol for their efforts and work passing the smoking ordinance.

 

“I was overwhelmed with this powerful message that [the girls] were trying to send and that they were able to advocate for,” Kathleen said. “These girls made health history at 13 and 14 years old, and although I loved being a Girl Scout, I never did anything this important. Interacting with these girls reminded me that the power of girls is alive and well. What the girls are able to do now, utilizing outreach and being able to get so involved in civic matters, there is just a strength and a presence to Girl Scouts now that I think has really evolved over time.”


“These girls made health history at 13 and 14 years old.”


Kathleen explained how she urged council members to use this opportunity to educate parents to make a different choice. “Maybe it’s not about asking parents to quit smoking,” she suggested, “but once they know that doing so in the car with children is really harmful, then they have the information to say, ‘OK, maybe I won’t quit, but I won’t smoke in the car.’ Most of us, when we know better, we do better.”

And it’s not just secondhand smoke that Kathleen is worried about. Thirdhand smoke is also dangerous, especially for babies and toddlers. What is thirdhand smoke? It originates from the particles of a burning cigarette that are left on surfaces, for example, the chemicals and nicotine that stay behind on doors, windows, and everywhere else in a vehicle when someone smokes inside it. This means that even when children aren’t in a car at the time someone is smoking, they can still ingest all those chemicals later on as they touch different parts of the vehicle.

Kathleen revealed that when children are chronically exposed to nicotine and smoke, their chances of becoming a smoker greatly increase. By passing the ordinance, the girls and city council members are helping prevent 2,200 kids in Colorado from becoming daily smokers, she further explained.

To every young girl who wants to make a change in the world but isn’t sure she’s capable of doing so, Kathleen says, “There is power in numbers, and an organization like Girl Scouts can really boost [girls’] confidence in their ability to make change, get things done, and stay motivated through the obstacles. I have a four-year-old daughter, and I can’t wait for her to start as a Girl Scout Daisy. I was so proud to show her that I was working with Girl Scouts and what they were able to do.”


“There is power in numbers, and an organization like Girl Scouts can really boost [girls’] confidence in their ability to make change, get things done, and stay motivated through the obstacles.”


Even with all of the support the girls were able to garner, they also encountered some negativity and opposition. After their first meeting with the city council, a few not-so-nice comments cropped up on social media and in the form of other complaints. Because of this, Kristen and her co-leader, Michele Malchow, were concerned about having the girls attend the final council meeting in which a final vote for or against the ordinance would be made.

“We had been trying to keep the experience positive for the girls,” Kristen said. “But when we talked to them about it, they said, ‘This is part of life, and we have to deal with it.’” Kristen was impressed with the girls’ maturity and courage and decided to let them attend the meeting; they would leave only if things got too heated.

“What I have learned throughout this process is that everyone has an opinion on everything and not everyone will agree with what you’re trying to achieve, but that’s OK,” Makenna said.

“I have seen [the girls] blossom so much throughout this entire process,” Kristen praised. “Here are these young women who are changing the world and doing big things for the community. They’ve asked such good and insightful questions. They’ve embraced the project wholeheartedly, remained focused, and they’ve been willing to listen to feedback and be flexible. They’ve also just been so gracious and grateful with all of the adults and mentors who have helped them along the way. I am so proud of the young women they are becoming.”

Through this process, both the girls and their troop leaders discovered just how much girls can accomplish when they put their minds to it. “This is what Girl Scouts is all about,” beamed Kristen. “The idea of being girl-led, promoting the G.I.R.L. Agenda, and embodying all of the different facets of being a G.I.R.L. I don’t think my girls had truly realized their power until they were able to get this ordinance passed and make history.”


“This is what Girl Scouts is all about. The idea of being girl-led, promoting the G.I.R.L. Agenda, and embodying all of the different facets of being a G.I.R.L.”


Can you imagine what Troop 60789 will be able to accomplish in the years to come? Congratulations, girls, on a job extraordinarily done!

Earn the 2018 World Thinking Day patch

Girl Scouts can earn the 2018 GSUSA World Thinking Day patch this year through World Thinking Day activities. GSUSA offers two tracks for the patch program – one for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors and one for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors. This is an official GSUSA patch that can be worn on the front of a Girl Scout uniform. As troops and service units plan their activities for World Thinking Day, consider trying one or more activities to help girls earn the World Thinking Day patch.

World Thinking Day is celebrated on February 22 each year by Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in 150 countries. It’s a way to celebrate the global sisterhood of Girl Scouts as girls across the world work on the same activities.

This year’s theme is “Impact.” Girl Scouts will think about what it means to make a personal impact, bringing changes to an individual’s development as well as a wider impact, bringing changes to a wider group of people. If your troop would like to expand its knowledge about the international sisterhood of Girl Scouts, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has an activity guide based on the 2018 theme “Impact,” which can be found at www.worldthinkingday.org.

You can get the World Thinking Day patch through the GSCO shop. You can purchase it in our store or call 1-855-472-7026. To learn more about GSUSA’s World Thinking Day patch program, go to https://goo.gl/zpHc7y.

15 ways to start 2018 with service and community

From Girl Scouts of the USA

It’s the New Year’s resolution to end all New Year’s resolutions, and it’s so, so Girl Scouts! This year, do things a little differently, and resolve to give back to yourself by giving back to others. That’s right. We’re calling for a resolution of service! Because when you help others, you just can’t begin to imagine how much good it actually does for your own soul. It’s really the best kind of win-win.

And it doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, it’s really the accumulation of all the small ways we can be of service to others every day that can make our lives significantly brighter and more meaningful, while helping us feel more connected within our communities. In 2018, what do you say we all resolve to make the world a better place, together, by committing to practice these powerful and simple acts of service to others as often as possible? 

  1. Be kind, particularly to those who are not exactly your cup of tea, so to speak. It might be hard, but it will be meaningful.
  2. Be gentle with the environment. Avoid littering, recycle, and regularly sign up for community cleanups. The more we do to keep the outdoors in good shape, the more we can all enjoy it!
  3. Show compassion. Sometimes that’s the greatest gift we can offer someone.
  4. Practice good manners. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way in making others feel appreciated and respected.
  5. Be helpful as much and as often as possible. Help create a sense of community wherever you go.
  6. Listen more. Sometimes all people truly want is to be heard, and to know they matter.
  7. Volunteer once a month—or more if you can. Learn about volunteering with us—it’s important work and so much fun!
  8. Give out lots of compliments, just because. Make someone’s day with the simplest acknowledgement of a great smile, a fun outfit, or an inspiring talent.
  9. Speaking of smiling, do it more often. It makes everyone feel good—even you!
  10. Leave notes of encouragement for family, friends, and coworkers. The right words can always make a day brighter.
  11. Forgive someone who has slighted you, even if you don’t feel they deserve it. It might move them to show the same compassion to someone else.
  12. Hold the door open for someone and give them the gift of feeling special, even if just for a few seconds.
  13. Strike up a conversation with a shy person and help them come out of their shell a little. Just because they’re not one to initiate conversation doesn’t mean they don’t have a story they’d like to share.
  14. Reach out to a friend you know is going through something hard and offer to spend time with them, or just listen. People won’t always reach out for help, but they will often accept it with open arms when it’s offered.
  15. Bake some goodies for an elderly neighbor, and hand-deliver them. Sit and chat a while. Let them share stories and feel the joy of friendship.