The Immeasurable Value of Giving Back

Labor Day was a brief respite but quite needed.  I had the opportunity to spend time with my immediate family for 4 days—-something that happens far too often in today’s busy world.  The weekend was full of baseball (my Washington Nationals played my middle brother’s New York Mets—Mets won the weekend series 2 games to 1 but who’s counting?) and quality time with the people who gave me so much support, guidance, and education growing up.

During some deep reflection over the weekend I realized that later this month will mark 30 years since my father passed away.  He and my mother instilled many things in my two younger brothers and I….the value of education and the thirst for knowledge….treating people with respect….giving back to the community….reaching back to help those who are following in your proverbial footsteps.  As many of you may know I spent the first part of my childhood (from age 1 to 13) in Brooklyn, New York and I am quite thankful for this experience.  I often think everyone should spend at least one week in New York (one of the five boroughs) to appreciate the complexity and vast size of the world around us.  Having to manage in an environment that is fast-paced, in seeming constant transition, and filled with people from many different walks of life could be a huge learning experience for many people.  But I digress….

One of the lessons my parents taught was the value of giving back.  Whether in church or in my family or in the community I can think of countless examples of people sharing their knowledge, experience, and time with me to make me better.  Now I am blessed to be in a position to give back to people in my midst.  A particular point of pride for me is giving back to my college alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG).  Currently I am co-chairing the effort to organize a 45th anniversary celebration for the African-American student group, the Neo-Black Society.  A key mission of the celebration is to connect alumni with students and foster mentoring and other ongoing relationships between the two groups.

Another opportunity for me to give back is speaking or participating in programs on campus.  Tonight I will be participating in a Career Conversations panel with other alumni from the UNCG College of Arts & Sciences.  My fellow alums and myself will share our career experiences as well as some tips and resources that can help current Spartan students as they contemplate their future outside of the picturesque campus we all know and love.  I always enjoying talking and sharing with Spartans as I harken back to the Spartan alumni  and upperclassmen who shared with me.  For Spartans click here for ways you can give back to our alma mater.

Bottom line:  each of us has an opportunity, and I believe an obligation, to give back.  Whether it be of your financial resources, your time, your energy, your talents, or some combination thereof we all can find ways to help someone.  I challenge you to use the last four months of this year to identify your opportunities to give back and then commence to give.  You may be surprised how much you receive when you give……….


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