Posts Tagged: bebe keith

We Asked 14 Locals How They Live Generously… and How You Can Too!

Live generoulsy, let's do this

Live generoulsy, let's do this

Live Generously

Introduction by Aryn Henning Nichols
Interviews by Aryn Henning Nichols, Kristine Jepsen, & Sara Friedl-Putnam
Originally published in the Winter 2015-16 Inspire(d)

It’s easy to look at the world, filled with problems, and get a feeling of hopelessness. You throw your hands up in the air and say, “What can I do about it?” Right?

Well, here’s something you can do: For starters, don’t perpetuate the bad; focus on the good. Then get out there and perpetuate that. Change the world, especially the one right outside your door – your community.

‘Cause here’s the deal: for every bad thing that happens in the world, we here at Inspire(d) believe there are – at least – 1000 good. Probably more. Our entire mission is to tell you about the good stuff. Especially the folks who “live generously.” And we’ll share a little secret: You’re probably one of them already.

We define those who “live generously” as people who are giving of their time, talents, goods, or money to people and organizations in need. It can be as small as helping a co-worker set up a morning meeting or as big as directing the local food pantry.

These pages feature just a handful of the generous people suggested to us, and an even smaller drop compared to the actual number of people out there in our region (and the world) doing great things in their communities. They decide what they want to support – from community theatre to city commissions to band boosters to bikes – and they make it work. The centrai element for every person here, though, was finding a cause they were passionate about, and putting their generous spirit into it.

The benefits of giving are plentiful – for the receiver, of course, but especially the giver:

1. Giving makes you happy.

Research suggests that giving – being kind, generous, and compassionate – makes us happier people, and also makes us feel like we’re part of a community. Giving helps us realize how fortunate we are in our own lives, and allows us to use our talents in a meaningful way. Plus, through giving (especially of our time), we can learn new, useful things and meet new people.

2. You’re making the world (or your part of it) better.

Every little bit helps. It’s true! Collect all your change in a jar for a month and see for yourself. Then go and donate that money! Many nonprofits are underfunded and understaffed – if every person gave a little (whether time or money), we could all benefit a lot.

3. Being kind is contagious.

Ever smiled at a stranger and they smiled back? Yeah, we thought so. The same goes for kind acts and volunteering. When you volunteer your time and other people know about it, they may get motivated to volunteer, too. Even if you only have time for a click, do it. Getting the word out makes a difference. Post something on Facebook. Tweet about it. Who knows, one of your friends might be inspired to do something that makes a huge impact. Added bonus: Research shows that communities with lots of volunteers are, statistically, better places to live, which in turn boosts volunteerism (and continues the cycle).

4. Giving is tax deductible.

Most financial donations are tax deductible, and if you have to spend money on travel or other added costs associated with the donation of your time or money, those items are usually tax deductible too.estimated hourly value of a volunteer is $22.55

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25% of American’s volunteered in 2014 (2015 data is not yet released). Of those volunteers, 22% were men and 28% were women. 35- to 44-year-olds were most likely to volunteer.

Driftless folks are awesome! Here’s how our three states rank for volunteerism in the US:

Minnesota:
3rd – 36.3% residents volunteered in 2013, contributing 171.3 million hours of service

Wisconsin:
5th – 35.1% residents volunteered in 2013, contributing 163.8 million hours of service

Iowa:
7th – 34.7% residents volunteered in 2013, contributing 72.4 million hours of service

In each of these states, 70-75% of residents said they engage in “informal volunteering”, i.e. doing favors for neighbors.


FURTHER READING…

transforming lives creating opportunity

A Path AppeA revolutionary approach to successars by Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn

“A unique and essential narrative about making a difference in the world — and a roadmap to becoming a conscientious global citizen.” As always, the Kristof/WuDunn team knocks it out of the park. You’ll come away inspired, for sure.

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant

“Focus attention and energy on making a difference in the lives of others, and success might follow as a by-product,” Adam Grant writes in Give and Take. Grant gives practical tips on making giving a part of life.

CHECK THIS OUT TOO!

Positive change begins by taking actionKaren Trewin (pg 37) recently told us about something we think is pretty cool: “Thrivent Action Teams”. Thrivent Financial member-led projects – such as fundraisers, one-time service activities or educational events – can be sponsored by Thrivent. After identifying a need/hatching a plan, members can apply online for resources to jumpstart the project (it must be completed within 90 days). Once the project is approved, a “Thrivent Action Kit” is sent, with promo materials, t-shirts for volunteers, and a $250 “Community Impact Card” that can be used as seed money to purchase projects, supplies, and to promote the event.

To date, close to 1,000 Action Teams have been sponsored in Northeast Iowa. For example, an Action Team benefitting Decorah Youth Choirs (DYC) was held in spring 2015. The Community Impact Card was used to buy a piece of original artwork that was raffled off to benefit the DYC Scholarship Program, raising $3,000.

Visit thrivent.com/actionteam or call the local Thrivent office at 563-382-1809 for more details.


How 14 locals give their time, talents, goods, and money

Check out Their Stories:


Want to give aid to some of the larger world issues too? Here are some great places to start:Live Generously Be Social

Givewell.org
Doctorswithoutborders.org
Unicefusa.org

INTRO STORY SOURCES:
www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.nr0.htm
www.volunteeringinamerica.gov
www.nptrust.org/philanthropic-resources/
money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2012/04/04/why-helping-others-makes-us-happy
www.everydayhealth.com/depression/how-volunteering-can-lessen-depression-and-extend-your-life.aspx

About the Authors:

Live Generously Authors

Live Generously: Bebe Keith

Bebe KeithIf you blink, you might find that Lanesboro Community Theater dynamo, Bebe Keith, has disappeared. When the Community Theater’s Silent Movies in the Park After Dark or the “Over the Back Fence” variety show are in production, she’s everywhere at once. Don’t worry, though, she’ll turn up soon, maybe in costume – the veteran actor played Mary Poppins in summer 2015 – but more often with script or cell phone in hand, as a director or plain old worker bee.
“I just love performing,” says the former kindergarten and first grade teacher and 25-year veteran actor. She and husband Pete moved from the Twin Cities to Lanesboro in 2006, when Bebe started working full-time as a glass mosaic artist and author. Her work has been commissioned by the Mayo Clinic, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Children’s Hospital in Boston.

“My schedule now is a little more flexible, working as an artist,” she says – the better to get on the horn and throw together two original skits, for example, when a guest artist for “Over the Back Fence” cancels at the last minute. She’s one of nine local volunteers who organize the monthly live radio show, and is also the host of the regional PBS/KSMQ arts and culture show “Off 90.”

Plus, Bebe has moved into mentoring local rookie directors, both for the annual downtown Lanesboro silent films exhibition in September, and the 2016 winter production of six short plays by David Ives. The dozens of hours volunteering to plan for, fund-raise, paint sets, or cue staging for each project don’t even cross her mind, she says.

“It’s my way of having fun, letting go, and socializing with people across my community, all mixed in one. I feel so happy participating – and seeing so many other people participating for the firstLanesboro Arts time, whether they’re in the audience or behind the camera,” she says. “Yes, it takes time and work, but a feel-good activity that everyone enjoys? Totally worth it.”– by Kristine Jepsen

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