Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Giving thanks and giving back

Thanksgiving continues to get closer and closer. I can almost taste the roasted turkey, sour cranberries, creamy mashed potatoes, stringy green beans, luscious yams and Great-Grandma’s pie recipe!

Thanksgiving, of course, persists to be a time to ponder and count blessings. Many people take the little things for granted. For this Thanksgiving break, kick your high-schooler off the couch, hide the video games and have your teen get involved in volunteering or other various activities. For instance, I enjoy working in the Community Pride group within Fallbrook 4-H, where we contribute to local needs.

Teenagers are spending less and less time volunteering every year. Participating with a charity, youth organization, exercise program and/or contests will help high-schoolers build better character and an improved community. Even starting out with simple service acts around the house can be a way to get started.

Learning how to spend time wisely can be an added benefit for teens when they partake in service. A little fun and games are good now and then; however, Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.”

Presently, most teens do not have the right motivation to go out and participate in community service or individual activities such as art, speech, and essay competitions. Let talents shine!

Recently, our local Veterans of Foreign Wars held an oral essay competition for high-schoolers. It was an enjoyable opportunity for me. Since I love writing, I decided to give it a try.

More students need to take advantage of contests like this because it’s a chance to meet new people, show appreciation for our veterans and develop a desire to step outside comfort zones. What’s the right motivation? A simple goal with a reward can be a great way start. For example, the first place winner of the VFW oral essay contest won $500.

Many great things come with community service. It can fortify a college or job application, teach responsibility and build confidence. Community service also can make teens alert of needs outside their family and close friends.

Encourage teens to volunteer at a library. They can read books to little kids; it’s easy. Helping at a food pantry, soup kitchen, animal shelter or doing simple cleanup projects should be activities teens engage in, especially during a week of thanks and giving.


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