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The spirit of giving in the workplace

The organizations and companies who believe they should contribute to the well being of society fulfill a need of the organization and the individual workers.

This year in my workplace, we searched for a holiday service project. We settled on donations of money and food for two food pantries because we have coworkers who donate time in these pantries. It's a great project because there are connections. We are learning about the organizations where our coworkers volunteer as well as feeling good about contributing to people with real needs. It complements our building potluck and the accompanying activities.

Volunteering together during work hours
I volunteered during the United Way kickoff this fall. What a great way to get to know others in your organization or office. When you're shoveling sand, cutting out children'™s books, painting or cleaning up the landscape, some conversations float back to work but they'™re very open and organic. Not only are you doing some good for your community, but the conversations provide a bond to coworkers that you don'™t get in the office.

Giving in the workplace helps others
It also helps us because we benefit in work relationships and in feeling good about what we've done. This may be a year we need to think more about (and not just at holiday time)....how we can give our work time and donations to local agencies? Will those efforts lead to better relationships and understanding in our workplaces?

The roots of civility
Civility derives from the Latin civitas, which means "city" in the sense of civic community. P.M. Forni, cofounder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project, writes in his book 'Choosing Civility': "The age-old assumption behind civility is that life in the city has a civilizing effect. The city is where we enlighten our intellect and refine our social skills. And as we are shaped by the city, we learn to give of ourselves for the sake of the city. ...Etymology reminds us that we are supposed to be good citizens and good neighbors."


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