Five Fun Ideas on How to Give Back
Giving back to society is what I consider food for the soul. If you want to give back but are not sure where to start, here are some options we've done at our office and truly enjoyed.
- Charity races: One of my office’s favorites is picking at least two 5K or 10K races a year in which the entire team participates. We take turns picking a charity, and I offer to pay for my team’s entry as well for ten of our patients. To us, it is a day of spiritual and physical wellness that is a tradition we look forward to (and train for).
- Local clinics: My team and I have also donated our time to our local clinic where we worked on projects such as Mission of Mercy or Give a Kid a Smile. What’s great is that everything is already set up; all we have to do is show up and perform dentistry. We usually go as an entire team, but some years we've gone individually or as a smaller team.
- Candy buy backs: For the past four years, we have partnered with Operation Gratitude to sponsor a candy buy-back program for our soldiers abroad. After Halloween, neighborhood children can drop off candy, and, for every pound they donate, we give them a dollar (up to $5). We ship the collected candy abroad, along with some toothbrushes and toothpaste. (We have to send those, too, if we are sending candy!)
- Food drives: This is easy and fun and doesn't always have to be done during the holidays. Find a local reputable food bank, and reach out. In our office, we have partnered with a patient who runs a food bank. They are always grateful for our support!
- Dental days: Years ago, we used to donate our time in different elementary schools during Dental Health Month. We would teach students the importance of oral health, oral hygiene, proper nutrition and how it all impacts their overall health. We would also supply them with toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and coloring books about oral health and dental visits. The children’s energy and their willingness to learn and understand was always such a positive experience and such a break from our day-to-day routine!
The opportunities are truly endless! At the beginning of every year, we brainstorm our ideas and collaboratively decide what we want to do. Since it's time away from our families and work, we all need to enjoy what we choose.
There may be times in your career when it is difficult to donate a single moment of your day, so don’t commit to anything that will create stress or negativity in your life; find other means. Sometimes it can be simple. For example, if we know a patient is going through a difficult time, we send them a card, flowers or a gift basket to let them know people care.
Giving back to the community and to humanity is not something that’s required to run a successful business; however, it is one of the most rewarding things I do. So, find what feeds your soul, and give back.