As Giving Tuesday alights upon us, our thoughts draw nearer to our family, our friends, our advocates and neighbors- our community. They give us connection and belonging, reminding us we are part of something bigger than ourselves. For this blog post, we asked one of our families to tell us what community means to them and how being a part of a community has impacted them.

For me, belonging to a community is one of the most important factors to maintain a happy life. Whether it’s a church, school, team, neighborhood or organization, having the support and encouragement of people who care for me has boosted my confidence and fulfilled me.

It is not always easy to find a community and keep in contact, especially if you are struggling with stability in your life like I was a year and a half ago. My family was homeless, and the unpredictability of our lives made it difficult to find connections and consistently put in the work to sustain relationships. We lacked connections and had no support. It was a lonely feeling and I never want to be in that place again.

Being a part of the Saranam community has given me the opportunity to build trust and establish healthy relationships. The community of Saranam is a safe place for my family to grow and be ourselves. I plan on maintaining my new friendships and continue adding new people to my circle.

One of the ways we have been doing this is by volunteering in the community. At Saranam, I have the chance to give back to my community by volunteering around the Albuquerque area. It is one of the most rewarding experiences and has helped add balance to my life. I am blessed in so many ways and volunteering gives me an opportunity to pay it forward. It also gives me a sense of accomplishment because I know I am making a difference in the lives of others.

I strongly encourage anyone who wants to create positive change and gain perspective about the lives of others, to volunteer. Support a cause that you believe in by giving back with time, donations, or prayers. I’ve been on both sides of the giving circle and know the inspiring and heart-warming feeling of knowing that a complete stranger wanted to help my family. It restored my faith in humanity and showed me how I could help be a part of that change.

On behalf of all of us, thank you for lighting the spark in our families. You have ignited a change in so many lives.

As you celebrate Giving Tuesday, we invite you to share this story, click here to donate or here to sign up to volunteer. Thank you!