Take the time, see the impact

Graphic by Suzanna Creasey

Basketballs flew through the air as music played and supporters cheered. Over a dozen baskets were set up in the field house, and the girls basketball players shot free throw after free throw. Each basket made resulted in varying amounts of money, contributed by a sponsor, which was donated towards the fight against spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory disease, also known as SMARD. When Danielle Fluegge, girls basketball head coach, wanted to help her friend Brittany Stineman, whose youngest son has been affected by SMARD, the team readily took action.

To help with efforts against SMARD, the girls basketball program hosted an event on Dec. 20, 2017 called “Shootout to Smash SMARD” and raised approximately $6,000. Each player in the program attempted 100 free throws, and Glenbrook North staff, students and members within the Northbrook community pledged varying amounts of money for every free throw made by a player.

Shootout to Smash SMARD was a perfect opportunity for students to use their athletic abilities to raise money and for the community to pool its monetary resources to give what they could.

The charity event hosted by the basketball program players, along with other clubs and teams hosting bake sales and activities such as the Dance Marathon, decorative cup sales, Springfest booths and more, all focus on one type of giving: donating money.

While donating money is an effective option for people to give back, there are also other ways to take charity work a step further. By donating money, we don’t necessarily see where and to whom the donations are truly going to. We lose the ability to form valuable and impactful connections with those we are helping, and we tend to forget there are other ways to take action. Groups such as After School All-Stars, PAWS and Key Club in addition to students volunteering at Hilda’s Place shelter or participating in service trips are all prime examples of using resources other than money to give back.

A major reason why people choose to donate money rather than engage in volunteering is due to time restrictions. We are so busy with our own daily schedules that the easiest thing to do is write a check or give away a few dollars. So, how do we make time for volunteering and helping others?

We can take one day a month to go out and give time. We can sacrifice sleeping in and instead go work the morning shift at a soup kitchen. We can spend one week during the summer to help and interact with people in need. We can find ways to leave an impact on the world that is visible, that we feel. If none of these options work, we can do our best to spread awareness of pressing issues in the world, whether that be on social media or through conversations with others. When we spend our time helping others, we witness how our time has impacted lives forming a personal connection between ourselves and the receiver. We see the positive impact that we are making after just a few hours  of donating our time to a greater cause.

We have the capability to make a difference within the lives of others and to feel the good we are doing within ourselves.