Most Independent Insurance Agency owners are actively involved in bettering the community in which they live and work. I am proud that our industry has a reputation for such service. I personally have been heavily involved in volunteering with local organizations for over 20 years. I began with a simple wish to work with children as my first and previous Blog mentioned. I had wanted to help counsel abused children, and although I instead chose to remain in my insurance career, I still wanted to find an outlet for the part of me that had always wanted to help children.

I sought out and had the privilege of being a Big Sister with the Big Brother/Big Sister organization here in Traverse City when I was in my early 20s. From there I got involved in my insurance industry’s state wide, Young Agents Council as well as the local Bay Area Agents Association here in Traverse City. I served on those boards for over 6 years each, becoming Chair of Michigan’s YAC and President of the local association. Once those terms expired, I looked again for what to do to be of service. I began serving on many industry task-forces: Professional Development, CIC & CISR Designation Committees, the MAIA Planning Taskforce, and MI Future to name a few.

Once again though – in early 2000, I found myself being drawn back to organizations outside of my industry that give back locally. I approached Northern Michigan Goodwill Industries here in Traverse City and was accepted as a board member. I was fortunate to serve during the Capital Fundraising Campaign for what is now the Goodwill Homeless Shelter. From there I began serving on various committees and or fundraising projects with our local Child & Family Services, and in February of this year I contacted Make-A-Wish Michigan in Grand Rapids and asked about volunteering for that organization and making it more local to our Greater Traverse City Area. They asked that I gather a minimum of 10 volunteers and they would come up here to do the training. I was blessed to find 17 people in a matter of 2 weeks. A great testimony to how wonderful our local community is at giving back and showing up to do so!

So.. what is my wish for you? – That you find some way – any way, to give locally to those in need, regardless how big or small the gesture seems to you. Just this weekend I stopped in at Younkers and used up some gift card $$ purchasing clothing. At the end of my purchase I noticed that I still had $40 worth of gift cards that were expiring that day. I walked around the store until I found a woman with an armful of clothing and asked if she had any coupons or gift cards. Her reply was no – so I handed them to her and said – well you do now but they expire today. She was overwhelmingly grateful and gushed about the gesture that I really thought insignificant. So my wish for you; is that you too, make someone’s day better and brighter every chance that you get!