Giving Back Was a Lesson Learned at an Early Age

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The first time I made a charitable donation, I was about seven years old. Mom gave my sister and me each $1, which was exciting for a little kid in the 1970s. Mom explained the money was for us to put in the collection plate at church. To be honest, I was a little disappointed, because as quickly as that dollar bill reached my hands, I was already thinking about what I would buy.

As the church plate was passed down our row, I carefully placed the dollar bill on top of the other bills. It became part of our Sunday routine. Mom would give us $1, and we’d place it in the plate. It was the first of many lessons growing up about charity, philanthropy and giving back to make life better for others.

Like most children of my generation, we often were scolded for not taking better care of our toys or for wasting food. I can still hear my mama saying, “It’s a shame because there are so many people who are starving right now.”

Those words helped me understand not everyone was as fortunate as we were, something that’s so easy to take for granted.

As I matured, I looked for ways I could give back to follow the examples of my mother, grandmother and other mentors.  Here’s what I’ve learned: When we give of ourselves—whether it’s our money or our time—we not only make lives a little easier for others, but we also receive back ten-fold.

I think of my years on the basketball court teaching underprivileged girls and boys about the fundamentals of the game. Yes, we came together for basketball, but we had discussions about life, and they opened my eyes to see the world from their perspectives. The kids inspired me to want to do more and be better.

Since joining CICOA and moving to Indianapolis nearly nine months ago, I’ve been overwhelmed by the giving spirit of people in Central Indiana.

Monetary donations to the CICOA Foundation have allowed us to do some incredible things, such as nearly doubling the number of meals we serve daily to seniors. We’ve also seen an outpouring of support from people volunteering to make calls to check in on those who are homebound.

It warms my heart to see how the community is coming together to help others through this pandemic, yet there is so much more we can do. Often when people think about being a philanthropist, they think they must have a lot of money. That’s not the case. Being a philanthropist means giving back to make life better for someone else, whether that’s giving an hour of your time weekly to call someone who is lonely or donating to help others live in safer homes and communities.

I encourage you to think about what you are passionate about and consider getting involved and giving back, even if it’s only $1 a week. Our community will be better for it, and your life will be enriched more than you can imagine.

Give back to help make life better for others.

CICOA President and CEO Tauhric Brown
Tauhric Brown

As President and CEO, Tauhric Brown uses his strategic vision and experience in the elderly and disability service industry to expand CICOA services and collaborative partnerships to better meet the needs of the vulnerable populations we serve. Before joining CICOA, Brown served as the chief operating officer for Senior Services, Inc. in Kalamazoo, Mich. His career started in the U.S. Army, and then he became a successful owner/operator for a multi-carrier wireless retail company. Inspired by his family and upbringing, he made the switch to the nonprofit world to fulfill his dream of improving the lives of others.

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