The holiday season is here and we at ECKO have been reflecting on giving back. Choice Humanitarian is a local charity in Salt Lake City, Utah that has been working since 1983 to eliminate extreme poverty around the world. I support this charity because I agree with its vision of “a world free from the ravages of extreme poverty, where all people are treated with dignity and valued for who they are and the unique contribution they bring.” In support of this amazing world vision, Choice sets itself apart by teaching communities the skills necessary to “move themselves out of poverty” and exists “to promote development, not relief.”
To that end, Choice not only puts boots on the ground to help provide communities with the resources and tools they need to escape poverty, it ensures that the leaders of the community are empowered through instruction and learning to continue on a course away from poverty towards growth, development and opportunity long after the service expedition has come and gone.
Last April, my 16-year-old daughter and I went to Bolivia with Choice Humanitarian to serve in a small farming community in the mountains near LaPaz. There, we were able to work shoulder to shoulder with the men, women and children of the village to build a school, harvest crops, care for livestock, teach computer skills and personal hygiene, and enjoy the culture and traditions of the area. This was an incredible experience for both of us. We came away feeling as though we were given far more than we gave. It became apparent that what is truly important and fulfilling in life is our humanity, our ability to care about and serve one another. When we connect with each other and truly care about each other, we serve a purpose that brings joy to ourselves as well as those we serve. Material possessions are not the source of true happiness and often just result in enslaving us to live lives that are limited to the pursuit of worldly goods. This became evident to us as we witnessed true joy radiated in the faces of the Bolivian people who had so little but were very clearly full of happiness. At this time of year, we invite all to experience the true joy that only comes from reaching out to our fellowmen and caring about and serving each other.
Happy holidays from Eisenberg Cutt Kendell & Olson—may 2017 be filled with true joy and happiness for you and your families!