August 28, 2007

Reach Out Revolution!
Last year, my family and I moved from our home in the suburbs to a much smaller home in a quaint neighborhood in Denver. We wanted to be closer to mass transit, work and the mountains, plus save money and resources by living in a smaller home. It has been a huge success! We are not only saving money by living more simply, but are more active in the neighborhood and in our community. We are able to reach out to someone or some group daily by being part of a community, not just living in one. We had an open house to reach out to our neighbors and now know most everyone on our block. It's great – we watch out for each other and keep in touch by walking the neighborhood.

How do you reach out?

We found out that it's much easier to reach out when you have some connection to others, and that is the case with a neighbor just a block away. While out front, my husband met a blind man walking by with his dog. The man thanked my husband for keeping our sidewalks cleared during that snow storm last year. Somehow, he remembered that it was our house that shoveled the sidewalks. As a result of that connection, we keep our walks clear and remove any low branches on the trees that line the sidewalk.

Here's another example of reaching out.

Since our move, I've been storing unwanted household wastes in the garage. Every time I take out the trash, I have to maneuver around the boxes. While cleaning out the garage, I finally decided to do something about the household wastes. I immediately got on the internet, and found out that Denver has a household hazardous wastes (HHW) collection program that's free to its residents. The process is very simple, and I instantly thought that my neighbors might want to know about this free service too. I wrote a letter to my neighbors urging them to be part of the "Neighborhood HHW Clean-Up Blitz" I'm organizing this September. I'm relieved to finally be disposing of the wastes safely, and am excited to be helping my neighbors do the same.

Not only do I reach out to my neighbors, but my community. For four years, I've been a volunteer with the Whiz Kids Tutoring Program near my home in Denver. Whiz Kids is a religious-based program that promotes literacy. I tutor one-on-one with a student that is struggling academically and socially. During our time, we read books together, work on homework, or play educational games. The experience has been life-changing for me and the students I've worked with. I know that I've made a difference in my students' lives by helping them succeed in school.

How do you reach out in your community?

That brings me to Brad and Libby Birky, founders of the non-profit restaurant SAME Cafe, that reaches out to the community in a very unique way. I found out about the restaurant while searching for a place that serves fresh organic food, and is accessible by bus from our home. The SAME (So All May Eat) Cafe began as a way to help eliminate the ever-growing problem of hunger. It is unique in that the menu changes daily depending on the availability of organic ingredients, and there are no set prices for the meals. There is no cash register, and the patrons pay by donation or work in exchange for a meal voucher. The restaurant is run by volunteers, and if you'd like a great fresh organic meal, and don't mind a little work – call or stop by to help out. What a "wonderfully different" concept, pay what you feel your meal is worth, and if you're able, pay a little more to help out someone less fortunate.

What an awesome example of others that reach out!

I am so inspired by the Birky's vision and many others in my community, my country and in the world that I intend to make reaching out part of my daily life. I reach out to my neighbors, my community and my city by staying involved in what matters most – people!

How can you reach out – starting today?

Here are a few suggestions on how you can reach out:
  • Make a conscious effort to choose to reach out daily!
  • Get to know your neighbors, if you don't already.
  • Enjoy the summer weather and walk your neighborhood.
  • Get to know your community and businesses that support it.
  • Volunteer for a group close to your home.
  • Reach out even further by using the power of the internet to find a group that can use your help.
Whether you say hello to your neighbors, shovel your walk, help out at your church, watch out for bicyclists that share the road, give blood, deliver meals to homebound people, or even work for a meal yourself – you reach out in a big way that affects other people. Be part of a community (not just live in one), be part of a revolution – reach out!

Belen Carmichael, NLC
Life Coach

Denver's Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW) Program
800-HHW-PKUP or 800-449-7587
Whiz Kids Tutoring
5500 E. Yale Ave., Suite 101
Denver, Colorado 80222
2023 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, Colorado 80206
Bonfils Blood Center
303-341-4000 or 800-365-0006, opt. 3

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Interested in group coaching and live in the Denver, Colorado area?
See the Events page on the website for information about the Building Stability Group for Women Business Owners, the Women's Soup Night, and Walk the Labyrinth.

Copyright 2007, INNERGY Coaching, LLC - Belen Carmichael
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Wellness Within is published monthly by Belen Carmichael of INNERGY Coaching, providing life coaching, nutrition and lifestyle coaching and personal training to women business owners.
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