Hope is the Spark that Changes Lives

Did you know that giving provides physical and emotional benefits? As in, you can be a healthier, happier and more grateful person by giving.

Classes 1702 and 1703, new recruit correctional officers from the Cook County Sherriff’s Institute, completed a sixteen-week academy training, two weeks of which included advanced mental health education. During these two weeks, recruits were taught how to prevent and manage stress, whether it be in their career or personal life. And one of the most effective ways they learned about was through the act of giving.

Let’s take a look at 5 ways giving can improve your life. According to the University of Berkeley, California at the Institute of the Greater Good, giving does the following:

  1. Giving make you feel happy. There was a study out of the Harvard School of Business that found that giving financially boosted participants happiness more than spending on themselves. Giving to charities actually activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, trust, social connection and created what they referred to as a “warm glow” effect. So, you’re actually physically benefiting from giving. How amazing is that?
  2. It makes you healthier and here’s why: research indicates that giving reduces stress and stress is associated with a variety of health problems. Studies show that those who help others actually have lower blood pressure.
  3. It helps you connect better socially. When you give, you’re more likely to receive. When reciprocity exists, the closer we feel to others and the more good we believe exists in the world. So, what goes around comes around. If you’re giving good things, you believe you can expect good things.
  4. It makes you thankful. When you are grateful, things like happiness, health and social connections grow. And when you take time to express how grateful you are to those in your life, the stronger the relationship can be. And according to Barbara Fredrickson, “When you express your gratitude in words or actions, you not only boost your own positivity but [other people’s] as well,” she writes in her book Positivity. “And in the process, you reinforce their kindness and strengthen your bond to one another.”
  5. It creates a ripple effect. When others see you give, they are more likely to give, too. A study by James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, and Nicholas Christakis of Harvard, shows that when one person behaves generously, it inspires observers to behave generously later, toward different people.

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The new recruit officers decided to take these studies seriously and in an exercise of giving, pooled their money and sponsored a goat for our Kids for Kids program. They named this goat, Jerome. Kids for Kids is a wonderful program that helps families sustain themselves through fresh milk and gardening. The cost of the full-grown goat is $250 and includes seeds for gardens, training (basic veterinary, husbandry, proper housing for animals, etc.), a year of vaccines and food for the animal, and support.

We congratulate and thank classes 1702 and 1703 for their generosity and wish them all good things for their future as correctional officers.

You, too, can practice the art of giving! For more information on how you can sponsor a goat, click here.


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