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home : columns : dear harriette March 1, 2021

1/6/2021 7:51:00 AM
Big-hearted reader wants to volunteer safely

DEAR HARRIETTE: How can I get involved with the community during the pandemic? I don't have much money to give, but I have always been big on providing assistance directly through volunteering. With COVID-19, I am not comfortable going anywhere in public. I know there are still people out there with nowhere to go who need help, especially now that it's winter and the infection rate is beginning to rise again. I want to do my part and be a part of the community, but I'm just not sure what I can do. Do you know of any organizations I can get involved with while staying safe? -- Stop the Spread

DEAR STOP THE SPREAD: Thank you for your generous spirit. Is it important to want to help others and to take that extra step to do so, especially during times like these. Thank goodness you are not alone in your desire to support people who are struggling during this time. Start by thinking of what you feel comfortable doing based on your level of risk or exposure to others. Some people feel comfortable putting on a mask and going to help sort food at a food kitchen. Others are leery of being in enclosed environments with other people. Consider your comfort level.

Go online to look for volunteer opportunities. They are plentiful, both nationally and locally. Often, local community centers, charitable organizations and houses of worship offer aid to people in need -- and, therefore, need helping hands. Some organizations that may help direct your steps include powerof.org, nationalservice.gov and mealsonwheelsamerica.org.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend and I are going through a patch where we want to be 100% honest with each other about our pasts so we can fully understand each other and what we have been through. She's been so forthcoming and raw with me; some things hurt to hear, but I honestly feel better now that I know. I feel closer to her.

I now know that my past is about three times as bad as hers, and I am nervous that she won't love me the same or will look at me differently if I tell her everything. I don't want to lose her. Should I tell her absolutely everything like we agreed, or should I hold back a little to lessen the blow? -- Heavy Past

DEAR HEAVY PAST: Take it one day at a time. Without intending to withhold information, share bits with her incrementally so that she has time to digest the information and ask questions. If you want to build a life with your girlfriend, transparency is essential -- but it doesn't have to be a brain dump all at one time. Share key stories with her that show what you have done and what you learned from your behavior. It can help to reveal lessons learned and improved behavior, especially if you have had a troubled past. You can also tell her that it is hard for you to be so forthcoming, given that your life has been difficult.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.





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