Whether we realize it or not, we’re actually very fortunate. Most of us have a place to call home, a healthy functioning body, and access to all the food and water we need. Unfortunately, we sometimes take these things for granted and focus on what we feel we’re lacking. When this happens, we need to take a step back and count our blessings.
If you’ve been struggling to appreciate all that you have, then perhaps it’s time to see things from another perspective, and to learn to be more grateful. And what better way is there to do all this than by improving the lives of the less fortunate? When you add meaning to your life and do your part to make the world a better place, there’s no doubt you will have more gratitude and grow as a person.
“Back in India, I was part of a community outreach program, so when I learned that Evolve had their own program, I knew I had to join,” shares Mano, who came across the Evolve Community Outreach Program from the Evolve website.
For Daniel, he noticed that his gym mates were part of the outreach program, and got interested. “I’ve always wanted to contribute to society in some way, but I’ve been holding back and gave many excuses to myself over the years,” he admits. “When I saw familiar faces doing it, I asked for their feedback about the program and was strongly encouraged to try. So I spoke to Mr. Colin and he linked me up with Papa Rich, it all started from there.”
Since 2010, the Evolve Community Outreach Program has been helping the underprivileged and less fortunate through free martial arts training, life mentorship, charitable donations, gift drives, and more.
Daniel, who has been involved with the outreach program for a year, genuinely enjoys volunteering. “It’s having fun while doing something meaningful at the same time,” he shares. “Helping the kids with the physical training while playing with them really makes me feel young again.”
“There’s this overweight primary school boy who has been showing so much determination and commitment to the program and always tries his best. I once jokingly challenged him to carry me thinking he wouldn’t do it, but to my surprise, he lifted me up easily,” he laughs. “I tried to carry him after that, and I nearly fell!”
Like Daniel, Mano also has fun during his volunteer sessions. “This gives me an opportunity to let the child inside me go wild,” he says. “It’s a great stress buster and gives me immense satisfaction. I also get to watch and learn more from the person who makes this all happen, Papa Rich, who’s humble, selfless and highly motivational as well as inspirational.”
Mano, who has a level 2 in Muay Thai, feels that martial arts has played a role in making him a better volunteer. “Martial arts is about discipline and respect, and you carry that to all facets of life,” he shares.
“Although the program is called Funfit, it doesn’t mean that one just goes ahead and does whatever he or she wants to do. Instead, one has to follow the rules and guidelines. Punctuality, respecting others, giving their best during the activities, helping others, and maintaining the spirit of the games are some of the values that get instilled, and I try to follow the same in my day-to-day life.”
Daniel, who has a blue belt in BJJ and level 3 in Muay Thai, agrees. “My martial arts training helps me to stay fit enough to keep up with the pace of all these kids,” he says. “At 46, I’m glad to be able to maintain my fitness as much as possible, while acquiring self-defense skills. I’m sure I can look after myself or my family should the need arise.”
Through volunteering, Daniel finds that he leads a more fulfilling life, and he encourages others to give it a shot. “It is not difficult to be a part of the program, and it is enjoyable and flexible.”
For Mano, volunteering with the outreach program has changed his perspective on life. “The youths that I interact with through this program dream big, and are willing to learn, accept challenges, and rise to the occasion – even without the necessary means available.”
Mano also draws inspiration from the kids at the Children’s Cancer Foundation, and refers to them as “the real warriors”. “These kids are fighting cancer, and yet they’re so full of life and laughter,” he reveals. “They are stronger than us normal human beings and are a bundle of infectious energy.”
He also believes that the hour-long sessions are priceless. “One can donate money and say that he has done his bit,” shares Mano. “But the value of spending time with these youths can’t be measured. The smiles and laughter at the end of the session can’t be bought.”
Want to do your part and make a difference? Then why not sign up for the Evolve Community Outreach Program today! All you have to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and of course, get ready to change the world for the better!