How I'm Giving Back

This post is sponsored by Frost Bank.

When was the last time you were generous? With your time? With your money? With your words? It's extremely easy to get caught up in your own life, and forget about others that are in need emotionally, financially or physically. Believe me, I'm always caught up in my own world. I think about my kids nd my finances, but rarely focus on others outside of my immediate family. 

Frost Bank believes generosity spurs optimism, and they are on a mission to make the world a more optimistic place! I can get on board with that which is why I chose to volunteer with Candlelight Ranch located in Marble Falls, TX. Today I'm sharing more about this amazing non-profit and tips on how you can be more optimistic and generous.

When Frost asked me to choose a non-profit to highlight I research CultureMap's Charity Guide and immediately chose Candlelight Ranch because of my father. See my dad had a huge heart for special needs children and horse therapy. For many years he volunteered with these types of camps, and even worked for the state school. When I arrived at Candlelight Ranch I passed Turner road, and when I was given a tour of the property I was told the "Turner family first owned this land and had 9 children here." My jaw dropped...Turner is my maiden name, and what I named my first son. I knew my Dad was looking down upon me in that moment.

Candlelight Ranch provides therapeutic and educational nature-based experiences to enrich the lives of at-risk youth, children with disabilities, and their families. It's located on 40 acres in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Their programs include;

- CHILDREN IN NATURE: Customized, accessible nature programming for children with disabilities or who are at-risk

- MILITARY FAMILY DAYS: Assisting families in teamwork, stress reduction, communication and fun

- FAMILIES IN NATURE: For special needs, adoptive and foster families to grow together in a safe and supportive environment

- CAMP DREAMCATCHER: 3-day summer camp for children who are survivors of trauma. Children participate in science, nature and ecotherapy activities.

- CORPORATE RETREATS: The perfect venue to host a corporate retreat, team-building session or group event.

The day I volunteered they were hosting a group of inner-city Austin kiddos. Many of the children don't get to experience the country, and they were loving it! It was a joy to watch the children zipline, hunt for insects, kayak, fish, paint, and play in the water. They also have a high ropes challenge course, archery, horse therapy and a playground. One of the coolest features was one of the state's only wheel chair accessible tree houses. It was an amazing sight, and I realized how I take for granted being able to climb up into a treehouse. With this special treehouse these children get their first chance, and there are even bunkbeds so they can stay overnight!

To be honest, I haven't volunteered in years, and it felt so good to give back. I met a woman who volunteers with her 16-year-old son, and she said it's one of their favorite activities as a family. They serve, enrich children's lives, and bond as a family. I would love to bring my kids along one day! Being generous has many benefits including better overall health, lowers stress, improves relationships, extends our lives, and makes us happy through triggering of feel-good chemicals like endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin.

Frost is dedicated to generosity which boosts optimism! Optimism is the self-fulfilling spark that strengthens relationships and turns life's hurdles into opportunities. It can be a catalyst to better physical, emotional and financial health. Did you know optimists experience 145 fewer days of financial stress a year and are 7x as likely to experience financial health compared to pessimists?

If you live in Texas and are interested in volunteering check out CultureMap's Charity Guide which lists hundreds of non-profits who could use your help either through volunteering or a financial donation.

Learn more about Frost's Opt for Optimism mission and research here https://www.optforoptimism.com/optimism/quiz/?utm_source=collect&utm_medium=influencer&utm_campaign=giveback&utm_content=jc-quiz, and I encourage you to stay optimistic even through life's struggles!

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