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Benefits of giving reverberate broadly

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Racheal Hill was raised in a home where education was discouraged.

After her mother found the courage to go back to school and attain a nursing degree at Ivy Tech Community College – Columbus/Franklin, Racheal knew she wanted more, as well.

The road has been difficult. She graduated from McDowell Education Center and the Bartholomew County Young Mothers’ Education program while working at Subway for five years.

Having been raised with a father who struggled with substance abuse, Racheal discovered that her calling was counseling others with substance abuse issues. This coming May she will receive an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services with two concentrations – correctional rehabilitation services and substance abuse.

After graduation, she plans to transfer to Indiana Wesleyan to work toward a Bachelor of Science in addictions counseling.

There were many individuals who mentored and encouraged Racheal along the way.

One was Chris Bolt, an academic adviser and adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech who taught her first math course.

Chris said Racheal was the most positive person he had ever met and told her so.

Racheal said, “He was the first person to make me believe in myself.”

In my position as executive director of resource development, I am always reminded that giving comes in many forms.

Giving financially is a wonderful thing, and it is my job to oversee the financial contributions that come in to the college.

Giving in the form that Chris Bolt chose can’t be quantified. Chris’ one comment to Racheal was the impetus for her to succeed in her classes and in life.

The benefits of giving are well-documented.

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have discovered that the joy of giving is hardwired into our brains.

They determined that the act of giving increases activity in the midbrain — a region associated with pleasure, such as that attained through eating and exercise.

Researchers at Harvard University have concluded that giving significantly boosts happiness.

This is the season of giving and giving thanks.

We all appreciate what others have done for us.

Chris Bolt said many people have influenced his life.

“To be able to affect others in a positive way is a tremendous feeling. You can’t buy it. You can’t make it up. I am glad that my comment had a positive impact on Rachael,” Bolt said.

“I feel as if I both paid back to those who have helped me and paid forward to those who will, and I’m grateful to have had the chance to help someone else.”

Thinking about the potential of Racheal’s life and those whom she will help with her education, experience and caring, I am grateful to those who give of themselves to help others.

I’m reminded of a comment by Leo Buscaglia, the author and professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California:

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Therese Copeland is executive director of resource development at Ivy Tech Community College – Columbus/Franklin.

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