Wendy Gladney (Courtesy Photo)

For over 30 years, I have owned a company that started as an event management firm.  I was blessed to work with some of the best companies, organizations, and individuals helping them with various events.  I especially appreciated when I was able to work with groups that not only held an amazing event, but their main goal was to party with a purpose.  Their desire was to raise funds and awareness to help others.    

Recently, various Black professional groups and organizations came together to do just that. Spearheaded by Kerry Neal and KeepingIt100LA, Inc., others such as The Bella Network (Women of Color Supporting Each Other), the African American Alliance Fund (from the Orange County Community Foundation), Dr. Carla Michelle, and Black in Orange County held a holiday party and had their guests bring gifts to donate back to the work of Forgiving For Living, Inc., a nonprofit that has been around since 1999.  Forgiving For Living uplifts young women to be the best they can be by providing them with life skills and mentorship.   

There are a lot of people who provide lip service and say they will do certain things in life, but when people follow through, it is amazing the lives that can be touched. Helping others does not have to be a heavy load on one person or even one group. When like-minded people come together with a heart of caring and compassion so much can be accomplished and during the holidays, we can even have fun doing it.   

Kerry Neal, the founder of this annual event, has had a long-time relationship with the work of Forgiving For Living and he felt this year he wanted to do something to support the work and give others the opportunity to participate as well. Touching the life of a youth today can bring about positive results for their future.  Just showing that we care, and they matter can make all the difference in the world. 

We are smack dab in the middle of the holiday season and there will be so many activities, lunches, dinners, and parties to celebrate the various holidays during this time.  If you can try to wrap a theme to your party that will uplift and help others, you will put purpose in your get-together.  There are many causes to support, whether you want to donate money to help other countries in warfare, help a family in need right next door, or give shelter to someone in the cold during these winter months.   

One thing is for sure; there is no shortage of needs that each of us can help make a difference. Sometimes the issues in our world seem overwhelming, but if each of us makes a choice to do what we can, together we can put at least a dent in the problems.   

As for me and my house, we celebrate the birth of Christ not just during the holiday season but all year round.  Whatever your faith, we wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.  One thing life has taught me is that time is short, and we should make sure we spend time with those we love and help those in need.   

Most of us have more than we will ever really need or use.  If you cannot afford to go out and buy new things to help someone out, clean out your closet, take some canned goods out of your pantry, or simply open the doors of your home and invite someone in.  You can have your own party with a purpose right in your own house.  


Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on. 


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.