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|| News Item: Posted 2007-12-17

The Holiday Season Is Here: 'Tis the Season
By Darrell Miho

Photo by

Miho plays Santa. Due to the sensitive nature of the women's shelter's residents, for privacy and safety reasons, the child's face is blurred.
Loving. Sharing. Giving. May every day be Christmas. For many years, this been my inner Christmas wish for myself and for those around me. That we remember to love, share and give to others. Not just in December, not just with friends and family, but every day and with people we don't even know.

Four years ago, I wrote "The Heart of Giving" ( to encourage people to donate their time and/or money to a charity whose missions they believed in. Rather than repeat what I had already written, I hope that you will take the time to read that past story and take to heart the spirit of giving and find time in your busy schedules to make it happen throughout the year.

This past Saturday, I once again got the opportunity to play Santa. This time, it was for the Asian Pacific Women's Center's annual Christmas Party for their residents. APWC ( is a shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence. These women have made the difficult decision to take control of their lives rather than be controlled and abused. Often times, they leave with nothing except the hope for a better life for themselves and their children.

Everybody needs hope. Without it, we would have nothing to look forward to. For some, that hope is for a new car or a new camera. For others, it is hope for a new beginning or a job. One little girl said to me, "Santa, next year can you bring me a doll?" That doll would give this girl hope for her future because Santa doesn't give gifts to "naughty" kids.

Giving, doesn't have to be in the form of the biggest or the most expensive. The most valuable gift of all is actually the one that costs the least - our time.

So I encourage everyone in SportsShooterland to donate your time (and money should you feel the need) to a worthy charity that you believe in and make a difference. What is most important is that you find a worthy cause that you are passionate about, something that will keep you motivated year after year. Perhaps a family member has cancer, or you have a love for animals. There are plenty of charities to choose from that cover everything from Aids to the Zoo.

Donate your time. Volunteer at fundraisers, feed the homeless, clean up the city, go Christmas caroling at the hospital or retirement home, be a mentor. Finding good volunteers is sometimes harder than finding funding.

Donate your services. Non-profits are always in need of great pictures to help illustrate their needs or document their events. What a great way to use your talent. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Great pictures help them tell their story and get more funding.

Donate your artwork. Many charities hold silent auctions to help raise money. A free portrait sitting plus an 11x14 print. Or perhaps you have an autographed photo of an athlete. An autographed photo Rod Mar took of Ichiro Suzuki brought in over $500 for the Asian American Journalists Association.

And of course, you could always donate some money. Any amount is better than nothing. If every member of donated $20, that would be over $30,000 of financial assistance!!! Some of you also work for companies that have corporate matching programs. Take advantage of it. Your donation just doubled!

The ways you can help are as endless as your imagination. The rewards are priceless. Giving comes from the heart. The rewards you gain are the ones you find. The joy in a child's smile. The comfort of knowing someone won't go to sleep with an empty stomach. The relationships you build working alongside other like-minded individuals will last a lifetime. These are the rewards money can't buy but will stay with you forever.

Ok, so I lied about not repeating what I wrote several years ago, but I felt it wouldn't hurt to repeat some of the things I had said. If we all do a little, together we can accomplish a lot. So my not-so-secret wish during this holiday season is that we all do a little to give hope to others throughout the year.

Loving. Sharing. Giving. May every day be Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or ???).

(Darrell Miho is a Southern California-based freelance photographer. He is also the director of the Garrett Miho Foundation

Related Links:
Miho's member page

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