You don’t have to be Bill Gates or have a million dollars to be a philanthropist.
In her new book How to be an Everyday Philanthropist, Red Deer author Nicole Bouchard Boles gives people hundreds of ideas for how they can contribute to their community and world no matter what their income or how much free time they have.
Bouchard Boles, 36, started to collect ideas for helping out about six years ago. She came across a magazine article that listed ways to help your community, like knitting hats for the homeless or recycling your old cellphone.
“It made sense to me and it was something I could do and something I could do from home,” she said.
Bouchard Boles started looking for other ways she could give back. She realized she couldn’t be the only person who was looking for opportunities like this and so she decided to write a book to take the guesswork out of it for other people.
“I really wanted to create a road map for those people who want to make a difference but have no idea where to start. I was one of them,” said Bouchard Boles.
She said when she started writing the book, she was expecting her first child and couldn’t volunteer long-term or give a lot of money. However, she said everybody has something they can contribute to a cause they care about.
“Especially right now with the economy being what it is, money is not something everyone can donate,” she said. “But not every situation calls for money and that is what this book is about. If you can’t donate money right now, there are still things you can do that can have a great impact. It’s really about shifting your focus.”
Bouchard Boles gets her charitable streak from her parents. She grew up in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and her parents always gave back to the communities where they lived. “They would be what I consider everyday philanthropists. When they saw a need, they would fill it,” she said.
In particular, she remembers one Christmas a family in their community didn’t have anything for the holiday season and her parents filled up an actual clothes hamper with items and set it on the family’s front step.
Bouchard Boles still volunteers, doing the Salvation Army Kettle campaign in the past and helping cuddle babies at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. She also shares the spirit of giving back with her three young children.
She has lived in Red Deer for 20 years and is a graduate of the Red Deer College business administration program. She has written since she was a child.
In the past, Bouchard Boles worked at Telus but is now focused on raising her three children with her husband Eric Boles.
Her book was published in November and has been featured on Newsweek, Martha Stewart Living Radio, the Ladies Home Journal and many more publications. Bouchard Boles is pleased with the letters and emails she has received about how the book has helped people.
She will sign books for fans at Chapters, where her book is available, on Jan. 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. More information is available on her book at www.nicolebouchardboles.com