This post is part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who are making a difference in their communities.
Ashley Tierra Thomas, Founder & Executive Director, The Hive Community Circle
What inspired you to start giving?
Giving for me is a part of my family and ancestors legacy. We have always been taught to reach back, reach up, reach out and give back to others. Servanthood is the greatest gift that one can give to another.
What does giving mean to you? Why do you continue to give your time, talents, money, or more to your community?
Giving to me means selfless service. Giving transcends money, as I give in many other ways. As a the founder and ED of my organization The Hive, I saw it necessary as a survivor to create a community for marginalized survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence that is safe and empowering something that I could not find when I decided to tell my story. I recognize that my organization fills a void in the community and one day it will fill the void globally creating a community where all survivors can heal and thrive not just because of me but because of the others who join our efforts and give of themselves effortlessly.
What would you tell others who are looking to start giving back? Share a piece of advice will help them get started.
I would challenge them to identify ways in which they may already be giving and if they can increase that capacity continue to do so. Each day we should wake up looking to give to someone whether we are sharing money, kindness, hope, or love we should never be so consumed with ourselves that we live each day without giving.
Please share a favorite moment or story from when you volunteered or donated to an organization.
One of my favorite experiences I have had with giving was as a school social worker in SE Washington D.C. at St. Thomas More Catholic School I took our 8th grade students and we held a Christmas party for families and children in a transitional shelter. It was so fulfilling to see the smiles on their faces and provide them with a gift for Christmas. To bring some joy into their lives and give them a moment to escape their realities of not having their own home a place to call their own. We take having our personal homes for granted not realizing that there are many who go without one every day!