Giving Back to Help Others

December 4, 2017

Last Sunday I spent the day decorating for Christmas, at the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission Family Shelter, together with a whole bunch of other wonderful volunteers. It’s truly an amazing organization that helps families rehabilitate from being homeless and gets them back on their feet.  I love the idea of using my design talents to help people that are less fortunate than me.  This time of year can be filled with shopping and gift giving and getting together with family and friends. It’s a very happy time for most people.  However, there are many people for which it is not such a happy time.  They are the depressed or unemployed or ill or homeless. They might be grieving because they have recently lost a loved one.  I can always donate money to good causes, which I do, but this felt so much more personal. My friend, Karla, who is also a designer, came with me and we had a great time.  We met some other interesting people who were volunteering.  Most important, I know it will make a huge difference for the homeless people who will be in the shelter over the holiday season.  Especially the children.

My son, Eric, was teasing me, when I told him that I was going to do this.  He said to me “why?”, and I said “because this is how I can give back”.  My son, is in the Special Forces.  He’s a Green Beret who often risks his life to help people less fortunate then him.  I can’t do that, but I can decorate Christmas trees to make children happy.  He said he was kidding and he thought it was great!  We can’t all do what he does, and we do so appreciate what he does.  I’m so proud of him.  But, we can use whatever talents we do have to make people’s lives better in some small way.  I like to do things like this year round (I’ve helped decorate for charitable events) and not just over the holidays, but especially now, there are so many opportunities to jump in and be generous.

Christmas decorating, giving back, San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, volunteering, christmas tree, interior design

I was actually invited to come help, along with a whole lot of other people, by Emily Henderson, the HGTV Star and hugely successful design blogger.  I don’t know if any of you are familiar with her, but she is fabulous and I had the pleasure of working with her to design all the window treatments for her new home last year.  So, she was organizing this event, with Target donating a ton of Christmas decorations, since Emily is a spokesperson for Target.

Xmas 2

I think that the families and kids that live in the shelter this holiday season will be so pleased to see what we’ve done to make their space more festive.

Do any of you have any ideas for other ways to give back this holiday season using your own personal expertise or gifts? I would love to hear your ideas.  Please share them in the comments.  Thanks and Happy Holidays to everyone!!


  • Joanne Hawes says:

    So proud of you giving back not just with money but with a piece of yourself! Great example for all of us.

    • Thank you, Joanne. You help people and especially children everyday, in your job. That’s a wonderful thing! But, some of us need to work harder to make an effort to think about others. I like to think that when I design a beautiful space for a client, that I am making a difference in their lives. But, they are paying me to do that for them and when you do it for those less fortunate out of the kindness of your heart, it feels good.

  • Lauren Downey says:

    What great great thing to do, Karen. Tikkun olam at its best and is a great example for us all.

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