21 unexpected ways to give back and do good on Black Friday.
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Old Navy Cozy Socks

Thanksgiving is around the corner and you know what that means ... Black Friday and all its beautiful madness is almost upon us.

Photo by Powhusku/Flickr.

Sure, it's crowded and intense, but those glorious sales make it worth it, right? Maybe you'll find that game system your kids have been begging for marked down 50% or a pair of earrings you could never justify buying for yourself until the price hit the floor. Regardless of why someone chooses to spend their post-Turkey Day weaving through hoards of sale-hungry folks, there's always a big payoff.


Of course, all that retail therapy can sometimes make you feel a wee bit selfish too. After all, even though you're taking advantage of massive sales, there are many people who don't have that luxury.

With that in mind, we challenge you to take some of that shopping energy you've stored up for Black Friday and give it back. There are plenty of little ways you can be generous to others while still being good to yourself and your loved ones.

Photo via iStock.

Together, with a little bit of ingenuity, we can make Black Friday a day of giving as well as a day of getting.

Here are 21 ways you can be generous on Nov. 24.

1. First things first: out with the old and in with the new.

Photo via iStock.

Since you're already planning on bringing home new stuff, why not go through your old clothes, shoes, and appliances first and see if there's anything you can give away?

If you're not sure what's accepted or where to bring your stuff, RecycleNow can help.

2. Heading out super early in the morning to Black Friday sales? Bring donuts and coffee.

Photo by Powhusku/Flickr.

You don't have to bring enough for everyone, but the people shivering near you in line will become your best friends.

3. On your way to the sales, why not pick up some fellow shoppers and save the environment while you save money?

Put the word out that you're going shopping on Black Friday and can offer rides to anyone else who wants to come. You'll be doing right by the planet and making shopping buddies.

4. Once you're in the stores, you can shop and give back at the same time.

While you're out braving the malls and stores, pick up some basic undershirts, socks, underwear, etc., and donate them to your local clothing bank. Often, people throw away their undergarments because they assume no one will want them used.

5. And hold the door for people while you're at it.

They may not always say "thank you," but trust me, if they're carrying a ton of bags, they'll appreciate it.

6. Be sure to pick up some cozy socks for a good cause too.

Cozy socks! Photo via Old Navy.

This is not a drill: Old Navy will be selling these super cozy socks for $1 a pair on Black Friday, and all the profits up to $1 million will go directly to Boys & Girls Clubs.

7. Do even more for Boys & Girls Clubs of America while you're at it.

For over 157 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has been helping kids achieve their dreams and reach their full potential. You can donate to their cause here and volunteer at your local BGCA here.

8. Maybe also buy a gift for a friend who's been having a tough time.

Little gestures like that mean the world, especially when they're unexpected. Plus it'll give them the opportunity to talk to someone who cares.

9. And on your way home from the sales, why not swing by a homeless shelter?

Image via iStock.

With your Black Friday haul in tow, you could likely find a shelter on your route that would be eager for some help on the holiday weekend. Maybe bring them some of your Thanksgiving leftovers? Here's a handy directory to find a homeless shelter near you.

10. Or visit with a lonely senior citizen.

After all, many doorbusters are over late night Thursday/early morning Friday, so you could have the whole day to visit a nursing home or assisted living center. You have no idea what a difference a warm face and pleasant conversation can make.

11. If you're not squeamish, giving blood is always a good move too.

Photo via iStock.

I know giving blood can make some people queasy, but since you probably ate a lot the day before, there's very little chance you'll pass out from it. And, more importantly, your donation might save a life.

You can donate blood to most hospitals, but they will likely require a mini-physical first to check your vitals. Find our more here.

12. Or, if you hate needles, go play with puppies and kittens at a shelter.

Photo via iStock.

Not only will volunteering at a local animal shelter improve the lives of pets waiting for a forever home, you'll probably have a blast doing it. And who knows, you may end up falling in love with one of the critters and taking them home with you. That's certainly one fantastic way to brighten your holiday weekend.

13. You can also help incarcerated families give gifts to their loved ones.

Angel Tree allows you to give donations to incarcerated people so they can buy their families gifts for the holiday season.

14. Or you can sponsor a family in need online.

Considering you just enjoyed a gorgeous Thanksgiving meal with your family, it seems only fitting to give back by helping another family receive the same.  Family-to-family allows you to sponsor a family in need by paying for a monthly box of groceries to be sent to their house.

15. You can also start a donation page on Facebook.

Yes, you can make a much bigger contribution to your charity of choice than you realize. Here's where to start.

16. And send assistance to hurricane/natural disaster victims.

The aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Dominica. Photo by Roosevelt Skerrit/Flickr.

In terms of catastrophic weather and natural disasters, this year has been particularly unforgiving. There are so many families still struggling to rebuild after Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria and the wildfires in California, so anything you're able to give will no doubt be much appreciated.

17. Rather be active? Start a game of capture the flag or touch football in your neighborhood.

You can knock on doors or send an email to see if nearby kids (or adults) could use some fun, aerobic activity.  

18. Less sports and more craft-inclined? Try making a little free library.

All you need is a small cupboard that will fit several books and something to sit it on, and you've got a mini public library. Create a little sign that says something like, "take a book, but please return or replace it with one of your own."

19. Speaking of books, you can volunteer at your local library too.

Photo via iStock.

If your library is open on Black Friday, you can offer your reading skills to kids' reading hours or, if you'd rather not perform, just help organize the stacks.

20. Spend the day writing thank-you notes to all your favorite local merchants.

It's such a nice, personal way to show local business owners that their presence in the neighborhood matters to you and your family.

21. And last, but definitely not least, you can fulfill the holiday wish of a child in need.

Through donations, school drives, and crowdfunding, the incredible organization Family Giving Tree acts as Santa Claus for children in disadvantaged communities. The goal is not only to make their lives better but to inspire philanthropy and kindness in people all over the world.

You can learn more about starting your own drive for this wonderful cause here.

Whether you shop, watch sports, hang with your family, or just chill at home in your new cozy socks, there are so many ways to give back on Black Friday.

All it takes is a generous spirit and a little out-of-the-box thinking to make the day about so much more than unbelievable deals.

It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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