Season of Giving

As we turn the calendar to December, our thoughts turn to the season of giving and we begin searching for that perfect gift for our loved ones.  It was so much easier when my kids were little as their wish lists were endless and fairly easy to satisfy.  First there was the Thomas the Tank Engine trains or Pokemon cards which progressed into the latest Game Boy games or PS1 games like NBA Live (Bulls vs. Lakers) to more mature gifts of the newest aftershave or clothes.  We’re at the point now where it’s not so much a gift that is desired, but an experience.  Perhaps a family trip or a new camera lens to help record memories and experiences.  We provided experiences when they were young including the annual family trip to a play in December, a visit to Christmas around the World, Marshall Field’s, Brookfield Zoo at night and the list went on.  The reality is that there was far more value in the experiences versus the gifts. 

I am fortunate to have a job where I get to provide the gift of “experiences” to children and adults through the support of the Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation®.  The people I touch might not otherwise have the opportunities that are afforded to them.  Just last month the Foundation funded our Agriculture Leadership Academy where high school students were able to meet with employees and executives of three Chicago ag-related companies to see firsthand what they produce and what job opportunities exist in this field.  That same month over 100 high school students learned how to teach agriculture activities to their preschool students that are housed in their classroom twice a week.  And that same month five middle and high school teachers received grants of $300 to teach the connection between agriculture and food science using dairy, meat and vegetables in their classroom lessons.  The Foundation enables us to give the gift of learning each and every month through our educational outreach efforts. A student quote from one of these programs was a gift to me. “I heard a speaker today who told the group that just because someone tells you that you can’t, doesn’t mean it’s not possible”. Our sincere thank you to all who donate to the foundation as you are providing a gift to all those we impact, not only during this season of giving but throughout the year.