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Gift Giving vs. "Gift Being"

Christmas with Realogile's Infinite Family Net Buddies in South Africa

Often, the US can come across as a kind of benevolent and capricious Santa figure. We ostentatiously dole out the gifts, but you have to be "good" to get them...good as determined by some parental formula of behaving according to "our" standards.

When it comes to children that I've worked with in South Africa, that expectation of generosity from individual US citizens can be the same.

At Infinite Family, we tell the children and their mentors that we believe "The Gift is YOU". The gift of time, attention, shared laughter, insight and experience are the gifts we bring to one another across the thousands of miles that separate us...all through using the gift of video technology.

The children understand this. They like the idea of being a gift to someone. As a weekly gift to their mentor, they inspire in surprising ways. They bring delight. They bring their willingness to love and be loved by a stranger so far away.

And so, the children of Infinite Family don't generally ask for anything...except your being...your being with them in their journey of growing up and becoming a gift to the world.

These relationships transform more than individual lives...they change perspective. A perspective change that says something about the US as a nation.

By "being with" someone through the process of mentoring, we make a statement that "we believe in you". We believe that by walking with you, we will witness your success, your blossoming into the best you can be.

Instead of holding up a yardstick by which someone is measured, mentoring holds up a mirror and helps you measure yourself by your own expectations and hopes.

So, during January, National Mentoring Month, we encourage everyone to give a gift, by being a gift. We hope you will consider giving your gift through Infinite Family.

Visit our website at to be a gift or give a gift.

Infinite Family. Infinite Possibilities.


Fatima Waziri's picture

Infinite family is doing an

Infinite family is doing an amazing job. Kids needs to be nurtured not just by their immediate family but by the world.


Dana Gold's picture

The world of mentoring!

Hi Fatima,

It is very true that the children of the world need all of us...and Infinite Family does make that possible. We have mentors in South Africa, the UK, Europe, Australia as well as in the US!

Nusrat Ara's picture

Lovely! I think these are

Lovely! I think these are pearls of wisdom. And you make it sounds so easy, believable and achievable.
Thanks for the post. Do keep writing.

Lots of Love


Noviolet Bulawayo's picture

reclaiming humanity!

thank you for your good work, Dana. i find this a fresh concept in a world where gift automatically denotes tangibles, and material things at the expense of the self. i imagine that if these children see themselves as a gift to someone, then the more they are going to be proud, responsible, strive for betterness, etc, as they push to become the best gift they can be, not just to their mentor, but to those around them as well. this is inspiring, and i will be visiting your site!

"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcome, but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive." -- Audre Lorde

Dana Gold's picture

gift being...

Thanks for the comments!

One of the most transformative actions I ever took in my career, was to hang a sign. I hung a banner over the door of a homeless men's halfway house that said:

"This is a House of Heroes"

Being seen as a gift or a hero, instead of someone who is dependent, broken and needy makes a profound difference.

erica's picture

help safe a street child

Subject: Cooperation inquiry

Dear Sir/Madam;

our organization NDOP Handicraft Association in Cameroon is partner of the GoodHands Development Network which is an international community of non-profit organizations who support orphans and street children.

Together with Goodhands we have built an online network project called Experts Without Borders (EWB). EWB is a volunteering community which serves our non-profit organizations (NPO’s) with free consultation for individual projects. Projects such as fighting global poverty and developing solutions for self-help worldwide

We are looking for experts/professionals like you who can partner with us to offer their skills in building this social mission. We need creativity, innovation and technologies to develop self-help structures for the less fortunate communities in society.

Your contribution will not only have a great importance to the people who will benefit but to you as well as you will have a chance to change someone’s life, forever. It is for this reason that we are looking forward to working together with you.

More Information about our network you will find at

We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,

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