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"Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."

- Lao-Tzu, Ancient Chinese philosopher

Giving Back

By Mark Chaves on 25 October 2012

What does “giving back” mean to you? For many people, giving back means donating money to a worthy cause, volunteering time and skills, or maybe a combination of both. There are a plethora of causes to give back to and there is an overwhelming amount of organizations that would gladly welcome your money or your time. Where does one start? This particular choice has always been somewhat challenging for me.

When I was living in Southern California, I was fortunate to discover an organization that shared my love for the outdoors and my love for giving back. The organization is Outdoor Outreach (OO). OO provides an amazing heartfelt opportunity to connect people like me to the not-so-fortunate youth of the inner city. I believe that when we are out there, in the desert, in the ocean or on the mountain slope – devoid of any political, social or religious agenda and dogmas – our “false” selves disappear and our true self comes forth. Therefore, the beauty of OO is its gift of empowerment. OO empowers youth to be themselves in an organic way using our essential relationship to nature.

Now I live in Bali. Bali is full of NGOs (Nongovernmental organizations). But after volunteering my days off at a handful of various local NGOs, I actually felt a growing amount of frustration. This frustration stemmed from my sense of futility from trying to introduce beneficial changes for Bali’s people and environment. It was during a moment of frustration and deep reflection that I realized something important. I don’t have to depend on NGOs to help Bali. I have everything needed to reach out on my own: a team of Balinese guides, a rock climbing wall, rock climbing equipment, a supportive boss, and the qualifications/experience for teaching rock climbing. Taking inspiration from OO, I decided to setup a program to invite Balinese youth from a local school to learn how to rock climb. The program was designed and launched early in October 2012 with the first class at the end of October 2012. The team and I can hardly wait. Stay tuned for more details about the program and an update on the class sessions!

Mark is a Yoga Instructor based in Bali. Prior to moving to Bali, Mark lived in America working in software and teaching Yoga, surfing, snowboarding, and rock climbing. Mark actively volunteers his time teaching community Yoga classes, working at animal shelters, teaching rock climbing and supporting local coral reef conservation projects.

About the author


mark l chaves

Independent Consultant, Writer, & Photographer

Mark became a consultant, writer, and photographer after working in the software industry for 20 years in Fortune 500 companies. He recently transitioned from his roles as a Wellness Consultant and…  Read full bio

mark@marklchaves.com