Live On. Give On. giving back with the Bakken Invitation

During our time overseas, living in New Delhi, India and Singapore, it meant a lot to me to be able to give back with my time. Living abroad as an expat wife who wasn’t employed meant I had plenty of time to dedicate hours in every day to different organizations.

Giving Back in India Naomi Hattaway


Now that I’m back in the United States, I have had to step away from gala planning and teaching English as a Second Language to kiddos from an Indian slum. These days, I find myself looking for simple ways to give back. I’m constantly on the lookout for volunteer opportunities that allow me to give back to my community and those who serve our community. Giving back doesn’t always have to be a huge, massive event or something that everyone is talking about. I’ve settled into a routine of honoring those who serve our country/communities in many different ways, including by offering a percentage of my commission from my real estate business to military, teachers, police personnel, firefighters and those in the health care industry. I also spend time volunteering at Boulder Crest Retreat in Bluemont, Virginia, offering overnight and weekend stays/retreats for wounded military personnel and their family.

Here in the United States, we’ve just finished the celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday and we are moving rapidly into the sometimes over-commercialized holiday season of December. [Tweet “There’s NO better time than now to choose YOUR own way to give back to those in your communities. #liveongiveon #sp”]

I’d love to introduce you to the Bakken Invitation.

The Bakken Invitation, by Medtronic, has chosen ten honorees from around the world in a Live On. Give On. campaign. Each of these honorees has been given a second chance at life. Due to a variety of medical issues and challenges, these honorees have faced incredible battles and truly understand the short nature of the life we are all given. They have all chosen to do spectacular things with their second chance and that inspires me. I’d like to introduce you to the honoree whose story most spoke to me.

Meet Raj.

Rajnikant Reshamwala Bakken

Nearing the age of 80, Raj started experiencing pain in his chest when exerting the slightest of energy. My own grandfather passed away after a long struggle with cardiac issues and those that suffer from problems related to cardiac issues and coronary artery disease have a special place in MY heart.

“I have been a lifelong volunteer and public service worker through various groups like the Progressive Group, the Jaycees and the Rotary Club. But it is my work with Sleeping Children Around the World that is most important to me. Their premise is simple. If you have a good night’s sleep on a decent mattress and something to cover yourself with, you will be able to get the most out of your day in school and at home. Since 1987, I’ve been locating needy children, purchasing essential items that they need such as pillows, sheets and blankets, and then coordinating distribution events to successfully reach the children. Over the years, I estimate that I have been able to help more than 75,000 young people. Then, I started having pain in my chest when walking, or when climbing the stairs. I was getting easily exhausted, and did not feel like going to the office or doing any other work involving even a little physical activity. My doctor advised that two stents should be inserted to remove blockages in my arteries.”

Read the rest of Raj’s story.


Rajnikant Reshamwala Bakken Medtronic


You may not be sure what offering you have or what talents you could lend to your community, and that’s ok! Take a look at this infograph and let the ten points really sink in with you.

What inspiration can you take away from these ten lessons? Which lesson speaks the most to you?

Medtronic Bakken Infograph


What inspires YOU to give back? How do you give of yourself in your community? What would YOU do with $100 to make a difference in your community?

Share your comment for a chance to win a $100 prepaid Visa® gift card to be used to further your volunteer efforts!


Note: Thanks to Medtronic for sponsoring today’s post and the giveaway. Gift Cards should be used to further an effort inside of your community or in some way give back. I would be honored if the winner would come back to report, and would love to do a follow up post on the topic! Gift cards will be mailed to winners the week of January 5. Participants must be 18 years or older and with a US address.



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  1. Julie says

    I am a huge animal lover. My little baby pup has gotten me through so much and I love spending time with him and getting other families set up with their own bundle of love. I volunteer with a animal rescue group close to my home and would use the money towards helping get more dogs adopted.

  2. Linda says

    My mom inspires me to give back as well as my baby cousin who has Autism. Both are amazing and hardworking individuals who mean the world to me. They give me the strength to pursue my dreams.

    I’m studying to be a nurse so I love volunteering in my field. I’ve been working with the Red Cross and have learned so much from the people that I have interacted with. I really love helping and working with the little ones. I love surprising them with little gifts to brighten their day or by having little educational parties like trivia days. I would use the money towards the kids.

  3. Denise L says

    I have a soft spot in my heart for children. We have an organization in St. Louis known as the Crisis Nursery. They help families with children (of all ages) whose parents are having trouble. I can’t think of a better cause to donate to.

  4. Marie says

    The people that I surround myself with constantly inspire me to give back. I’ve always been involved in community service activities and I have found my passion in working with underprivileged Hispanic children. I participated in the immersion program in my elementary school and I love the language and am thrilled to be able to help with translations and providing tutoring services etc. I would use the $100 to purchase teaching materials for the kids!

  5. Ann says

    I thought everyone’s story was beautiful and really love how each individual faced their obstacles with strength and courage. Clent Benson’s story was one of my favorites. I love that he is living life to it’s fullest and also helping our younger generation discover their passions.
    I volunteer at a shelter close to my home and love and appreciate the relationships that I have built there. I love hosting small events for them and would use the money towards creating more care packages for families in need.
    My children and mom inspire me to give back.


  6. Ann says

    I dedicate much of my time towards helping keep kids in my community active. I teach tennis to underprivileged kids in my community and would use the money to buy additional teaching materials and racquets.

  7. Susan Christy says

    I drive by a shelter every day on my way home from work and most of the men aren’t wearing gloves, so I would donate the money to buy them gloves, hats and warm socks.

  8. Jessica Beard says

    Wow, all of these amazing people inspire me to go after my goals and do good for others. I like David Watkin’s determination to overcome his obstacles and start running again.
    My mom does so many things for others, she really inspires me to do good things for ohters.
    I love to do things for people who are least expecting it. I would like to make care packages for people in my grandma’s nursing home. I would include a nice card, a treat, and maybe a picture drawn by my sons. I know it would brighten their day.

  9. Kristen says

    I’d love to contribute this to our local Hearing Dog program…I’ve seen the way they change the lives of both the dogs and the people they’re placed with.

  10. Thomas Murphy says

    My mom inspires me. I donate food, money, and clothes to my local shelter. I would buy food with the GC to donate if I won.

  11. HS says

    My kids inspire me to give back. I donate to food shelves and local shelters. With $100, I’ll adopt a family to help with holiday wishes and meals.

  12. Amanda Sakovitz says

    My mom always inspires me to give back.I donate food, clothes, books and toys to charity each year. It always feels good to give back. Happy holidays!

  13. Kelly D says

    My kids inspire me, because I want to set a good example for them. We donate to needy families through our church. If I won, I would donated dry goods to my local food pantry.

  14. Amy Orvin says

    My mom inspires me. She is a true giver!
    I give of myself by helping to care for some of the neighbor’s cats in my neighborhood. Those that don’t get fed right just come to my house. Everyday, twice a day, I prepare and feed them. I truly feel good about that. I would take that money and buy even MORE food and treats. I love being stocked up on it. That way I have plenty for awhile. Every month, I spend $300 at Petsmart to care for everyone including my guys. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  15. Lisa Brown says

    Kindness inspires me to give back; i would give to my local food bank or donate to charities that care for the elderly in hospices in our area.

  16. Elena says

    My mother inspires me. She takes care of a few adopted cats and dogs.
    I donate dog and cat food to our local pet shelter. If I won would buy more food for them with this gift card

  17. Mami2jcn says

    My mother inspires me. She’s currently in Colombia volunteering to help poor children in Medellin.

    I would donate diapers and formula to a local pregnancy support center.