The December Project is about doing whatever you think is good for you for 20 minutes each day of the month. Proceeds from registration fees will go to support Santas Anonymous. Left to right: Leigh-Anne (Wes) Standing, Mollie Lynch, John Clark and Candace Davis. | Supplied photo

For anyone looking for a 20-minute daily gift to yourself that helps give to others too, the December Project is beginning again in earnest on Dec. 1. 

Co-organizer of the initiative, Anna DeClercq, wants people to think of the December Project as encouragement to beat the dark winter months through one’s own wellness activities and through community support.

This is the ninth year for the grassroots effort that gets people taking care of themselves while boosting a local charity effort. 

Longtime participant DeClercq said that while this is often a difficult month for many people, and for many reasons, the December Project cuts through that and reminds people of what’s important in their lives.

“I think I’ve joined the project every year because it does harbour community,” she said. 

The project works like this: participants are asked to donate $20 by bringing it into Coco’s Cafe at 608B Patricia Street. Doing so allows them to pick up a calendar on which they can write down each of the 20-minute wellness activities that they will participate in every day during December.

Those activities can be anything that the participant considers to be good for them, not just physical activities. This is one of the ways that the program has adapted in order to be more inclusive.

“We’re trying to alleviate barriers. We’ve said 20 minutes of wellness could look like reading, painting, writing, puzzles, whatever… 20 minutes of self care and wellness that somebody wants to do, we’re happy to include,” explained DeClercq.

People can also register online by visiting jaspercommunityteamsociety.ca as well.

The money collected also goes to support the local Santas Anonymous initiative. Many people in the community, especially families, are facing tough financial times and December is usually the worst month in that regard. 

Santas Anonymous helps to provide gifts of toys to children of families facing exactly those tough situations.

To further encourage people to participate in the December Project, DeClercq said that she and the other organizers are working on establishing draw prizes for those who turn in their calendars at the end of the month. 

A social media page (found at www.facebook.com/groups/1495976267356468) will also feature posts to help spur on the momentum and get more and more people involved. 

The page features videos of people walking into Coco’s with their $20 fees, and each person exclaiming in their own manner, “I’m in.”

Being involved on social media is not a mandatory requirement for participation as it was in the past, DeClercq simply sees it as a fun way to make December a positive month for one and for all.

“It’s a community-building project. I just think it hits the two pieces of wellness: taking care of yourself, but then giving to others,” she said.

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Nov 30, 2022 at 12:00

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta

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