Lending a helping hand this holiday season

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THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS A PERFECT TIME TO REFLECT ON OUR BLESSINGS AND SEEK OUT WAYS TO MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR THOSE AROUND US. TERRI MITCHELL

Dear Readers,

A few years ago, a friend of mine taught me the true meaning of the holiday season when she dragged me with her to volunteer at the Metropolitan Ministries. As we joined hundreds of other fellow Tampanians loading up grocery carts full of toys and gifts, I realized nothing quite says Christmas like a little selfless service alongside your fellow citizens.

Amanda Smith, Editor
Amanda Smith, Editor

While my service ended with a smile from the last family to check out of the Metropolitan Ministries line, there are many who have crafted their lives around fulfilling the role as a community servant – some well-known, and some lesser so, but both changing so many lives they’ve lost count. The interview with local news anchor Steve Andrews is astounding in the sheer mass of people he has helped over his decades at News Channel 8 as the official face of the segment, “8 on Your Side.” Steve’s been on your side alright, taking down everything from dog bandits to questionable car dealership owners – and his personal favorite, a corrupt politician or two. As he investigates cases of public wrongdoing in search of all that all too rare sweet taste of justice, Andrews “gives a voice to the voiceless” as he calls it, standing up for the little guys who feel taken advantage of by larger institutions with the money and power to get away with just a little too much. Read our Q&A feature with Steve Andrews this month, as he recalls the best of his investigative reporting career and shares common holiday pitfalls to avoid being swindled this year. The work he has done for the community of Tampa Bay is no small feat, and the breadth with which his passion for exposing those in power taking advantage of the weak offers hope to a nation still nursing an epic post-election hangover.

While Andrews graces your television screen nightly, regaled as Tampa Bay’s most recognized and honored Investigative team. reporter – with seven Emmys to prove it, there are other heroic acts of helping hands happening a little quieter, in the hushed halls of the Temple Terrace branch of the Taoist Tai Chi society, as veteran instructor Dr. Brian Lau, AP, DOM, C. SMA, guides students through the ancient art of Tai Chi.

Just two suites down from the Tai Chi practice in the Sherwood Forest business plaza on 56th Street, Lau rounds out his Tai Chi instruction mastery with a thriving eastern medicine practice, aptly titled the Ideal Balance Center for Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine. This month’s issue also features a very exciting interview from Lau, as he reveals how this ancient art form is far more than a physical endeavor, but a deeply inner-healing experience, with the capacity to increase our propensity towards patience and compassion – both often increasingly needed as the holiday season kicks in to full swing.

Not only does Lau share how this can help especially at this time of year, he also shares story after story of lives changed through his community work. Imagine, a quiet little practice that can help you maintain that inner-calm and inner-peace we’re all looking for…but Lau shares much more than that, he tells stories of Tai Chi practitioners whose lives have been transformed over the course of learning this aging art as their inner-peace permeated interpersonal relationships, digestion, you name it. Enjoy this issue demonstrating how giving to your community is not only inspiring but fulfilling, anytime of year.

Happy Holidays,
Amanda Smith

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