On the 7th. day of Christmas, a Jamaican gave to me..

The Invisible Gift of Social Responsibility: “Time”

Time - our most precious asset

Everyone gives in their own way. Some people give through financial donation. Some people give through giving away their old clothing. On the other hand, some people just simple do nothing. They feel that their own despair means that they cannot give something to others. However, they are wrong.

There is that invisible element that we all have and it is called “time.” Unfortunately, some people are not aware of the struggles of others around them. The lack of empathy causes individuals to not identify with the needs, circumstances, and despair of others. Thus, they simple become narcissistic and operate within their own bubble. The act of being socially responsible can only be executed by those that understand that empathy is the first step to being able to help others even if all you have is “time” to donate. Fortunately, for me, while growing up in Jamaica, I had my bubble burst and my journey towards understanding the gift of giving my “time” began.

What a gift

In case you are not familiar with the dynamics of Jamaican school system back then, let me clue you in. You had to look completely ironed and tucked. My dear mother made it all happen. The woman just simply loved braiding two braids to each side. Then, there was always a big one on the top that came down in my face. Then there was at least two more in a row going to the back. It was an art. My mother was the artist. It was a daily neighborhood competition when I saw all my friends. Boy, did we laugh at each other sometimes and thought: what on earth was your mother thinking this morning when she combed your hair?

Sharing is caring

After school, I remembered being six years old and having the chore of washing dishes. I hated chores. I mean, I really really hated it. Sometimes, there was this man that looked homeless just sitting by the tank where I had to fetch the water. Some days I thought to myself: Why is he homeless? Where is his family? Back then, I was stuck in my child-like frame of mind. However, there was one distinguished characteristics that I had that was different from some of my other friends: I would always care about the well-being of others such as the homeless man. I would always wonder about the homeless man’s needs.

You do not have to give material things to practice social responsibility. Some ways that you can give back through that magic and invisible gift, “time,” are by:
• Volunteering at a homeless shelter
• Writing and giving a voice to social issues
• Pass on resources that you have-I can truly look back and remember how Rachel Lafontant (Owner of ITIAH) and I stayed up late at our business office exchanging business ideas.

The power of a social community

As you can see, it does not take much to give. I remember many who have helped me along the way in my business and education success such as my mother Dwennett Wright, Mark Engel-Owner of Pro Gems Jewelry, Rachel Lafontant-ITIAH: Caribbean Art and creator of Angel’s Haiti, Tammy Martin-Owner of Learning Better Dialogue, and my aunt Ingrid Peart-Wilmot. As an adult, I created Wheatle Peart, a nonprofit and social initiative designing and management company to meet the need of others. I left Jamaica and went on to graduate from Northwestern University with a BA in Political Science, earn an MBA, and now working on my Doctorate in Business. I have learned that sometimes all people need from us is that simple magic thing call “time.”

Gift Giver - Tonietta Wheatle

[email protected]
(312) 283.8750 Phone

Tonietta Wheatle is the Founder of Wheatle Peart. Wheatle Peart is a social consulting business that helps businesses become socially responsible and financially sustainable through assisting them design or manage their social service programs and projects. In 2007, Tonietta Wheatle started the Wheatle Peart Youth Economic Development Business Seminar, which teaches youth around the world about the global economy, technology innovations, personal/professional development, and how businesses can create community and economic development sustainability.

In addition, Wheatle Peart also hosts Wheatle Peart Global Movers Network, which is a network that brings CEOs, VPs, and Social Innovators together from different countries including Africa, USA, and Jamaica. The mission is to get businesses to become socially responsible and launch communities. She has created the Wheatle Peart Executive Global Business Reception (Chicago), which was held on May 7, 2010 in Chicago, as way a to bring them all together. The next reception in Spring 2012 and all attendees must be a registered Global Movers member In presence were people such as Tammy Martin-Learning Better Dialogue (Atlanta), Azubike Okoro-Africa, and many others.

Currently, Tonietta Wheatle sits on the Steering Committee for Technology for Humanity, which has distributed over 10,000 refurbished computers to low income families in Chicago. She is a member of the Metropolitan Club, the Business Alliance Committee, and the Women Committee. She is also a guest speaker for Truman College’s Financial Literacy Symposium Part 1 and 2.

About the author


I am an entrepreneur whose focus is on helping small businesses deploy internet marketing tools to leverage new customers and profits. I believe in the survival of the knitted, and thus champion those who are making a difference in our community.