December 15, 2023


The beauty of giving, especially during the holidays, is something that touches hearts and creates a ripple of joy and positivity. This week, I once again got to experience this incredible feeling through my daughter, Maya Pace. 

Maya founded the non-profit, GIFTS – Good for Inmates Families to Share while I was incarcerated because she realized that so many children would not get presents during the holidays. This initiative started while I was in prison and is close to my heart. Maya helps to ensure that children with incarcerated parents receive Christmas gifts, bringing hope and strengthening family bonds. Maya goes beyond just gift-giving; she supports these kids, offering a supportive community and helping them develop other skills during the year to break free from the challenges they face. It’s a profound example of the impact giving can have on those in need.

The true holiday spirit, for me, lies in the act of giving. It’s not just about the recipients; it’s about the fulfillment it brings to the giver. Whether it’s organizing a holiday food drive, teaching kids about empathy and hunger, or giving your time and resources through volunteering, there are countless ways to give back during this special season. And let’s not forget the significance of thoughtful gift-giving, where the focus is on the recipient’s perspective and the meaningfulness behind the gift.

To see the joy on Maya’s face as she hands each child a gift is memorable and so special. Maya and her brother, Kyler, have been through serious adversity at a young age. But, they still recognize how privileged they are surrounded by opportunities and other resources that many do not have. The smiles Maya receives with great hugs is her holiday gift to herself.

Giving, especially to those facing tough times, captures the heart and soul of the holiday season. It’s a reminder of the power of compassion, empathy, and community in making a positive difference. Maya’s initiative and others like it are genuine examples of how the gift of giving can bring joy and hope to those in need, embodying the true spirit of the holidays. 

During this holiday season, I encourage everyone to find their unique way of giving back, adding a personal touch to make a positive impact in each of your communities.

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