January 2017, it is the perfect time to re-focus priorities and to add meaning to our life on a daily base for the year to come. I always feel nothing can beat the eloquent energy of a new start of the year when we are able to add some activities that do not emphasize ourselves. Especially, adding activities that add value the environment and society around us.

There is an abundance of causes and things we can do to make the world a better place. For example, until January 30th, 2017 you can vote for your favorite foundation on the Help Nederland vooruit campaign in your region to make an impact! The initiative is an excellent way to be involved with supporting a cause that matters.


The charity fund of the ING bank supports local initiatives and national efforts by providing financial resources, donations, knowledge and time.

Yearly, the ING Bank Netherlands, renowned for its focus on sustainability, has the ING Nederland fonds to empower the smaller and local initiatives. The fund selected 260 local foundations from over 1,000 entries. Each of these 260 foundations will receive a donation, but the amount of money depends on the numbers of votes they receive.

In each of the 52 regions, 5 foundations have been selected to receive a donation between €1,000 and €5,000 Euros.

So vote from January 9th to January 30th 2017 for your favorite foundation through the Help Nederland vooruit campaign in your region to make an impact! The initiative is a great way to be involved with supporting a cause that matters.

help nederland vooruit - ING Nederland


Without any doubt, there are tons of big and well-known charity foundations across the country. However, I have always felt that local charitable initiatives are real drivers of change and meaningful impact.

In my local community, there are still a ton of activities I can join as a volunteer. I can choose to be a language coach for a group of immigrants who just came to the Netherlands several months ago. This group of people entered the country with zero knowledge of the Dutch language. As a foreigner myself, I know how important it is to have a reasonable knowledge of the Dutch language. Another activity I can choose to get involved in is a day out for a walk with the residents of a nursing home. One day in the year, one evening per month or one hour per week may change the life of someone in need dramatically. This is an experience, which I found to be utterly rewarding and relevant. And thus, every deed counts. As the Dutch say: “Help Nederland vooruit.”

Like I said in the beginning, try to be involved in your local community and start the year strong. If you care about the well being of others, don’t forget to be part of this noble initiative by casting your vote to a charity, initiative or cause of your choice here: Help Nederland vooruit – Vote Now!

help nederland vooruit / https://unsplash.com/@jessedo81


To recognize my personal involvement, I would like to provide a few ways I contribute to the community. Over the duration of several months, I registered myself as a stem cell donor with Matchis/ Europdonor (a Dutch Foundation), which makes me able to help patients with leukemia and other severe blood disorders to receive stem cell transplantation. As you never know in life, the person who may need help the most might live just a few blocks away. Stem cells are vital for patients that suffer from Cancer, and specifically leukemia, to be able to survive.

Donating clothing

I have a huge pile of clothes, which I have not been wearing for a long time. Every now and then, I select clothes and shoes and drop them to the clothing donation container or bring it to the local homeless shelters to help people in need. And believe me, some people can really value these gestures.

help nederland vooruit - kelly sikkema

Local dog shelter

As a dog owner, it is a kind of an automatic link to be involved and be the friend of the local dog shelter. Donating unused toys, dog care products; dog foods and leftovers medicines and supplements become a routine. This dog shelter is also the place where my dog Max can stay when we I am out of the country for travelling or business.

My focus and planning for this 2017 are to get more information how to be more involved in the LGBT-community and to participate in organizing various workshops & activities in my neighborhood.

What will be your social involvement focus this year? You can start by giving your Vote here.

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The blog post “GET INVOLVED LOCALLY | HELP NEDERLAND VOORUIT” published on ChristianGertsen.com – Dutch Street Style, Travel & Men’s Lifestyle & Style Blog in collaboration with ING Nederland & The Cirqle.

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