When asked what they would wish for, most people have one answer: MORE TIME.

Whether it’s time to get that degree we’ve been putting off, more time to spend with our family or the free time to finally write the great American novel; we think we know how valuable time is. Yet, when we are surprised with an abundance of time, it’s easy to squander those precious hours on things that don’t leave any lasting impact on our lives.

Every four years we get what we’ve been hoping for, a leap year gives us an entire day that wasn’t there the year before! The problem is that adding that day doesn’t usually seem to make much of a difference. February 29th will come and go, feeling like hundreds of other Wednesdays before it. But what if you looked at things a little differently?

Instead of trying to use up your extra 24 hours all in one day, what if you spread them out to last all year long? This could be the year that you make time to do all of those wonderful things that you’ve been wanting to do, because you have a surplus of time to accomplish those goals!

Yes, those 24 hours could be used on Skyrim or a few more Pilates classes; or they could be used for something more. In just 24 hours, you could help Chicago Public School students learn how to read, show seniors how to stay connected to their grandkids through Facebook, grow organic vegetables that are used to provide healthy meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, lead high school students in a service learning project and help recent immigrants become US Citizens.

You can do a lot in 24 hours, here’s how:

January: 4 Hours
Celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. with adults living with disabilities by having a fun-filled birthday bash as part of the Celebration of Service.

February: 1.5 Hours
Help men recently released from prison make a fresh start by participating in a group discussion about current events at Real Talk.

March: 1.5 Hours
Grab your pet and head over to the Lakeview Rehabilitation Center to help provide pet therapy to residents who will appreciate some cuddle time with your furry friend.

April: 1 Hour
Rediscover your favorite childhood books at Read-with-Me at Mercy Housing.

May: 1.5 Hours
Express yourself at Art Time with students at San Miguel School.

June: 4 Hours
Be part of Chicago’s largest day of service as you join 6,000+ volunteers at Serve-a-thon.

July: 1 Hour
Test your patriotic knowledge as you help West Town and Humboldt Park residents prepare for their US Citizenship tests.

August: 3 Hours
Soak up the sun doing greenhouse maintenance at our country’s second largest conservatory, Garfield Park Conservatory.

September: 1 Hour
Go back to school, learn about teamwork and have some fun at Game Night with Burr students.

October: 1.5 Hours
See if luck is on your side and enjoy a game of BINGO with seniors.

November: 2 Hours
Prepare a delicious and nutritious meal for women working their way out of homelessness at Deborah’s Place.

December: 2 Hours
Surf the interwebs with students at St. Joseph’s Services and help them overcome the digital divide.

You can do a lot in 24 hours, make 2012 the year you “leap” into service!