IN THE COMMUNITY
Volunteer to make a difference
ometimes we all need to pause and remember that the simple things can make a big difference, like people helping people, and how getting involved often makes a lasting difference in people’s lives. Even when so many of us are preoccupied with vacations, hobbies, and all the summer activities, a commitment to community mentality can be part of just about everything we do. Think about all the things that nurture and strengthen our local communities. They begin with individuals and families who are willing to give of their time and energy to cultivate respect for others and create wholesome and healthy communities.
Coaches and referees keep summer youth sports leagues running, smiling senior volunteers quietly patrol our favorite parks, and teenage counselors help create summer memories for younger kids with games, crafts, and field trips. Some of us take a week or so of our vacations to chaperone a youth outing, help out at scout camp, or support an outreach mission. Others answer the call when help is needed for storm response or community cleanups. What about the moms and dads who take their children for a day of service making sandwiches or folding clothes for the local shelter? Or simply pull canned goods from the pantry before heading out the door to any community event where donations are being accepted.
20 OHIO COOPERATIVE LIVING • JULY 2019
Then, of course, there are those who literally will give of themselves to donate a pint of blood, which is especially important in the summer months. It is not just individuals or families who can make a difference volunteering. Businesses, churches, and other community organizations can give of their time to make a difference in our local communities. All of these things are ideas that lead to actions that produce lasting results. What makes them really special is that they cost little more than our personal decisions to look around, see what’s needed, and get involved. You really don’t have to look far. It seems like every fair or community festival includes booths filled with enthusiastic volunteers more than happy to get you involved in a community cause. At fun runs, parades, and other events, it’s often volunteers who’ve done the planning and organizing that bring us all together. Volunteering is a great way to build personal connections to people and touch the lives of others in our communities. We all can choose to give of ourselves to help make things better. Volunteer to serve, and see the difference for yourself.