If the first week of 2009 finds you searching for personal
resolutions, let us offer something a bit different: Make a commitment
to help the community.
It's not that we don't want you bypass the typical self-help
resolutions such as losing weight or getting more exercise. By all
means, keep those on your list.
But finding a way in the new year to do some community service might
also help with those personal goals. The experts tell us that the more
social and involved you are, the healthier you're likely to be.
How can you help the community? There are too many ways to count, so
you surely can find something to fit your interests, time and
abilities. Without playing favorites, because every group could use
more help, let us offer a few examples.
Every fire department in the county is staffed by volunteers, who do
everything from maintaining the gear to battling blazes. These aren't
the only action agencies that use volunteers either; there are others andndash;
search and rescue, police volunteers, and even the Coast Guard
Every school uses adult volunteers in a variety of ways: listening
to young readers, helping with sports programs, mentoring teens in
their college planning. Schools are not the only venue for helping
youngsters; you can also consider groups such as Scouting, Civil Air
Patrol, after-school sports programs and more.
The city has a myriad of volunteer programs that help support its
efforts, from pulling weeds at Azalea Park to raising reward funds to
help solve crimes.
Every social service agency in the county depends on volunteers to
get the job done; you can help shelter battered women, stock the food
bank, ship packages to the troops overseas, raise scholarship funds, or
guide children through court cases. Just pick a cause and call. Is
there a service that you think is missing? Take the lead in forming a
group of like-minded people to get the job done.
Or join an organized service group andndash; there are lots to choose
from andndash; Rotary, Soroptimists, Elks, Lions and more andndash; that are already
doing a job or two, and might also be interested in tackling your
Interested in culture? Go to your favorite theater, library,
performance group, music series, museum or gallery and offer to help.
All the plays, all the performances, all the festivals throughout the
year are planned and carried out by volunteers.
Are animals or nature your passion? Help at the animal shelter, ask
state parks how they use volunteers, or approach the Forest Service
about chores that can be done.
It's an Oregon way of life: Volunteers are the engine of much that
happens in our communities. The more volunteers we have, the more
services and amenities we will have.
The personal bonus is that you will learn more about how the
community works, meet more people who share your interests, and find
life more engaging if you're involved in the social fabric of the place
where you live.
Get involved, and we're willing to bet you will indeed have a happier new year in 2008.