Thursday, March 18, 2010


Photo by Virgil Hervey

Can you remember back in the first or second grade when the teacher asked for volunteers almost everyone raised their hand? Who wants to feed the turtle? or who wants to erase the blackboards? – those were always popular jobs. As we moved through the school years, the number of volunteers kept getting smaller. Finally, by the time we were in high school, it was definitely not cool to be raising your hand for anything. For some of us, forty more years go by and, surprisingly, we find volunteering becomes interesting again.

The other day in the Emporium, I over-heard a table of folks talking about the volunteer things they do around town. They actually seemed to be having fun. At one point the conversation turned to “Why do we volunteer for these things?” One obvious reason was the chance to make new friends, but as the talk went further it was clear that these folks had other motives. For example, “The community has been good to me, I need to give something back,” or “We have to do this or they could close,” or “I can’t give money but I can give time,” or “I have a skill they need,” or “My kids are involved,” or “It’s a good cause that should be continued.”

Hmmm, maybe I should get more involved. I started thinking about all the organizations in town that I enjoy and realized that they depend on volunteers for everything from mailing letters to serving on their boards and committees. I can easily name 10 or 15 non-profits around the Village that really contribute to the vitality and feel of the community. I can’t imagine not having Glen Helen or a Little Art Theatre or a Kids Playhouse or a Tecumseh Land Trust or a Community Foundation or a Senior Center. These groups, and many more, depend on volunteers – people just like you and me - giving a few hours here and there to get a much needed, and much appreciated, job completed.

April is National Volunteer Month. This might be a good time to consider taking on a volunteer role or branching out beyond what you currently do. I’m sure you will be welcomed and you may be surprised how much you receive, when you give a little.

A. Reader

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