Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Take action as a volunteer


As an employee of a local nonprofit, I frequently recognize how fortunate I am to live in a place that truly embraces the notion of giving. Generally, the members of this community choose to live here for the diverse activities it offers, the awe-inspiring beauty of our surroundings and the overall quality of life.

Once immersed in the Wood River Valley culture, however, I saw that the connections extend far beyond those seemingly surface levels. We connect to each other through the offering of our time, goods and services. When a friend is sick, we rally together to help mitigate the costs of health care. When a local organization is hosting a fundraiser, businesses offer their support through products and sponsorships. We rely on one another to make it here, recognizing the value that each individual, organization and business provides to collectively create the unique culture we are surrounded by daily.

National Volunteer Month came to a close at the end of April. Established in 1974 by President Richard Nixon, this designated time exists to inspire, recognize and encourage people to seek out ways to engage in their community. It's not a hard feat to accomplish in this valley. As volunteer coordinator for Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, I know first-hand just how our year-round programs thrive due to the benevolence of our community members. Our participants' lives are enriched by the knowledge, skills and passion that our local volunteers impart upon them.

As one who calls upon others to donate their time and energies for the benefit of others, I recognize the challenges this poses, but also am able to witness the change this effort produces. One group in particular that embraces this initiative is the staff of the Wood River YMCA. One afternoon earlier this month, nine members of the Y staff visited our office for a combined 27 hours of editing videos, placing follow-up survey calls and organizing inventory, among other tasks. Their assistance proved invaluable to our efforts, but also allowed them to get a more in-depth look at what is happening outside their direct nonprofit sphere.

The month of April was just 30 days of 365 in our calendar year. To all, I charge you to seek out a new avenue of giving, to take action for the benefit of others and do what is in your power to encourage others to do the same. There are dozens of not-for-profit organizations in our beloved valley, and I applaud our local constituents for collaborating to create a model community of compassion.

Kate Weihe

Bellevue




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