Although a community volunteer since 17, when I learned how to knock on doors for a presidential candidate, and I’m early 60s now, I still am dazzled by the level of volunteerism buzzing away in every community.
The small town of Granger is a beehive of it, Outlook, Grandview, Sunnyside, Prosser. I have witnessed decades long volunteers shepherding capital events along with small child volunteers helping mom and dad pick up trash in a community clean up.
The Granger group is giving welcome bags to teachers returning to school. The many committees in Sunnyside are serious about the events planning and are hosting these Friday night markets with food trucks and music. How about the volunteers in Grandview getting up early to water their city’s many beautiful hanging flowerpots? And in Prosser, my hometown, I need to brag about Mustangs for Mustangs. A 5,000-volunteer strong group helping each other with food, cars get fixed so parents can go to work, keeping the lights on, just helping. Thousands of us have delivered diapers, food, donated small amounts of funds for families facing emergent situations.
No one must give anything to another. But look what happens when individuals and communities look out for each other and want something greater than the sum of one.
Theater happens, families with limited funds receive hand me down clothing, museums get maintained, rebuilt, shouted about. Parades happen and parks and waterways get cleaned.
Volunteerism is a learned thing. I brought my kids with me young and often, because I worked so much, and I need them with me. The next we all knew, they were xerox masters, collating and stapling for me in my program management days. Then lo, when they were in high school, they had accrued most of their community hours to graduate. And guess what, those hours looked amazing on their college and work applications.
So, give what you can. Though I do less physical running in volunteer roles, I am just as furious and focused about giving back, because I have more than I need.
Give what you can.