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Volunteer for the community and yourself
Keep Liberty Beautiful
Keep Liberty Beautiful logo
Sara Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

Our chamber of commerce develops and promotes many programs that benefit our businesses, as well as our whole community. One of my favorites is the monthly Progress through People Luncheons.

These luncheons are a positive way to learn about what is happening in our community. The next PTP Luncheon is scheduled for noon Thursday at the Performing Arts Center. This month the luncheon is sponsored by Keep Liberty Beautiful. I hope that you will attend. This year we are focusing on "Why I KLB" from the perspective of some of our volunteers.

I have volunteered since I was just a little girl. My mom made sure that we all did. She had a great sense of giving back to our community no matter how lean our circumstances were. It was a brilliant way to start her four kids down the right path of caring for others, and a lesson that has stuck with us all of our lives. I consider myself sort of an expert on volunteers. As I said I have volunteered all my life — as a young girl, as a church member, as a student — in high school, in college, in graduate school and later avidly as a business person. I also have directed several programs over the years that were dependent upon the services of volunteers.

Keep Liberty Beautiful is fortunate each year to have more than 4,000 volunteers engaged in our efforts. I have had many people over the years ask me how I do that, but the reality is that I can take little credit for making that happen.

Keep Liberty Beautiful has a message at its core that resonates with people of all ages and backgrounds who care about our world and our community. These caring people are naturally attracted to being involved in the KLB projects. I just make sure that I am making these projects available to anyone who wants to connect.

For some people volunteering has been a natural part of their lives. Others may be new to the idea of volunteering. Don’t worry, it is never too late in life to become a volunteer. I urge you to attend this luncheon if you are curious about volunteering and/or about Keep Liberty Beautiful programs.

Volunteers can have many different reasons for getting involved. You may realize at this luncheon that volunteering might fit you perfectly. There are many altruistic reasons to want to volunteer and to help others, but the big secret about volunteering is that you not only help others and help improve the world, you also can help yourself in so many ways, no matter who you are or what age, or what station in life. Volunteering is a great leveler in life. It can blur out all of our differences and enhance all of the ways that we are the same as we work for a common cause. The world would be a very different place if all moms and dads started their kids out volunteering from a very early age.

So, volunteering helps others, but have you considered how much it can help you? Loads of research promotes the many benefits that volunteers gain from their experiences:

• It strengthens your community and your social network

• It improves self-esteem, confidence and feelings of self-worth

• It improves mood and makes us happier

• It can improve skills, educational opportunities and job potential

• It reduces loneliness and a sense of isolation

• It improves mental and physical health

• It can improve your immune system.

• It creates stronger bonds between friends, family and coworkers

• It reduces stress and improves well-being

Some research has shown that people who volunteer may be at lower risk of dementia from age 65 on.

Volunteering appears to improve brain function. Long-term volunteers have longer lives, less disease, and better overall health. One report says that people who volunteer more than 100 hours a year are some of the healthiest people in the U.S.

And it keeps us young!

Now I bet you have seen at list one reason in this list to consider volunteering.

So make your reservation with the Liberty County Chamber by the end of business Monday to join us and learn more. The luncheon is $15 for chamber members and $20 for others. You can either call the chamber office at 368-4445 or email

I forgot to mention one more benefit: we have fun! We will also have some fun things going on at the luncheon, so we will be looking for you. For more information on volunteering, contact us at Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880 4888 or

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