Chances are a lot of us made New Year’s resolutions over the holidays. Whether they were centered on self-improvement or helping others, it doesn’t matter. The two are not mutually exclusive.
After all, it is possible to try and lose weight and also help the community by donating blankets and leashes to a local animal shelter, for example. Or to exercise more while also serving as a mentor to an at-risk child. Or volunteer at a homeless kitchen while spending less on things you really can’t afford and spending more time with family. ....
There are a number of ways in which we can help both our community and ourselves, and with the economy in the shape it’s in, it may be that 2009 is a year in which many organizations that depend largely on financial donations from the public may find themselves hurting –– and in greater need of time and talent than in the past.
That’s why we ask that when you make your New Year’s resolutions, consider both yourself and the community. For example, if you plan on quitting smoking on Jan. 1, also make another in which you give to the community by volunteering in some capacity, whether it be as rec league coach or working with senior citizens, or anything else that interests you. If you resolve to be more outgoing, also plan on making it happen by volunteering time with any number of groups that can use your help, from local food banks, the Red Cross, the United Way, pet rescue agencies –– there are a number of them in all communities –– including CASA, Family Connections, environmental groups, battered women’s shelters, after-school programs or even virtual volunteering.
Do it because we are at our best as a nation and as individuals when we help others, or do it because if the events of 2008 have shown us anything, it’s that we don’t live disconnected from the world. How we live our lives and what we do matters –– and so does what we do for our fellow man.
Here’s hoping your 2009 is healthy, happy and prosperous.
--Jeff Whitten, Bryan County News