A question to consider: Are you a community servant?

Most of you will probably answer “yes.” You’re probably thinking of ways you participate in positive things and believe that qualifies as community service.

Many of you have careers that serve the public – teacher, police officer, nurse, elected official, even newspaper editor. That’s community service, right? No. While certainly honorable, if you’re being paid, it’s not really what we’re defining as community service.

Many of you will say you serve the community through church work. Again, certainly laudable and recommended. But in serving others through your faith, you are serving your God.

Let’s redefine the question: Do you participate in some type of community service that you do absolutely for free, isn’t affiliated with a church, or ordered by a judge?

If you can honestly answer that question with a “yes,” then skip to the sports page. You’re done. If not, please read further. Your community needs your help.

In recent years, one thing I’ve noticed in my community, and others, is a nosedive in volunteerism. As part of my job, I have to go to numerous public meetings where volunteers make plans and organize events. It’s basically the same 14 people at every meeting.

While those 14 people do great work and accomplish so much, having 14 people do all the community’s volunteer work, and 1,400 or so others sitting on the sidelines criticizing their every move, does not breed long-term success. It breeds burnout, poor morale, and frustration for those toting the load.

As a member of your community, it is your obligation to serve it in some capacity. And you shouldn’t, and don’t have to, sacrifice your commitments to your church, family, or occupation, to do so.

There is some type of community service for everyone, even in the smallest of towns.

Whatever your talent or interest, there is an avenue to volunteer where you live. Here are just a few ways available in most communities:

Service organizations. In nearly every community, there are service organizations – like a Lions Club, Rotary Club or Exchange Club – that are always looking for new blood. While it costs a nominal fee to be a member, many employers will pay those costs. (It’s a tax deduction.)

♦ Schools. PTOs are always looking for parent volunteers, and help with their programs. Basically every high school has athletic and band booster clubs, etc. Due to the pandemic reducing crowds at athletic events, these organizations need aid now more than ever.

♦ Main Street programs and Chambers of Commerce. Your city or county probably has a Main Street program or Chamber that does positive work in your hometown to promote local business and civic pride.

♦ Hospitals. The pandemic has limited opportunities for this lately, but serving in a hospital auxiliary is a wonderful way to serve others in need.

♦ DFCS, judicial circuits, or Family Connection. Our local judicial circuit has a program where volunteers help guide and advocate for children involved in the legal system. Similar programs that aid kids or families in difficult situations are available in most communities.

♦ Coaching or mentoring. Most communities have shortages of adults to coach youth sports or participate in mentoring programs of all kinds.

When you volunteer, you are also helping your community by saving tax dollars. It means taxpayers probably won’t have to pay someone to perform the service you’re providing for free.

Basically, if you’re not giving to your community, you’re sucking from it. Don’t be a sucker. Volunteer for something that suits and interests you TODAY! Your community needs you.

Email Len Robbins at lrobbins@theclinchcountynews.com.

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