[r63] Making a difference in the community

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, June 6, 2014

Area schools are beginning to let out, and the warmer weather finally looks like it is here to stay. Between outdoor activities, lounging at the pool and family vacations, it is certainly easy to fill those long summer days; however, the summer is still an excellent opportunity for young Hoosiers to learn. Not necessarily in the academic sense, but rather, it provides an opportunity for us as parents to teach our children the value of giving back.   

If you don’t have experience with volunteering, it can be intimidating trying to find a place to start. Many people have very conventional ideas of what it means to volunteer. One thing that probably comes to mind first is serving food at a local soup kitchen, but volunteering can also mean reading to young children at the library, peer tutoring or even coaching a little league team. 

In fact, it is easier than you might think to get started. There are several organizations in our area that are a wonderful way for people in the community to get involved. Today, I would like to highlight Volunteer Dubois County. 

Volunteer Dubois County is your go-to source for volunteer information throughout the county, which includes the towns of Jasper, Huntingburg, Ferdinand and the areas in between. To make it as convenient as possible, their website allows you to search for opportunities for service and allows non-profit organizations to post their volunteer needs to better connect with those willing to help. 

A quick visit to their website shows opportunities to volunteer at Gentiva Hospice in Jasper. Specifically, they are looking for someone to provide office support through clerical duties such as data entry, filing, making phone calls and other general office work. 

Crisis Connection has also recently posted that they are looking for people to help sort and inventory donations and oversee their warehouse. They especially need help around the holidays, but since they receive items like personal care products, school supplies, housewares and furniture all year long, they could certainly use your help anytime.  

They also provide another way to help the community by posting a community wish list. Instead of asking for money, local non-profits specifically list the items they need to continue to fulfill their mission and serve the community. Anyone can support these organizations and needs range from puppy food for the Humane Society to iPads for retirement communities. If you would like to learn more, please visitwww.volunteerduboiscounty.org/

By encouraging our children to volunteer just a few hours a month, they will not only be making our community a better place, but will also be learning invaluable life lessons. While volunteering is important, so is practicing what we preach. Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a Catholic Heart Work Camp with my son and his youth group. This week long camp was held in Atlanta, Georgia and was attended by youth ministers and teens from across the country.  

Every summer, multiple camps are held throughout the country to challenge young Americans to put themselves aside and work together to restore homes, feed the hungry, work with young children and the disabled and also provide help through partnerships with social agencies. I found this to be an eye opening experience for my own children, and with the countless opportunities to get involved close to home, I encourage everyone to volunteer at least once this summer. Organizations are always looking for more volunteers to help out and even the smallest amount of time truly makes a difference.