In mid-December, approximately a dozen highly committed members of the Hedley Senior Center worked feverishly to create a successful potluck experience for some 80 attendees. Very likely, similar events took place in other communities. And almost certainly, the number of guests far exceeded the number of those who organized the event and served. After the Hedley potluck, a member of the Senior Center said to me, “We’re getting old. We need younger bodies.”
Most small communities are kept alive by giving, participating citizens. For a community to be vibrant, it needs the ideas, energy, and skills of many people.
Having been active in volunteering roles most of my adult life, I know that when we give our time and talents to society, we will almost certainly derive unexpected benefits. We gain new skills and experiences. We meet other active people. My wife and I have gained close friends through volunteering. And the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from giving far exceeds any monetary value.
Community organizations can only survive and thrive if people participate. If everyone does something, no one needs to do it all. And by making a contribution now, we will pass on to our children a more interesting, compassionate and cohesive community.
A decision to volunteer would make a worthy New Years Resolution.
(This post was written when we were still living in Abbotsford, several years prior to our move to Hedley.)
Last week we were given one more reminder that we are not grappling seriously with a significant societal failing. Another homeless person has died on our streets.
I noted with interest that in The Abbotsford News (October 31,2009), the account of this most recent death was juxtaposed to a story about the three Plan A projects. Reading the two articles, I concluded that as a society we have learned a good deal about creating impressive structures, but relatively little about developing communities that enable all citizens to live productive lives.
This is not to in any way disparage the efforts of committed individuals, churches and other organizations providing shelter and various kinds of assistance to street people. I do feel, however, that we are doing little more than talking about the problem.
The well intentioned comments by some community leaders when Compassion Park was in the news several years ago, is an example of this. Our track record since then has been dismal. The same is true in Vancouver and throughout Canada.
As a society we have had a vision for building expensive structures for our pleasure. Where is our vision for dealing with a cancer that is endangering the safety of our citizens and the well-being of our entire nation?