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EDITORIAL: Make Season of Giving last all year: Volunteer

Next week is Thanksgiving, a time when we step back and reflect on our blessings, and offer thanks for them. And for many of us, it’s a time when we notice with a little more clarity the struggles of those who may not be as fortunate, and look for ways to help.

Today’s paper features the Volunteer Wyoming insert, a “resource to enhance and support effective volunteerism in our local communities.” Published by ServeWyoming, an organization that promotes collaborative efforts between private non-profits and governmental organizations, the yearly insert offers a variety of volunteering opportunities in the Big Horn Basin. Just about every non-profit organization you can think of can benefit from those willing to volunteer, and each entity is represented in this special section, complete with relevant contact information and a brief description of volunteer responsibilities.

“This holiday season, we are reminded of the importance of helping others,” writes Shelly McAlpin, executive director of ServeWyoming. “As you prepare to give gifts to family and friends, help a neighbor shovel their walk, or gather toys for children in need ... keep in mind, doing good for the community is also good for you.”

According to ServeWyoming, the benefits of volunteering are many: It can improve your health, give you a sense of purpose, get you out of the house and encourage you to meet new people, to name just a few. From time to time, it can also lead to a new employment opportunity. The list goes on.

Volunteers are an important asset of any community, and Powell is no exception. Examples of this community’s giving spirit are evident in the success of events like this week’s Empty Bowls dinner to benefit Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes and the efforts of Powell’s own Santa Sally Montoya and her army of elves.

But there is always more that can be done, more people who could use a little help. Browsing through the Volunteer Wyoming insert is an excellent opportunity for residents to find out how they can give back to the community they call home — and for more than just a few days a year. Everyone has something they’re good at, a special skill or talent. Chances are there is an organization listed in this special section, 41 in all, that can utilize that talent or skill to help others, even if it’s just for a few hours a week or month.

Volunteering is an excellent way to connect with the community and make friends along the way. It also provides a feeling of accomplishment and helps us to appreciate what we have. And for those whom volunteering benefits, that extra help can be a lifeline to improving their way of life.

Volunteers provide a valuable service to our community; they often take care of the little things that may go unattended otherwise. And they are always in short supply.

So if you find yourself with a little time on your hands this holiday season, as well as a desire to pay it forward, volunteer.

You, along with a host of others, will be glad you did.

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