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Inspiration Sometimes Comes Through Service to Your Community

How do you use your free time? Moving the world forward through volunteerism creates the inspiration we need to impact our communities in Michigan.

“We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service relationship to humanity.” – Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.

Seven years ago, before I became a member of a number of local and International civic organizations, I was dedicated exclusively to my career, my husband and starting a family. I had heard about volunteering and civil service in college and I had participated in a few events that raised money for different causes. But, I never realized how or why community service and leadership development could become so important for our society and touch local communities so much until I moved to Michigan.

I was looking to network with members of our community of Wyandotte, since my husband and I had just moved here from Washington, DC. After some searching online, I found the Wyandotte Jaycees, an organization for 21-40 year olds that do project management through community service and leadership development. At the time it sounded like a cool organization where we could meet people, but maybe get involved in the community at the same time. My husband and I joined this organization of volunteers in April 2005 and we haven’t looked back.

This weekend I had the chance to speak with young volunteers that spend countless hours dedicating their free time to raise money, community awareness and help their local business and their city councils solve problems all over our great state of Michigan. This Michigan Jaycee event was to celebrate a year of service and dedication to Michigan communities in 2012 and ring in the New Year to be filled with more volunteer opportunities for young leadership in Michigan in 2013. Everyone attending this event had a story about volunteerism much like the one I talked about above. Most importantly the 300 or so attendees of this weekend’s events were doing the proactive positive things that are so needed in 40 communities around the state.

While the organization that I donate my time and efforts to is just one of many amazing organizations in our state, I am writing this blog entry today to share with you the inspiration that I felt this past weekend by the young leadership we have in Michigan and the hope that should be shared for the future of our local communities.  

This weekend I saw local organizations that raised over $100,000 for charitable organizations and worked with their city councils to take over logistics and planning issues for events and benefits that would move forward the economies and progress that is so badly needed in many Michigan communities. New partnerships were formed with business to develop young leaders across our state to drive forward the change that we need to see happen. The most touching moment of the weekend was the swearing in of a brand new member who is dedicating his life to service to humanity, live on Skype from Kabul, Afghanistan. (Yes, he joined the Wyandotte Jaycees.)

While I was humbled by the amazing organization that I belong to, I can say that in Michigan, we now have the best time ever to drive forward lasting change in our local communities with a crowd of young people that want to see it happen. “According to America’s Civic Health Index of 2009, “Millennials lead the way in volunteering,” with 43% of Millennials (compared to 35% of Baby Boomers participating in volunteer activities (National Conference on Citizenship 2009).”(Ref. https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/bitstream/handle/10822/553863/patuskyTasha.pdf?sequence=1) The new generations want to get out there and do something they just aren’t sure how!

But, we currently only have 22% of the active population going out to dedicate  time to a cause that can make positive change in Michigan. (Ref. Corporation for National & Community Service Database of Volunteers by State, http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov )

Whether it is through the Jaycees, the Rotary, the American Cancer Society or International business development, I can say that now is the time to seek out opportunities to volunteer in service to your community because the climate in Michigan is encouraging for positive change. In volunteering time for others, you will feel a pride that can only be feltupon accomplishment of something great.

I am and will always be a proud civil servant. Cheers to the volunteers in our local community and across the world today. You are what moves forward the needs in our local communities.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sandy February 11, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Thank you Julie for your article and for your time volunteering in such a great organization. If one has not volunteered of their time and/or talent they do not realize how important or fulfilling it is to ones life. I have had many volunteering experiences in several areas over the years and have been grateful to have the opportunity. There are many opportunities out there. One just needs to know what they could most put their heart and time in. Volunteering allows you to work side by side with those of the same interest, to follow a goal, and to see it through. I currently volunteer with animal rescue groups and at the Wyandotte animal shelter. Working with the animals and volunteering hand in hand with others of like interest and compassion is good for ones spirit and soul. There are several other arenas I volunteer with from time to time. I encourge those who have not volutneered to find somethjng they are passionate about and do it. Thank you again Julie and thank you to all those who volunteer in our local community and in our great state. You do a grand service for so many.
Julie Abshire February 11, 2013 at 06:19 PM
Thank you Sandy! Volunteerism and the opportunity for business relations between Non-Profit and Not for Profit organizations in local communities is something I trully believe will be the foundation of a strong state and nation. Watching Impact happen this past weekend with the swearing in of a Marine live from Kabul was so fantastic. Volunteers around the world do much to make progress and the military, including veterans and reservists are a part of that. Cheers!

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