Find your place to serve


Deb Hadachek, Editor – The Belleville Telescope

In listing things she is thankful for, a friend recently wrote that she’s thankful for the opportunities she has to volunteer on community projects–and wishes more people would offer their services. I think most of us who volunteer would echo her sentiments. We truly do get more than we give when we volunteer to help in ways that make life and our communities better for everyone. And yes, it is sometimes discouraging to see the same faces over and over again in multiple endeavors. Republic County is a place where people are generous with their time and money.

Sitting at a recent county commission meeting with city officials talking about recycling and housing, I thought about how many of the people gathered in that room have “real” jobs, and yet spend a good deal of time in the evening and weekends working on a vision to make their communities better places to live. There are individuals committed to continuing the Rocky Pond Christmas Lights in Belleville this year, people who serve on the Republic County Economic Development committee, parents and patrons in all our schools who help with school events, CARES, man ticket booths and score boards–the list goes on and on.

Everyone has a talent to offer. And no one should feel guilty if they can only offer limited services, or for a short, specific period of time. The biggest deterrent to volunteerism in rural communities is the attitude of “‘til death do you part”–a joke that we often make that to end service to a project you have to move or die. I am thankful this season for the people who serve, and for the opportunities that I have to serve. There’s no shortage of projects that could use your help.

Cuba Community Brainstorm from 2013 with the Kansas Rural Center Staff