Serving your community is the best gift you can give


Art by Stella Fetherston

Cyrah Carlson, Co-Fold Editor

Let’s talk about volunteering. This year has unfortunately been a grievous time of financial burden and related pressures across the country. Volunteering is a great way to ease those hardships and connect with the people around you. 

In an interview with Rotary Club member Diane Bonica, we discussed the importance of volunteering this holiday season. 

Q: Why do you encourage teens to get involved in the community?

A: “With our ‘giving focus’ on youth, we also like to involve young people in our projects. In October, we sponsored the Regatta Run, and we had close to 75 volunteers from the high school. Many runners commented that having the high schoolers on the race course was a highlight of the run. It is our club’s belief that if you volunteer in your youth, you just might continue for the rest of your life.” 

Q: Why is this holiday season a time that volunteers are needed more than ever?

A: “The Rotary Club adopts families for the holidays. We work with the school district to identify those that might need extra assistance. We stock their cabinets and fridges with holiday bounty. We ring the Salvation Army bell at Fred Meyer to help raise money for those in need. Many members join in this effort. December is also the month when we deliver a dictionary to every third grade student in town.”

If you’re interested in community service, Tualatin is the perfect place to begin. Here is a guide to volunteering this year: 

Step 1: Find someone who is in need.

Finding someone who is in need of service is the first step to take this holiday season. Turn to those in your neighborhood, family, school, work, sports group or club.  If you’re unsure where to find volunteering opportunities, the Rotary Foundation is a great place to experiment with different types of community service options. 

Step 2: Write yourself achievable goals

Whether you’re new to community service or you’ve been a volunteer your entire life, goals are important. They help you to focus on what you want to accomplish and motivate your personal successes.

Step 3: Apply yourself, give it your all.

Volunteering is a selfless act with the purpose to make an impact. Families who experience unemployment or financial misfortune may need an extra push this holiday season. There are various food banks where you may donate food and clothing, such as the Oregon Food Bank or Sunshine Division

Step 4: Reflect.

You’ve done an exceptional thing! You’ve made an influence and, we hope, a positive difference in someone’s life. If you haven’t met the goals you created for yourself, go out and volunteer again!

Step 5: Spread the word about the volunteering community.

Share your experience with community service with friends, family, colleagues, teachers, coaches or anyone who could be interested in making a positive change. 

The best gift you can give is volunteering to help someone else. After all, giving is what the holiday season is about!