Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 7, 2016

Time to trade in the remote for volunteering

By Sally Y. Hayes

By SALLY Y. HAYES

Mt. Pleasant News

Mt. Pleasant, rather Henry County, is filled to the brim with organizations, groups, volunteer opportunities, clubs and associations. Everything from church groups to community theater troops, from political organizations to writing societies can be found in our corner of Iowa.

These groups are welcoming of new members and ideas to work towards the goals of the organization, to better enrich our communities.

I often hear peers claiming that there is “nothing to do here.” However, I beg to differ.

Henry County offers many constructive substitutes for time often wasted on the sofa in front of the television with your trusty dog at foot; one only needs to look around – in newspapers and on bulletin boards, for example. Opportunity is not going to knock on your door or dial your cell phone or send you a text message or write on your Facebook wall.

Admittedly, I, too, am guilty of occasionally thinking there is nothing for a twenty-something to do in the area while I sit on the couch surfing the channels with my dogs, Thor and Loki.

I recently decided to trade in the remote control for some time out of the house – to spend some time with a group that pulled at my heartstrings. Being an animal lover, I have turned toward the Henry County Animal Rescue Organization (HCARO) to donate my time. In my eyes, it is a chance to advocate for a population that has no voice to communicate – simply barks and meows.

The new administration is trying to put its best foot (or should I say paw?) forward with the goal of having an animal shelter in Mt. Pleasant in the near future. HCARO will be hosting various fundraisers in the community this spring to go towards that goal and welcomes any volunteers.

Even if you feel that you do not have the time to commit to joining an organization there are chances to substitute an hour in front of the tube for an hour out and about. Many groups host dinners, productions, shows and events with proceeds going towards local causes.

These events give us a chance to socialize with neighbors and friends face to face, as opposed to online as my generation too often does. They give us an opportunity to take a bit of time from hectic work and family schedules to give back to the community.

In addition to the many organizations at hand, the local area offers numerous parks for fishing, hiking, biking, dog walking and much more. A movie theater with two screens is in town for entertainment, as are various plays. And many restaurant options are here for whatever your taste buds are craving.

Yes, it can be slightly scary to be new to something or to join a group in which you do not know the members, but how else do we grow individually and improve the community as a whole. Donating time to a cause you connect with will help thwart these newcomer jitters.

So if you find yourself bored, I suggest volunteering with an organization in town; who knows what you may discover, whom you may help or what you might learn.