In his 1961 inaugural address President John F. Kennedy urged Americans to "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." I've heard and read those words many times. The idea of civic responsibility or "giving back" and contributing to the common good were lessons I learned by example early in life.
I attended parochial school in Dayton where my Mother volunteered in the library, cafeteria, at events, and coached sports. My Grandfather kept the school and church grounds well manicured and filled with beautiful flowers, served at mass, deposited the weekly collections, and was always willing to lend a hand to friends and neighbors. Grandma was on the bereavement committee in addition to visiting and caring for sick friends and neighbors, and working the polls from open to close on Election Days. We knew our neighbors, watched out for each other, and still do.
Make a positive impact in our community
Daytonians are very generous, and while some of us are able to donate more money than others, each one of us gets only 24 hours in each day. Choosing to "spend" time volunteering demonstrates what is important to us and puts us in a position to set a great example and influence others to follow in our footsteps.
There are hundreds of civic and non-profit organizations in the Dayton region that want and need our help to make a positive impact in our community. In my experience, the joy and excitement I feel as a result of volunteering leads to sound sleep and are a much better reward than money or material things.
Ask what you can do to get involved
If you already know the joy of volunteering, Thank You! The fact that Dayton is filled with people who are generous with time, talent, and money is one of the reasons I love living here. If you have yet to experience the rewards of volunteering, I encourage you to explore one or more organizations that interest you and volunteer with them. Our community needs that special something that only you have to give. If you're not sure where to start, here are some organizations to consider:
- Five Rivers Metroparks - Welcomes your skills and interest! Express your care and concern for the environment while providing a valuable contribution to the preservation and enjoyment of our natural areas. With 19 locations, you can choose a location convenient for you. You'll learn new skills, meet people with similar interests, and improve the quality of life in Montgomery County! Volunteer.
- Dayton Art Institute - For more than 90 years, The Dayton Art Institute has been committed to enriching lives and serving the community by creating meaningful experiences with art. Become a Leonardo League Volunteer!
- Dayton History - Are you proud to live in the Miami Valley? Does the rich history of the region amaze you? Do you enjoy meeting new people? Would you like to give back to the community in an exciting and meaningful way? Dayton History offers many exciting opportunities for volunteers.
- Habitat for Humanity of Greater Dayton - Offering a hand-up, not a hand-out, to Montgomery and Greene County Families. One of the great benefits of working on a build site is actually seeing the tangible results of your labor. Don't worry if you've never worked on a construction crew - you will be guided along the way by an experienced site supervisor. Volunteer.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley - BBBS serves those children and youth in need of a mentor including those from lower income backgrounds, single parent families, and those of diverse racial backgrounds age 6 to 18. BBBS develops positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people. Become a "Big".
Polished Girlz - Alanna Wall started Polished Girlz in 2011 when she was only 10. Alanna's compassionate spirit made her want to share her talents with young ladies that were hospitalized or not feeling quite as "polished." Add a mission of hand washing, infection reduction, and a few like minded friends and the "Polished Girlz" were born. In the 3 years since Alanna launched Polished Girlz, they've grown to include teams in 13 states and Canada! Apply to be a Polished Girl.
- Greene County Parks & Trails - Greene County Parks & Trails offers numerous opportunities for teens, adults, stay-at-home parents, retirees and senior adults to get involved on a regular weekly schedule or an occasional basis.
- Downtown Dayton Partnership - is dedicated to making downtown Dayton a better place to live, work and visit. They bring us First Friday, Urban Nights, the Dayton Holiday Festival, and more. Volunteer.
- SICSA Pet Adoption Center - SICSA is always looking for talented and passionate individuals to help support them and the animals in their care. Volunteer.
- one bistro - One Bistro is a community café, a non-profit Biznistry® established for the betterment of our local community to serve the privileged and under-privileged. To give your time in service you can take orders, wrap silverware, set tables, bus/sanitize tables, help clean, restock items, wash/dry dishes, etc. No matter your experience, there is a place for your gifts and talents. Volunteer.
- The Good Deeds Project - The The Good Deeds Project is not a non profit nor is it a company. They don't ask for money or take donations. They started the project as a community movement based here in Dayton, Ohio, to simply promote the act of doing good deeds for others and encouraging those touched to do the same by paying it forward. If volunteering within an organization isn't your cup of tea, practice random acts of kindness. You may be surprised at how often you'll find yourself on the receiving end.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." -Sir Winston Churchill
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