Why community involvement matters

I was recently asked to participate in an internal video for my company. It was the opposite side of the camera for me. I’m used to being part of the script and video development. It was a rather painful experience; however, a good learning situation for me to better coach in the future. One of the questions I was asked was related to community involvement.

Community involvement is important to me. I serve on the board of directors for Iowa River Hospice. I’m able to bring my talents and skills to them and bring back a new perspective to my job. Being involved in the community helps make a better community to live and work in.

I’m not sure how eloquently I communicated that or what my face and body language portrayed, but I do believe community involvement is important. I’ve been on the board of directors for Iowa River Hospice for four years now and just ending a term as Vice President. I recently realized that I have grown a lot in the past four years. I’ve grown in my understanding of this organization, the ins and outs of a non-profit, and how a board is run. I was beyond nervous when I accepted the position. I didn’t know who nominated me or why. Looking back, I’ve learned that it’s good to stretch into something. Organizations and people benefit from the growing and learning that a person goes through when they go into something without having all the answers. It can be scary and nerve-wracking to not have confidence in yourself. But, you’ll wake up one day and feel confident and comfortable with what you’re doing. I’ve found this to be true in the workplace and in my personal life.


Decorations for 2015 Night of Stars Benefit


Three years ago, a friend asked me to join her on the committee for a local benefit. Proceeds go to our local American Cancer Society organization and Iowa River Hospice. It was the perfect way for me to help outside of the board meetings and marketing brainstorming. Last year the committee was in need of new co-chairs, so Bryan and I decided to take it on this year. Some days it was a lot of late night work, with us both working away on our computers. We knew there would be a lot of work the final week before the event, but I can say it was worth it. We had a committee, half of which was new, who were more than willing to help with any task. It’s not always easy bouncing back-and-forth between work, home, and other activities. Everyone on our team has a lot of other commitments, but it felt like this was top priority for everyone. It’s awesome to be part of such a positive group, with so many enthusiastic willing people. Our community is awesome, too. We had so many wonderful auction donations, a lot of organizations who gave underwriting money (money that pays for our expenses of the event), and a sold out crowd! A week after the event, we’re still getting donations! I did a quick look at 23 years of the event and this year is up with one other year as having the most income! It’s so awesome to be part of such a meaningful event. This money goes a long way for both organizations and I’m so proud to be part of it. The time we spent doesn’t even compare to the work both organizations do. The time, effort, and compassion they put into their patients is simply amazing. It’s the least we could do to create an evening that provides the opportunity for people to open up their wallets and give to two wonderful organizations.

This is one of the small ways I can help give back to my community and make it a better place to live and work.


2015 Night of Stars




Doing my part

My town has been in the news a lot lately. Robberies, fires, a shooting, and a death. It’s a lot to take in, whether you know the people involved or not. {I personally do not.} It goes without saying that I’ve been watching a lot of tv during my 6 weeks of bed rest. {Also a lot of Facebook-ing and Twitter-ing.} It’s not very often that my town comes up. We are 60 miles from the major tv channels, but we don’t make the news very often {omitting sports related news}. Lately they have run back-to-back stories. There’s not a lot of judgement in the stories I’ve seen, just fact reporting.

It’s a lot different on Facebook. There’s a lot of gloom and doom and not for the families. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen anything about the families. Maybe that means I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who is related. {Did you follow that anyone and who madness?} Or maybe that means I follow a lot of people who are spending more time dogging on the town I grew up in. There are a lot of people asking what our town has become and other similar comments. I don’t exactly share their views. I should mention that I have a few friends who have called out all the negativity. It makes me happy to see these comments. They are completely correct.

Yes, there are always some bad apples in the bunch. We’re a free society, after all. Let’s spend less time criticizing the actions of a few people and spend more time putting in an effort to make sure our town is what we want it to be. It’s the classic example of criticizing something but doing nothing. What makes you any better? You may not be breaking the law, but you’re not doing anything to better the community either. But you are bringing it down. You’re spreading negativity. I’m not pretending to be all high and mighty. There’s more I could do to be involved, but I do take pride in the board of directors that I am involved in. It’s taught me that I want to be involved. I want to help the community. I may only be able to do it one organization at a time, but I’m doing what I can to give back. It’s helped me see what my future can be. I’m involved with so many great people who are involved in so many organizations. Their lifestyles are much different than mine and they have more free time, but they are still great role models.

Regardless of your town, are you doing something to help your community?