At the start of a new year, many people consider what they can do to improve their lives. They make resolutions to lose weight, get organized and think positive.
We should also consider how to improve the lives of others, which not only helps them but also brings us an appreciation for all we have and a greater understanding of the world.
Victorian poet, writer and art critic John Ruskin put it well when he said, “You will find that the mere resolve not to be useless, and the honest desire to help other people, will, in the quickest and delicatest ways, improve yourself.”
We are a generous community, willing to lend a helping hand to those in need during the holiday season. Efforts include dinners, as well as food, clothing and toy drives.
But we must remember that food, shelter and kind words are needed throughout the year. This may be something as simple as spending time with a relative or neighbor who may not have a lot of company during the long winter months. Offer to shovel their driveways or drive them to the store or appointments.
Send an email, letter or care package to our servicemen and women to thank them for their sacrifices to our nation. Donate blood at one of the many American Red Cross blood drives held throughout our community. Support and give to food banks, the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity to aid our fellow man, and animal shelters such as the Susquehanna SPCA to help our furry friends.
Depending on your interests or passions, there are organizations seeking volunteers all-year-long.
For those interested in the arts, residents can contribute their time and talents to the Cooperstown Art Association, the West Kortright Centre, the Oneonta Concert Association and many others.
Museums, including the Swart-Wilcox House Museum in Oneonta, the Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith and the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, welcome helpers.
Educational assistance can be given with Literacy Volunteers in Chenango, Delaware and Otsego counties, as well as Pathfinder Village School and Catskill Regional Teacher Center.
Health- and human-service groups — such as Catskill Area Hospice, LEAF Council on Alcoholism/Addictions, Springbrook, the Family Service Association, Catholic Charities of Delaware and Otsego Counties and local hospitals — also seek assistance.
The Daily Star often includes a list of area volunteer opportunities in our Community section. The listings include contact information and more ways to help others.
There is never a bad time to make contributions to our area in big ways or small. Your assistance could change your life and those you encounter for the better.