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Thu, Sept. 23

Community View | A Time to Serve

I never had a typical drive home from school. Growing up in southern Florida, and being the second oldest in a family with five children, my mother always wanted us to make a difference in our community. If there was a cause that she believed in, then we worked hard to make a difference. One particular year, my mom was a Cub Scout leader for my younger brother and she was looking for opportunities for the troop to serve. She turned her focus to a recycling project with the Cub Scouts, and also with our family. There was an especially big push for recycling in the 1980s, almost as big as the “Just say No” to drugs and the anti-smoking campaign. My mom was certain that our minimal effort with recycling would amount to helping to save our planet. And that is where the drive home from school became interesting!

As we sped down roadways in our station wagon, each passenger was given one single job. We were to keep our eyes scanning the area for soda cans that had been littered along the roads and sidewalks. If a shout-out was given for spotting a can, my mom would pull the car over and the kid located next to the door was to jump out and grab the can. During those years our car seemed to always rattle, due to the bag of cans that accompanied us on every trip. Trust me, as a middle schooler, this behavior had me shielding my face as I jumped from the car to grab the can. I was embarrassed by our trash-collecting pursuit, and would pray that none of my schoolmates would spot me as they passed by. But to my mom, she glowed with pride from every bit of family participation from our collecting.

Once the Cub Scouts also began the can-collecting crusade, our actions began amounting to something. The city was getting cleaned up, cans were being crunched and taken to a local recycling business, and precious coins were added to the Cub Scout budget. I can’t say I loved it, because I actually dreaded every car trip we took during those years. However, it taught me a precious lesson about giving, and about doing.

As an adult, I realize that I don’t have to help every nonprofit, or every service activity, especially if the project isn’t one that I believe in. But I have learned that action creates results, no matter how small. If there is a cause that you believe in, if there is a nonprofit seeking volunteers, if you see suffering, help. It’s just that simple.

As a community member, and because my mother taught me, I want to help get the word out about opportunities to serve. There is an app that you can download to your phone called JustServe that is specially designed to help find volunteers for your area and will search for service activities in every community. You can also search community nonprofits on your computer, or pick up your phone and call local organizations and find someone that can use your abilities. If you don’t want to get tied in with a group, then go for a walk and pick up trash along the way.

My son recently shared with me a term that I hadn’t heard before. He said that some people he knew really had a “Glow Up.” In other words, this means that as they grew older they really became attractive. I would like to say that we can all do the same for our town of Kingman. It’s time that Kingman experiences a “Glow Up.” I’m grateful for all of the members in the community that I see participating in the process of serving others, giving time to help the sick or the elderly, cleaning up our city, volunteering in nonprofits, and those that work on boards and councils to help create a more beautiful town. For many years I thought that because I wasn’t involved in a huge organization that perhaps I wasn’t doing my part. However, I remember that lesson my mom taught me years ago while collecting cans: Find a need and DO something. It is my belief that we can all find a little time to serve. Thanks, mom!

(Amy Lowry is a resident of Kingman.)

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