Giving of my talents, time and treasures is a habit that I acquired as a child and believe is essential to being an engaged citizen of this great nation.
I am the middle child of nine, raised in a one-income home. As children, we did not receive allowances but earned monies by carrying newspapers, babysitting and cleaning houses. What I earned was earmarked for savings, for donation and for spending. Being in a large family meant wearing hand me downs, home sewn clothing, having a large garden and lots of canning. Looking back, I realize that my parents stretched every penny and we were a part of the lower class, and yet, we had neighbors down the block that were even poorer. I learned that there will always be people that need my help.
When I give of my time, talents and treasure, I gain much more from the experience than the recipients of my volunteering or my donations. I become part of the change agents that assist others to have a safety net, gain a firm footing and become a contributing member of society.
It is easy to lose sight, when you look at all that is going on at Kent State University and the city of Kent, that Portage County is mostly a rural county. The west border corridor of Aurora, Streetsboro, Kent and Brimfield are urban, the rest is rural and poor. The United Way helps fund programming that meets the needs of our neighbors next door, down the street or somewhere else in Portage County.
I challenge myself each year as to the amount that I give. Once I started using payroll deduction many years ago, I asked myself…can I spare another dollar or two each pay? Yes, I can… it is a bottle of pop, or a coffee from Starbucks or Jazzman, or a magazine. I do not miss it since it is a small, incremental amount, but the impact of that one less pop, coffee or magazine can impact many people’s lives.