Growing up, my parents did a wonderful job of encouraging me to get involved with community to give back to those less fortunate than I. At the time, I thought nothing of the service I was doing, whether it was working in numerous soup kitchens, cooking and serving at church dinners (I am an expert at making cornbread for hundreds), or building houses for Habitat for Humanity, but as I grew up, I started to realize the positive impact I was having on my community. Not only was I helping others, but it was leading me to become a more empathetic and socially aware person. Parents, if you’re reading this, thank you.
It feels only natural that once I felt like I had the “work” portion of my life under semi-control, I started managing my down-time a little better and making the most of it, which means community involvement in my mind. I’ve already started with the fun stuff- joining clubs, going to events, shopping locally, etc., but I’ve been looking to start the giving back portion as well. After a quick search online, I found a few opportunities to choose from.
- The Community Kitchen Inc. This seems like the closest opportunity to those I had growing up, where opportunities range from cooking, serving, stocking, deliveries, distribution and decorating. The hours of need are posted right on the site, making it easy for those with changing schedules to plan accordingly. The Community Kitchen also has a variety of events and fundraisers to attend as well.
- The Monadnock Humane Society As a huge animal lover, I am drawn to any opportunity to help out critters in need. As our apartment complex has a strict no-animals policy, the temptation to take home every sad-eyed dog or cat that looks my way is often overwhelming. Cue Sarah McLachlan now. MHS has a few different opportunities for volunteering, whether you prefer cats, dogs, or small animals. This would have been my first choice to volunteer with, however my family lost our beloved family dog around the holidays and I’m a bit raw from that still. Volunteering here requires orientation.
- Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue This is something I would have never expected to see in Keene, as I am not aware of any local dog racing tracks. Fast Friends is a program that re-homes retired racers to families who understand the animal that they are taking in. Opportunities range form walking, chores, socializing and bringing the dogs to nursing homes for visits. Fast Friends also partners with local businesses to bring dogs out and gain exposure for their cause. This program also requires orientation.
- Miracles in Motion As an avid horse lover, this is a program that I was thrilled to find. Miracles in Motion is a therapeutic riding program for those with special needs. Volunteers have the option to be a sidewalker, horse handler, barn help or maintenance help. There are also events that are run, along with weekly lessons. This program requires orientation.
I have been riding horses off and on since I was a child, but through the process of “growing up”, I have not had the opportunities to continue riding as I would have hoped. Finding Miracles in Motion seemed to be, well, a miracle. I’ve reached out to the volunteer coordinator, and I am scheduled to come by on May 17th for a volunteer orientation night. Seems like it’s a fine time to break out the boots & brush off the dust, friends, and give back.