One of the things I like best about living in Henry County is how many opportunities there are to volunteer time to be in service to others.
When I first moved to Mt. Pleasant after college, I immediately looked for ways to get to know people in the community. Even though I attended college in Mt. Pleasant, I didn?t feel that I knew the people in the community very well. I have found volunteering to not only be a way to help others, but a great way to meet new people.
I started volunteering with AWANA, a sort of year-round Bible school for kids, at the First United Methodist Church. While I don?t actually go to that church, they took me aboard and I enjoyed getting to know new people and made many close friends during the experience.
Through working at the newspaper, I came across a program that I instantly fell in love with, Paint-A-Thon.
The Paint-A-Thon program partnered different businesses in the community to help individuals who otherwise would not be able to paint their houses. Some local businesses sponsored the event, others helped create teams of volunteers to paint the houses. In a one week period, several houses in the community would get a fresh look courtesy of some friendly volunteers.
For the last two years, I have volunteered my time, and a considerable amount of sweat, to paint houses for complete strangers - often times on a team of painters made up of people I didn?t know from businesses in Mt. Pleasant I had never been to. By the end of the week, I would consider these people my friends, even though they usually made me go up on a ladder or a roof to paint some part of a house that only I could reach.
Paint-A-Thon always happened to be during what I considered the hottest week of the year. The timing during the year was perfect for me though, because before I got a full-time job, I volunteered at a church camp during the summer. Paint-A-Thon gave me something to do when I wasn?t able to volunteer at camp.
I even bought a hat my first year to keep the paint out of my hair. It was some cartoon character and I thought it was cute. My second year, people recognized me by my hat. We all shared a good laugh.
I?m not sure which part of the week was my favorite, knowing that at the end we had all helped people do something to improve their lives that they couldn?t have done on their own or knowing that over the course of the week I had become friends with people I wouldn?t have met otherwise.
I recently found out that Paint-A-Thon is over. The news broke my heart. Time to hang up my hat and find some other way to volunteer in the summer.
One of the best options I have found is the Mt. Pleasant Lions club. While it is a year-round organization, I have enjoyed learning about the organization and am excited to learn about the different ways I can help my community.