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Looking for a way to make a difference? Try volunteering
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“Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.”  - William James

New Years is traditionally a time for resolve, a time for looking bravely into the future and seeing ourselves not as we are now, but as we hope to be 365 days down the road.
So, tonight, many of us will promise to become better parents, or children, or husbands, or wives. 
Among other things, we will vow to ourselves to lose weight or stop smoking, or get out of debt. We’ll plan to be nicer to our co-workers or better stewards of the environment – and so on and on.
All are worthwhile goals. And it doesn’t matter that not all of us will keep all our resolutions.
What is important is that we still have the desire to make ourselves into better people and we keep making resolutions to that end.
That’s truly the wonder of the New Year. It stretches ahead with boundless opportunities for us to become who we want to be, not who we necessarily are.
If you are one of those who wants to make a difference to your fellow man in 2012, consider volunteering. Whether it’s a local animal shelter, becoming a volunteer firefighter or helping out one of Bryan County’s fine schools, there are literally dozens of ways to help.
You can donate time to cleaning up the environment or planting trees, or helping protect wildlife through a number of fine groups such as the Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation, the Ogeechee Riverkeeper or The Dolphin Project, among others.
Or, you can elect to help senior citizens for the military through various programs.
Groups such as  Meals on Wheels, the Red Cross and USO are in the area as well and can always use a hand. The same goes or the Wounded Warriors Project, the Matthew Freeman Project: Pens and Papers for Peace.
This is just a sampling of ideas, but the bottom line is that we’re a better community when the community  is involved and engaged. 
You might even decide to get involved in local government. There are a number of boards which depend on volunteers for help in making decisions for the welfare of those who live in Bryan County.
Looking for a place to get started? Try contacting the United Way or Bryan County Family Connection, or stop by to meet with your elected officials and see what they need. And we can’t forget the county’s furry friends. Volunteering at the county animal shelter for even just one day can help out tremendously.
These are just a few ideas. You may find a need that isn’t being met and begin meeting it on your own.
Volunteering doesn’t pay a salary, of course. It pays far, far more than that.

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