These three words were spoken by Bill Clinton during his inauguration of AmeriCorps to describe his vision of a new era where community serves community, and serves well. The Spokane Service Team AmeriCorps has taken this idea and put it into action. It is the third year of our Season of Service, a month long of volunteering, where community minded families and individuals pair up with local non-profits to serve Spokane during the holiday season. The goal is to support and strengthen Spokane during one of its neediest times of the year, and assist in making that vital connection between the individual and the community.
Season of Service started out this year with an opening dinner on December 1st. Attendance included individuals and families from the community, AmeriCorps members, and representatives from local non-profits. After a great potluck meal, the representatives from each local non-profit gave a short presentation about how they support and serve the Spokane community and the volunteer opportunities they offer. After the dinner everyone, including the non-profit representatives themselves, were given some time to go around and visit with each other and to sign up for volunteering. The atmosphere of the event was light and open, and created a strong start for Season of Service.
In total, the families and individuals involved with Season of Service successfully generated 144 volunteer hours for the whole month of December. At a time when so many other things take priority, committed members of the community selflessly gave their time and energy to make the world they live in better. The Spokane Service Team and especially Spokane, thanks them tremendously for all their effort. The following is a list of the local non-profits that participated in and benefited from Season of Service: Corbin Senior Activity Center, Coalition of Responsible Disabled, First Call For Help, First Night Spokane, Teen Challenge, Free Rein Therapeutic Riding, 2nd Harvest, Hope House, Mission Community Outreach Center, Odyssey Youth Center, Page Ahead, Spokane Veterans Home, Spokanimal, VOICES, and Volunteer Chore Services.
December saw volunteers do so much in a variety of places. All the students from Loon Lake Elementary school colored holiday cards for veterans that were then directly handed out by AmeriCorps members at the Spokane Veterans Home – To reciprocate the goodwill the veterans have offered to go and personally thank the students at Loon Lake.
Some took volunteering into their homes and one family in particular sewed together holiday stockings and gifted them to the members of the NEWESD 101 Riverside Campus. First Night, Spokane’s premier winter holiday event that focuses on a healthy and family oriented celebration of New Years Eve, received a lot of volunteer help again this year with volunteers setting up and closing the event. VOICES also received much needed help from volunteers for their annual December community outreach dinner and gift-giving event, where as an added bonus, volunteers received free winter caps.
Many times individuals volunteer their time to do so many good things. Many of these good deeds go unnoticed and in fact, remain a beautiful secret shared only between the ones involved. Season of Service helps to take these random acts of volunteering to the next level, a community level. Season of Service wants to first recognize and thank those unsung volunteers that work every day, all year long to make the world a better place, and then to give a special thanks to those who selflessly gave up their holiday time to support Spokane’s local non-profits and a thank-you to everyone else that supported Season of Service.
– Daniel Ramos III