y husband often talks about feeling a need to give back, and I remind him that he does and we do, every day, in our very busy lives.
Not everyone can spend extra hours every week in volunteering and community service activities like the wonderful people that we feature in this issue of My Generation. But everyone can give back in many ways, in their day-to-day life. Things like listening to a child or a friend or an aging parent; sending cash, anonymously, to a young couple stricken with cancer; referring a friend to a good mentor; cooking a week’s worth of meals on a Sunday afternoon for a family who has lost a child; bringing the old blankets, towels and linens to an area shelter instead of throwing them in with the weekly stuff for the dump; giving your 40 percent off coupon to someone who might need it more; and so many, many things that we can do in our everyday existence that do not take (much) extra time or energy, but can mean so much.
Once we stop working 50-60 hours a week, I imagine we will do more in the way of traditional volunteering. In this issue, you will meet the McNairs of Westbrook, who take time every week to help out at the Greater Portland Animal Refuge League by walking the dogs and doing the laundry. Their time and effort in volunteering has brought joy and fulfillment, and new relationships to their lives. Linda McNair is no longer afraid of large-breed dogs, and Jay McNair is involved in a program that works with pit bulls and has resulted in many adoptions. They bring dogs into their homes that need extra care and attention. The McNairs have made volunteering and community service a big part of their lives. You can read more, and be totally inspired on page 8.
Bettie Kettell of Durham is very active in community service and volunteering through her local church. She has turned her interest in volunteering and her passion for the environment to the work of the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine. Kettell, who is a breast cancer survivor, suffers from asthma and is very interested in the toxins that exist in the products that we use. This interest, combined with her passion, led her to bring a series of films and documentaries to her church organization. Kettell is giving back in her service, and by way of educating others.
Beth Jones of Kennebunk got involved in feeding the hungry completely by accident. In much the same way that many of us do, she started “giving back” by sending extra snacks to school with her young son, who had a classmate that was always hungry. Soon she learned that their were other hungry kids at the elementary school and she came up with the idea to partner with the local food pantry fir a snack program at the school. That was 22 years ago, the program is still going strong today, and Jones has served as co-chairwoman for the entire time.
Every story we feature in this issue of My Generation is inspiring and uplifting. If you are looking for ideas on giving back, volunteering and community service, this is a great place to start.
Lee Hews, Publisher