Promote volunteering in our community

My father was a Jefferson Award recipient, a prestigious national recognition honoring community and public service volunteering in America. His example of the power of volunteering is one of the primary reasons I applied for the Leadership Aiken County program.

Now, as a member of the current LAC class, I have witnessed our community leaders in action. I have lived in Aiken for 20 years, how could so much be going on in my community and I not be aware it?

Shamefully, it boiled down to apathy. I do not feel I am unique to the human condition and guilty as it pertains to breaking out the checkbook – and that being the extent of any involvement with a community charity.

I have learned more in the past three months about myself and community than in the past 20.

Community services in Aiken County do not just happen. Yes they take funding. They also require human talent. You may be surprised to learn that funding was not always their top need – community involvement was.

A few approaches community and government leaders may want to consider:

• Encourage college students to become community volunteers and future leaders by an incentive a program with reduced fees for their education.

• Providing Aiken County high schools student volunteer opportunities – it contributes to building character and good citizenship.

• Develop a city and county government volunteer program for a reduction in taxes.

• Businesses could sponsor/collaborate with a community service agency and champion employee volunteer opportunities.

• Recognize groups that volunteer.

James D. McDaniel