Publisher's Note: Help up
By Jody Reese
During the holiday season it’s easy to get jaded about giving. It seems that everyone is asking for your money and you feel that you don’t even have enough for your needs. As people have been pulling back in some consumer spending, so too have donations to charities been declining.
While that’s understandable, it’s unfortunate because most of our charities and nonprofits have a proven track record of need, from nurturing the arts to helping feed the needy. The slimming of giving hits those charities in the social services that focus on child development especially hard and helps weaken our communities’ quality of life almost immediately.
It’s a pretty straight path.
Putting young people on the right track has been a mission of a handful of local charities, including the Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Salvation Army, to name a few. Without these organizations, many young people, especially those with single-parent families and low incomes, are more likely to end up in jail.
That’s a triple whammy for our communities. First there is crime, then the cost of catching and incarcerating them (more than the cost of college) and then many times the cycle is repeated with these children’s children entering a cycle of poverty and fatherlessness.
Of course, we’re not going to create a utopia simply by giving to these local charities, but we can reduce the emotional and financial costs by tackling these problems early and putting thousands of young people on the path to finish high school and have a real chance at owning their own home and adding to our communities. That value is immeasurable.
Even if giving a cash gift isn’t possible, think about volunteering your time. The Big Brothers Big Sisters constantly has a shortage of big brothers and big sisters. The Boy Scouts could always use more group leaders, and your local church could always use more youth leaders.
These groups don’t offer a handout; it’s really a hand up, and it’s a hand up for all of us.
The ice storm of 2008 was less a life-threatening event than a colossal pain and disruption — and still is in many neighborhoods. What came through is a great sense of community statewide. Neighbors helping neighbors clear roads, driveways, sharing generators and bunking with each other.
It’s easy to take the point of view that everyone’s out for themselves, but that rarely squares with reality. There will always be some on the fringe who use these types of emergencies to take advantage, but they are few. We organize into groups, towns, states and countries because we value the companionship, and emergencies, such as this ice storm, prove that. The spirit of community is alive and well in southern New Hamphire.