Community better thanks to efforts of volunteers

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, July 17, 2011

Communities are only as strong as thepeople who support them.

    From civic clubs, to churches and scores of other organizations,Brookhaven and Lincoln County are blessed to have a wide variety ofoutlets in which local residents can share their talents andexperiences. In the next few weeks alone, several opportunities arecoming up for community-minded individuals to get involved.

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    With an expected increase in enrollment this fall, the MississippiSchool of the Arts is looking for more local citizens to serve ashost families for students.

    Host families represent an integral part of the arts schoolexperience. They provide a local contact – but more importantly, acaring heart and a willing ear to listen – for MSA students whomost likely are spending their first extended periods of time awayfrom home.

    Previous MSA students and host families agree the experience isbeneficial for all involved. While host families are desirable, theopportunity to host students also is available to single adults,including those widowed or divorced.

    For more information about the MSA Host Family program, contactPatti Perkins at 601-833-0020.

    Opportunities for involvement also extend to the local schoolsystems. Parent-Teacher Associations or similar educational supportgroups would certainly welcome more participation during theupcoming school year.

    Like small communities unto themselves, schools likewise are onlyas strong as the support they receive from parents and thecommunity at large. Progressive schools are the result ofsupportive communities, and PTA involvement by parents iscrucial.

    While the start of school has become an annual late-summerhappening, another seasonal event, the annual Exchange Club Fair,is also just around the corner. Set for July 29 – Aug. 6 atExchange Club Park, the fair also offers an opportunity forcitizens to become involved in community events.

    The fair has traditionally been held the last full week beforeschool starts; but this year, Lincoln County students will reportto class the Thursday of that week while city school studentsreport the following Tuesday.

    The Exchange Club Fair will be enjoyed by thousands, thanks to thededication of the army of Exchange Club members and volunteers whoput in countless hours to make the event possible.

    Exchange Club members will no doubt welcome any additionalvolunteers who can spare a few hours to work a booth or handle someother fair function. A number of other local organizations oftentake on a volunteer effort as one of their club projects. Just askaround, and you’ll find your own niche for helping out.    

    Volunteering and community involvement not only benefit the aidedorganization or special event, but also lead to long-lasting goodfeelings and a sense of purpose in the volunteer.

    If you have some spare time, consider sharing it with othersthrough volunteering. Our community will be the better for it.