Volunteers make all the difference

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 20, 2006

Lafon Barlow, the Cahaba Center Mental Retardation Director, said that volunteers are the heart of today’s Special Olympics, which are being held at noon at Memorial Stadium. Barlow, like many other leaders of non-profit organizations, understands that without volunteers, their services are hindered and perhaps even unavailable.

Volunteers have always been a part of our community, our country and nation. From the humble beginnings of organizations such as the American Red Cross to the Salvation Army, we have relied on people’s will and desire to help others.

In Selma alone, there are hundreds of opportunities to volunteer. One could volunteer for a political campaign or to help a sick neighbor. Organizations such as hospices, nursing homes and others appreciate the time devoted by a caring person looking to brighten another’s day.

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From local civic clubs and organizations to other service-oriented organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the number of volunteers is instrumental in the success of that organization. Just ask any of the leaders of these organizations, and they will tell you that without volunteers there would be no hope – no action.

It is nice to know that in our community volunteers are plentiful. The Special Olympics alone is expected to bring in between 150-200 volunteers. These are people with jobs and responsibilities, but they are going outside their normal realm so they can help others. They sacrifice time from their workplace and even away from their home to see that good works are accomplished.

It’s important that our community recognizes the efforts of those who give to others. Thanks to the volunteers for today’s Olympics, and thanks to all those who can be considered a volunteer.