Giving back

Published 8:59 am Monday, September 15, 2014

Giving back to the community is one of the best ways a person can create a real, lasting and visible change in both the lives of those around us and in ourselves.

When the United Way of Southeast Louisiana held its two big local campaign kickoff events last week, the agency not only showed the community the power of giving but also helped illuminate the many ways in which one can give back.

Although the national economic outlook is not quite so grim as it was a few years ago, many people still struggle to make ends meet, so monetary donations are not a viable option for some. But that does not mean they cannot contribute to the betterment of the community. And the way to do this is through giving some things that each of us has — time and talent.

True, time is in short supply for many of us, but few people are so busy that they can’t set aside an hour or two each week to do something that truly matters. The United Way has partnered with several local organizations, including ADAPT, the American Red Cross, the Bogalusa YMCA, the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans, Catholic Charities, the Regina Coeli Child Development Center, Second Harvest Food Bank, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, VIA LINK and the Youth Services Bureau, and most of these organizations are powered by volunteers. And this is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are dozens of local charitable organizations that would be thrilled to have some extra help, even if only for an hour or two.

And because the opportunities to give back are so many and varied, everyone can find an organization perfectly suited to their talents and interests. For example, those who can academics as a particular strong suit might opt to tutor local children in the afternoons, while those who lean more toward athletics can offer their expertise to local youth leagues.

Outside of these traditional means of giving back to the community, there are countless options that take little more than a willingness to get out and have a little fun. Next weekend, for instance, Cassidy Park will host the Open Road Cruisers Benefit Car Show, and visitors can help out just by going out and enjoying the food, music and sights that will be on tap.

Given all these options, there is little reason someone can’t find a way to give back to the community, but if you still can’t find anything suitable, start your own initiative to address the needs you see in your own neighborhood. Every bit counts toward building a better Bogalusa and Washington Parish.

David Vitrano is the editor and general manager of The Daily News. He can be reached at