By MIKE EDDLEMAN
Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded people it doesn’t take special skills to volunteer and give back to the community. “You only need a heart full of grace,” he said. “A soul generated by love.”
It is in the spirit of those words that the United Way of Williamson County is inviting everyone to volunteer for the National Day of Service, Jan. 15, carrying on an 80-year tradition of serving everyone in Williamson County.
“Volunteerism has been a core piece of how we have done that work all these years,” said United Way of Williamson County CEO LeAnn Powers. “In order for our work to have a lasting impact, we can’t do it alone. We need to have the support of everyone in the community. Our invitation, each and every day for the last 80 years, is that our Williamson County neighbors join with us by giving, advocating and volunteering.”
Volunteering is a focus every day for the United Way, but on MLK Day, it takes on a special significance.
“The is not just a local Day of Service, it is also a National Day of Service,” Powers said. “On this day each year, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King and through the Day of Service we help to realize his dream, his challenge, that everyone work together to build our community. Dr. King recognized the power of service.”
United Way of Williamson County has a variety of projects to fit almost all specific needs or desires so that everyone can serve if they wish. Projects are planned throughout the county, with two in the Liberty Hill area.
“This year we have two projects on the west side,” Powers said. “One is in Leander at the Williamson County Regional Park where volunteers will work on the trail. The second is an ‘Extreme Barn Makeover’ where volunteers will clean and paint the barn at Spirit Reins in Liberty Hill.”
To volunteer for one of the projects scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon, Monday, Jan. 15, go to www.unitedway-wc.org and click “MLK Day of Service.” Volunteers can register as individuals or as a group, and those with questions can call (512) 255-6799.
With about a dozen projects on tap, there is something for everyone, but if there’s a different project a group would like to take on, that’s also an option.
“People are certainly welcome to set up a project and recruit volunteers,” Powers said. “We love to see more people volunteering in the community.”
Each year, this day helps Powers begin the new year with a great sense of community and new beginning.
“There is nothing better than seeing individuals and families of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, give back to their communities,” she said. “Because the staff and Board of Directors at UWWC want to ensure that everyone has a positive volunteer experience, we began working on this Day of Service back in October. We are very excited about the impact of a couple hundred people giving their time and talent all across Williamson County.”
Volunteers not only give something special, but take home something special from the experience as well.
“It’s a win-win for both the individual and the program or agency where they are volunteering,” Powers said. “It empowers the individual to use their time and talent as well as build community as different groups come together for a single purpose. And thanks to the generous gift of volunteer time, the program or agency is able to redirect donated monies to other areas of the work rather than having to pay to get that work completed.”