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Samantha Jones

Sam's Notebook

Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com

Grateful for volunteerism

Friday, November 22, 2019

I spent much of last week working on the winter edition of HIlights, our quarterly magazine on everything thatís happening in Holiday Island. Like the rest of Carroll County, Holiday Island packs a ton of volunteerism into a relatively small community.

Thatís especially apparent when it comes to the Holiday Island Rotary Club, which sponsors events to help local children make better life choices. The club also gives scholarships to Eureka Springs seniors at the end of the year and runs the Carroll County Youth Literacy Foundation Inc. That foundation is an offshoot of Dolly Partonís Imagination Library, which provides a free book to children from birth to 5 years of age.

I grew up reading and writing constantly, so I know the value of reading early on. Thatís exactly what the foundation provides for local youth. The faster young people learn to read, the faster they can communicate and understand the world around them. Gideon and I donít have children but weíd sign our kids up for the program if we did. Itís so valuable and free to the families that sign up. Whatís not to like about that?

Another exciting development in Holiday Island is the Haddock Lane Trail, which recently won an award fro the Arkansas Recreation & Parks Association. The reason for the award is simple. The Holiday Island Hikers put in more than 350 volunteer hours to construct the trail and they intend to spend more volunteer hours maintaining it. If thatís not an example of volunteerism at work, I donít know what is.

Holiday Island isnít the only community in Carroll County blessed by volunteerism. Both Berryville and Eureka Springs have a Rotary chapter and the clubs often work together with the chapter in Holiday Island. We also have two food banks in our county: Loaves & Fishes Food Bank in Berryville and Flint Street Fellowship in Eureka Springs. From the stories I have written over the years, I have firsthand knowledge of how important these food banks are to the community.

Now that we are approaching the holidays, volunteerism is more important than ever. This is the time of year when people donate toys, canned food and other items to families that wouldnít have much to give or eat during the holidays. I am grateful for all the opportunities to give back in our community. Gideon and I have always believed in helping others, but weíve really put that in action since he started teaching at the Eureka Springs School District.

Now we have the knowledge and the means to be more charitable around the holidays. We are excited to give back, especially since thereís so many ways to do that in our community. Volunteerism matters and we hope to help organizations that change lives for the better.

With so many nonprofits that give back to the community, weíre not sure which organizations to support this year. What is your favorite nonprofit in Carroll County? Send me an email or give me a call.

I would love to know more about the volunteer organizations in our community. As always, thank you for reading my column. I look forward to hearing from you.