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Volunteers Make a Real Difference

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By Charlotte Nash

Here in Gwinnett County, we have a long history of pulling together to help get things done – especially during challenging times.

Spending cuts have hit all of us – governments, families, businesses, even faith-based organizations. We”ve all had to face the difference between wants and needs, and we”ve seen how budget cuts affect the quality of life in our community.

Over many decades, Gwinnett has built a solid foundation that now offers local residents an enviable lifestyle. We have well-maintained infrastructure, great schools, outstanding neighborhoods, excellent healthcare and a dynamic business community. What a great starting point.

I believe we can continue to build on that foundation, despite the recession, by doing what we”ve always done – pulling together to help each other out. I believe our quality of life doesn”t have to suffer during hard economic times. I believe we can control spending and still have some nice amenities as well. How? By volunteering!

Summer is a perfect time to get started. Families have more time together, days are longer, and even the weather usually cooperates. There are so many needs in our community that surely everyone can find a way to make a difference.

This spring, we announced a new online sign-up program to match those needs with willing volunteers. The idea is to make it easy to find out how you can help – you, your whole family, and your friends and neighbors as well. Businesses can opt in, too, to give employees a chance to give back to the community alongside their coworkers.

You”ll find it at www.volunteergwinnett.net. The opportunities range from helping with one-time events to monthly, weekly and even daily needs if you have time on your hands and would like to get really involved.

Many County departments have depended on volunteers for years, but now you can find all the needs in one place. It”s easy to find a niche that matches your interests, skills, talents, and abilities.

By making good use of volunteers, local governments can provide more than just the bare essentials. We can spend tax dollars wisely while giving residents and businesses more ways to play an active part in helping build a stronger, more vibrant community.

I urge you try volunteering this summer. It could change you – and your community – in ways you”ve never imagined.