Getting Involved
Mike Hamel of Colorado Springs has written widely on the ways in which everyday folks can use their skills to create social change. Sound daunting? Consider the words of Vail entrepreneur Elaine Kelton, who recalls an Iroquois teaching that “everything you do carries seven generations of influence.” And who knows how many generations it affects when you teach a child to read, plant a garden, support a health organization or promote an arts program?

• Start small, encourages Hamel, a former pastor who recommends a neighborhood association, church or other local organization you already know as an easy entry point.

• Expose yourself to different opportunities. Then …

• Pay attention to what resonates with your heart. “Go for something you care about,” Hamel counsels. It may be related to your prior work or fulfill a wish for something you’ve only thought about – the road not taken.

• Don’t wait until you’ve made your millions. Many people begin their civic involvement before they can even consider retiring. Some establish “parallel careers,” he says, referring to the work that pays the bills and the community involvement that nourishes the soul.

• No contribution is insignificant. Stuffing envelopes may not be glamorous, but it still helps forward the mission of an organization and keeps the volunteer socially involved.

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