Sunday, February 12, 2012


Can one person make a difference in their community?  Absolutely!  Just ask all the civic, cultural, churches, schools, hospitals and many more that rely on the generous gift of time and talent by volunteers to make their respective organizations work. 

Every person has a talent, a gift they can share through volunteerism.  Your talent may be artistic, your talent may be hospitality, your talent may be caring, your talent may be organization, your talent may be singing…….the list is endless.  Everyone has a unique and individual perspective to share with those in our community.  Volunteerism helps build communities, it helps build good will and it helps build relationships.   

Tapping into people’s skills and knowledge creates an atmosphere in making a difference for those you are serving and those who are being served.  It’s what makes us a community of caring.  It’s what makes us a community of hope.  It’s what makes us a community that is successful.  

Many people who volunteer gain personal growth than cannot be achieved anywhere else.  Volunteers are given the opportunity to see life from a variety of different angles, giving them, at the end of the day, a sense of gratefulness from the receiver and a sense of humility and satisfaction for their own lives.  As a volunteer, you can give as much of your time as your want.  Whatever your level of commitment, you are making a difference. 

No one achieves success without acknowledging the help of others and being grateful for all of us pulling together to achieve success.  As a community, we need one another. 

This year, on May 21-25, 2012, the Homestead National Monument, will be host to Chautauqua “Free Land:  1862 Shaping of Modern America”.  There will be five days and nights of discussion that will highlight the history of homesteading and the settlement of the American West.  There will be a weeklong camp for youth in our community, where the kids will learn about local characters, create the image and present a 3-5 minute impersonation of that person.  The students will share their own Chautauqua on Friday night.  There are many, many more activities planned and these will be publicized in the upcoming weeks and months.   

This event will rely on hundreds of volunteers from our community to make it successful.  The Homestead National Monument has been blessed with a core of volunteers who willingly and passionately promote the Homestead National Monument.  They are the “Friends of the Homestead.”   

The Friends of the Homestead have been instrumental time and again for making a difference in the quality of programs offered by the Homestead National Monument.  Friends of the Homestead is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides both volunteer support and a mechanism for receiving funds that are then donated to promote and enhance park programs.   

If you are interested in becoming a part of “Friends of the Homestead” or if you are interested in volunteering for the Chautauqua event, you can call either co-chairs, Susan Cook @ 402-223-1712 or Janet Byars @ 402-223-4439 or the Homestead National Monument at 402-223-3514.   

If you are interested in volunteering for any organization, just pick up the phone and let them know that you are available and want to be part of their mission.  

The question once more is:  “Can one person make a difference in their community?”  The answer is:  “Yes, WE can!” 

Written by:  Janet Byars, co-chair of the “Free Land:  1862 Shaping of America” event.

Chautauqua Calendar

  • May 20: Meet the Chautauquans 11:00 am Chautauqua Park Beatrice
  • May 20: 150th Anniversary Begins 6:00 pm Homestead