Our mountains give us so much, yet sometimes we forget to acknowledge its natural beauty. We take for granted the fresh air and use air conditioning, we opt for cars instead of walking short distances, and we pave our roads to keep those cars from getting dusty. Our mountains give us the intangible things that most people never realize.
Our mountains give us plenty, and it seems there are always opportunities to give back. Every time we turn around, we’re being asked to give-give-give, and while there are plenty of excellent charities worldwide, sometimes it’s nice to remember the century’s old adage “Charity begins at home”. Home is where we live. The mountains are our home. Give locally.
We should embrace the opportunity to give back locally whenever possible. Everyone has something to give. There are people in our area that will drop huge amounts of money to help worthy causes, and the recipients are very grateful. There are people who aren’t heavy in their portfolio, but donate their time and services to organizations to help others, and there are some that do both. Sometimes people give more than they normally would were it not for tax breaks, and some people give just because it feels good.
Realtors are sometimes the first impression of a community. We are, in a way ambassadors of the mountains, and while it’s impossible to know everything going on, we owe it to our clients to let them know what makes our community a place they want to purchase a home. If we start the conversation early, chances are those same clients will be the ones donating their time or money in some of our local organizations. ‘Back in the day’, larger communities had welcome wagons- in our area, Realtors are the welcome wagon.
Here’s just a few things that are easy to participate in that are very close to my heart:
Mountain Garden Club plant sale: You can buy a plant (or a hundred plants) and the money goes to local students scholarships to further their education. The garden club also has Therapy garden at the Nursing Center, and our K-12 school involves our local school children in forest fire awareness, butterfly gardens and more. 2017 marked the 35th year of the plant sale which is always held the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, 9:00 – Noon.
Mountain Top Rotary 5K Run– you can run or walk the 3.10 miles which starts and ends at Founders Park. If you’re not the athletic type, you can be there to support the ones participating, and of course, donations are always accepted. The proceeds helps several local nonprofits such as the food pantry, free medical clinic, Highland Literacy Council, Emergency Council as well as a mission in Bolivia and more. The Mountain Top Rotary meets every Monday 5:30 pm at the Church of the Incarnation at the corner of Horse Cove Road and Fifth Street.
Highlands Writer’s Group Anthology book is now available. The price is $15.00, and all the proceeds go to the Hudson Library. The Highlands Writer’s Group meets each Thursday April – December 1:30-2:30 for free style with writing prompts, and 2:30 – 4:00 participants may read and critique.
The Highlands Motoring Festival always brings lots of cars to ogle over, and that event raises awareness and funds for The Literacy Council. You can find out more at www.HighlandsMotoringFestival.com
These are just the tip of the iceberg – there’s always something going on. Get involved. Take notice of all the giving opportunities available and reach deep to give what you can. Why give locally? Because our very livelihood in these mountains depends on your donations. Everyone in these mountains don’t have tee times, share laughter over tinkling wine goblets before a chef prepared meal, drive expensive cars or shop the fineries of our upscale shops. There are people that live in our area that need the donated food, clothing, medical care, and household furnishings in order to remain here so they can do the work necessary for others to enjoy the area. Don’t think of those people as less fortunate though, remember most of their families were here long before anyone else. Their richness lies in their mountain heritage- a heritage we all want to preserve.
When an artist paints a picture, he ends up with his ideas on the canvas. Painstakingly, the brush strokes tell a story, and when he’s finished-it’s done. A masterpiece or not, it’s done, and we can look at that painting forever. Our community is not a masterpiece, it’s not even a painting, and it’s far from being done. Our community is a work in progress, and its volunteer workforce, and donations given are a vital part of keeping it vibrant for years to come.
Everyone has something to give, whether it’s money, time, or experience ‘from the outside world’. Sometimes just an appreciative smiles goes a long way.