Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Rotary, Del Shannon Car Show, the Santa Parade, and many, many more events and organizations in this community and the immediate area function because of volunteers. Centers of worship function because of volunteers. The Outhouse 500, landscaping assistance around the city have been touched by volunteers. Various events at the school happen because of the efforts and investments by volunteers. It’s a very positive and bold statement about the character of a community and the affection that motivates people to volunteer and give back to the community.
The City of Coopersville also functions and relies on volunteers through its various boards from the Recreation Advisory Board to the Planning Commission. There is also the DDA Board (Downtown Development Authority), the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Cemetery Board, Construction Board of Appeals, Election Commission, Local Officers Commission, and the Board of Review. We also rely on individuals to give of their time for a minimum monetary payment to serve in the Emergency Services as first responders on medical emergencies. The Coopersville-Polkton Fire Department heavily relies on volunteers to serve as first responders for fire calls, significant accidents on I-96, and mutual aid to surrounding communities.
Without volunteers, the City of Coopersville and the community at large would cease to function properly. Sure, the city has the administrative staff which manages the mandates and requirements of the City Charter and the State of Michigan as well as the day-to-day responsibilities of answering questions of the public, managing the various financial funds required to provide services to the residents, and providing support for the city council. The Department of Public Works removes snow from our streets, maintains various landscaping tasks, empties trash containers, sweeps the streets, and many more tasks to make the city look attractive. The Water and Sewer Departments provide and maintains these utilities to the highest standards.
However, to name but a few:
- Policy is determined by city council members, NOT city staff.
- The Planning Commission takes action on development within the community and makes recommendations to the city council on ordinance language and updates; NOT city staff.
- The DDA Board oversees the economic development of the DDA District to enhance the economic growth within the city; NOT city staff.
- The Zoning Board of Appeals acts on requests to make a variance on existing ordinances; NOT city staff.
I could go on and on, but the point is fairly simple and profound. Volunteers are the life blood of a city and its community, without them there is no functioning city or community. The reason for this memo is this; we are having difficulty filling vacancies in most of the boards, Emergency Services, and the Fire Department. It will be critical within a year especially for our medical first responders in the Emergency Rescue Department. We will have multiply vacancies at the end of this year on the DDA Board.
All of our lives have become busy, complicated, and the societal distractions are endless. When I pause and evaluate what I have done in the “volunteering mode” I’m a little embarrassed as I probably could do more. It’s difficult to carve out a couple more hours a month for yet another item on our “To Do List”, and we all have that annoying list. I hope all of us can at least consider where we might be most effective in the areas mentioned above and at least contact city hall and ask a few questions. Until then, thank you for reviewing this memo and enjoy your summer.
“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don't live in a world all of your own.”
― Albert Schweitzer
“It's impossible to be involved in all situations, but there's no excuse not to be involved in something, somewhere, somehow, with someone. Make an ounce of difference.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway
“The interior joy we feel when we have done a good deed is the nourishment the soul requires.”
― Albert Schweitzer
“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.
“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.”
― Abraham Lincoln
Water Project Phase I
The application to the EDA (Economic Development Administration) is still being processed by staff and Ken Rizzio at Lakeshore Advantage. Application is on schedule to be sent to the EDA before the end of June. As always if you have questions please contact me.
REPEAT - Muskegon Waste Water Treatment Plant Option
Nothing new to report at this time. There have been some rumblings as to possible funding mechanisms, but nothing of any substance. As information becomes available, and is sharable, I will keep members of this council. Please contact me if you have comments or require answers to questions.
REPEAT - Master Plan Update: Jonathan Seyferth
We are nearing the end of feedback window on the draft master plan which has been ongoing since mid-February. The end of the feedback window back in March started a timeline that, if all goes according to plan, should allow the master plan to be considered for final adoption in July.
The timeline is as follows:
- Late June – The 9-week feedback window will close in late June which is also the June Planning Commission meeting date.
- July 17 – The Planning Commission would hold a Public Hearing on formal adoption of the master plan – step one in a two-step adoption process. If approved by the PC, it is sent to the City Council for final adoption.
- July 24 – At the second City Council meeting in July, the City Council will be asked to take the second step in the process with a final adoption of the master plan.
A draft and executive summary of the Master Plan can be found at www.plancoopersville.com. Updates and comments on the final draft will also be accepted on the website.
(This article previously appeared on MovingWorlds.org.)
The power of volunteering has been documented for the last 2,500+ years, however a slew of recent research is shedding even more light onto its surprising benefits. Science now proves what great leaders and philosophers have known for years:
“One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” - Gordon Hinckle
Here are five surprising benefits of volunteering:
1. Volunteering time makes you feel like you have more time. Wharton professor Cassie Mogilner wrote in the Harvard Business Review that her research found those who volunteer their time feel like they have more of it. This is similar to other research showing that people who donate to charity feel wealthier.
Said Mogliner: “The results show that giving your time to others can make you feel more ‘time affluent’ and less time-constrained than wasting your time, spending it on yourself, or even getting a windfall of free time.”
2. Volunteering your skills helps you develop new skills. In my experience, skills-based volunteering is an excellent opportunity to develop talents to help you get ahead in your career. In fact, an article in Stanford Social Innovation Review called skills-based volunteering overseas “the next executive training ground.”
At MovingWorlds, we’ve found that skills development in technical and leadership-related areas is the primary reason corporations invest in international skills-based volunteering programs.
(MORE: Volunteering Pays for Job Hunters)
3. Volunteering your body helps you have a healthier body. A Corporation for National & Community Service report noted: “Research demonstrates that volunteering leads to better health… those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.”
The fact that volunteering has been proven to make you healthier is reason enough to engage in pro bono activities. For more information on this, read “Can Volunteering Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease?”
4. Volunteering your experience helps build your experience. We consistently see this with highly skilled professionals like investment bankers and business consultants. Also, volunteering in a new industry will give you knowledge to help you switch fields. And if you want to move from the corporate world to the nonprofit sector, volunteering first can help prove your commitment.
Beyond our own research, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Next Avenue have published articles about how volunteering can help you earn your next job.
As the Journal wrote: “According to the survey of 202 human-resource executives, skilled volunteer work — such as helping a nonprofit with its finances — makes job applicants look more appealing to hiring manager.”
5. Volunteering your love makes you feel more love. Admittedly, love is a hard thing to measure. But when researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Volunteering builds empathy, strengthens social bonds and makes you smile — all factors that increase the feeling of love.