Dedicate time to volunteer services in the new year

New Year’s resolutions are often focused on goals that serve to improve the life of the resolver-lose weight, get married, kick the caffeine addiction-but very few involve selfless acts. Helping others each day or on a regular basis, however, can still serve the purpose of bettering your own life while also enriching the lives of others.

Whether it’s something as small as holding open the door for someone or as big as donating a kidney, doing something kind for someone else can create a chain of good deeds that will leave an impact larger than the original goal.

Not only is it easy to do something nice, but there are plenty of opportunities out there and plenty of people that could use it, say some local residents.

Janice Hill, a pastor for the Central Christian Church in Marietta and First Christian Church in Parkersburg, goes above and beyond the act of enriching her congregation, and said that anyone can make someone else’s day.

“The most unhappy times in my life are when I’m caught up in me. The best times are when I’m way in the background,” Hill said. “It’s always been what I can do for other people. That’s where happiness is. So we always look for ways to let people know that they’re special and important.”

Hill and other volunteers make up baskets of homemade goodies-anything from cookies to crocks of soup-and deliver them to a different person in the community every month. No one is immune, Hill said. It’s anyone who in their opinion, is just out there working hard. The post office received a basket during the holidays, and the mayor of Marietta was the most recent recipient.

“The entire world is putting people down, with gossip and negativity,” Hill said, mentioning that making someone’s day when they’re having a bad day can create a chain of good feelings, both from the recipients and the givers.

The chance to help and be kind is not hard, Hill said, but sometimes people just need to be reminded. Her own car sports a vanity plate reading “B Kind.” Though people ask her if it’s meant to be a reminder to others, Hill claims that it’s to remind herself to seek out people to help.

“The key is having your antennas out,” she said. “There are so many opportunities to do something kind, just do it. Look for them, and they’ll be there.”

The pay-it-forward act of picking up the bill for the car behind you in the drive-thru has becoming an explosive trend. Tim Horton’s in Marietta is no stranger to that kind deed.

“I would say that happens here at least once a day,” said Kelly Mullins, a shift supervisor. “We have a lot of regulars that do it, and on the holidays, it’s like wildfire.”

She said they’ve come to expect it daily as a part of the normal business day.

“There was one day, I had several people that would give us a $20 and said ‘use this to cover as much as you can,'” Mullins said.

For those who may want more organization, clubs and institutions provide ample opportunities to do nice things for people.

“We are always seeking volunteers,” said Nancy Matheny, the activities coordinator at O’Neill Center in Marietta.

People can help plan events, transport seniors to doctor’s appointments, or even just connect with each other. Matheny said there’s a big demand now for people to come and teach seniors how to use computers.

“We use the resources out of Marietta College, but we love to have other seniors because they understand each other,” she said. “Once you retire and need an outlet it’s a great opportunity.”

The center is seeing more baby boomers moving into retirement that still need opportunities to provide service and help out, she said.

Janice Arnold, a member of the Reno Lions Club, said doing something kind is as easy as showing up to one of her club’s meetings. The club does everything from purchasing eye glasses for people who cannot afford them to holding parties during the holidays for children to enjoy.

“We work for the community as the world’s largest community service organization. We do what we can do,” Arnold said.

Lions Club raises money for all of its charitable work itself in order to help where there’s need and to do common, ordinary things that anyone can do to hep each other out.

“It’s very rewarding. People always say ‘we don’t have time,’ but take an hour or two a month. There’s time,” Arnold said. “You don’t have to go to everything, just help every once in a while.”