KEDA Voices: Building our community by volunteering your talents
10 Aug 2022
KEDA Voices, Executive Director Monthly Column, Erin Leedham
Erin Leedham for The Kitsap Sun
The Kitsap Peninsula is such a beautiful place to live and work. Kitsap Economic Development Alliance’s website describes it as ”One spectacular place, endless possibilities…”
Those possibilities are where we as individuals come in.
We all have opinions on how our world should be run. We vote to put officials in place who align with our goals. But there is another step which needs our energy, and that is volunteering our time.
It's everyday people making a difference that help Kitsap County's goals be realized. Governments, schools, nonprofits all improve with the investment of hours of volunteering from people like you and I, and they are asking for our help.
It is understood that not everyone can fit additional hours in already tight schedules. But we can all find some amount of time to invest in achieving our goals. We can make phone calls for candidates we support, attend PTSA meetings at our children’s school, work one day a month at the local food bank. These examples reflect where our energy makes a difference. Each city and the county have advisory boards, commissions, and committees which are always in need of people to fill vacant positions.
They want us, and they need us. Our time invested here can bring us closer to the vision we have for where we live. If we want to have our voices heard, we must be in the conversation. Volunteering can bring us into a position where our voices are heard.
Over the years my volunteering has taken me from an overnight trip with a troop of Girl Scouts on the USS Hornet to selling Duck Race tickets with Rotary and providing meals to families in times of need. Now, as an empty nester, larger investments of my time are spent working with KEDA, focused on larger priorities for the community's economic future.
The investments of time I make have been focused on my family and my community. There are so many ways to find the niche that you care about. Concerned about aging on the peninsula? The Kitsap County Aging Advisory Council is looking for volunteers. Interested in helping our youth thrive? There's a county Commission on Children and Youth Advisory Board. If you like to work outdoors, Kitsap Harvest is looking for gleaning volunteers to help pick from abundant private gardens to put the produce into food access programs throughout the county. And there are our hard-working local service clubs, including Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions, that pour their efforts into a wide range of projects in the community and are thankful for assistance that comes from non-members.
A United Way website can help you find volunteer opportunities throughout Kitsap County. That's found at www.unitedwaykitsap.org/volunteer-kitsap. A Kitsap County listing may be found at www.kitsapgov.com, by searching for “volunteer.” And your city or your favorite non-profit will also have volunteer information to help inspire you to find a way to give back.
Kitsap is growing, and there is no better time than now to invest our energy into our community. Our efforts today will influence what this area will be like in the future.
Erin Leedham is general manager of the Kitsap Mall and a member of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance board of directors.