This year, globalHMA is interrupting our individual birthday celebrations to spend time volunteering during our birthday month. We encourage each person to select a cause that matters to them, give back and share their volunteer experience.

As I sit at a table, in a room on the second floor of the Shuts Community Library, I’m surrounded by quotes on the wall. One of which I keep reading over and over again to myself:

“Community can lift us out of ourselves. It can also suppress us. It depends on the spirit of the community.” – Richard Louv

I am not a native to Lancaster County, but found myself here for my college education. From early on, you could sense something a little different about this place. There was a deeper sense of what self was, and what you could do with that for the others around you. People felt pride in the place they called home, and were proud to chip in to help out where they could. I was delighted when I heard our company was changing our birthday policy and offering another opportunity to give back to our community.

Being a nature lover, I turned to Lancaster Parks and Rec to spend my day volunteering. Tammy Agesen set me up with the supplies and direction to create stars out of sticks that the children in their programs had recently collected. Though they weren’t working on them that day, there was an upcoming event, where the children would paint the stars white and decorate them with raffia. Using one of each of the 3 sizes of stars I created, they would then make a mobile to take home and share.

Spending my birthday, with a hot glue gun in hand, I felt overjoyed knowing these sticks would soon make their final transition – from growing outdoors to something these kids could hang up and feel proud of what they’ve made.

If you can make the arrangements, I highly suggest helping out in your community. Give what you can, and you’ll be amazed at what will come back around to you.