The tradition of making New Year resolutions is noble but somewhat wasted on individuals, as most of us annually resolve to accomplish more than we are truly committed to achieving. When we, as individuals, try to push ourselves in a direction we are not inclined to go, we can find or create justification for changing our minds. Perhaps a group effort can be more effective at accomplishing a goal. One could argue that peer pressure to finish a project is a positive stressor. Further, delegating tasks according to group member talents can be a big plus. What I am really saying is, instead of "Project Me," a more fruitful consideration is "Project We."
There are many organizations that can use our individual talents. Perhaps you have a certain area of expertise and would like to share your knowledge. How about contacting the Speakers Bureau to offer yourself as a speaker? Do you have building skills or even just the ability to wield a hammer or provide snacks for workers or run errands? Contact Habitat for Humanity. Spanish interpreters are in high demand in our community. Volunteers are welcome at the Superior Court's Spanish Self-Help Center. Students returning to California State University-Fresno (CSUF) have access to volunteer positions, as well. Some other possibilities are to volunteer to campaign for someone running for an office, or serve on a public board, or help out at a homeless shelter. [See links below.]
Our area of the San Joaquin Valley has many needs to be filled. We have historically been an agriculturally-based economy. While we are diversifying, we will always be tied to agricultural. This is who we are in this rich farmland, and we need to embrace our heritage. The Greater Fresno area is beautiful and strong because it is based on the commonalities of our 100-plus races and ethnicities. We are oriented toward family and community. We are forward-thinking, but conservative with our resources, because we have often received less from the State and federal governments than larger, coastal cities. We enjoy our setting within two or three hours of mountains, desert, beaches, and big cities.
I absolutely love living in Fresno because Fresnans are big-hearted people. When there is a human need, we come together to provide, such as food for the farming communities that had little or no work this year due to drought and other water issues. When "Extreme Makeover-Home Edition" came to town, there were more volunteers than the builders could use, and it was not just due to the presence of TV cameras. When we see a funeral carwash, we pull in if we have the time and cash . . . or sometimes just make a donation. Kids Day . . . Toys for Tots . . . replacing stolen turkeys . . . the list goes on and on.
Because we are naturally a supportive community, it makes sense to resolve to consciously do what we are prone to do on a regular basis, instead of waiting for a crisis. By our actions, we can strive to make 2010 a very happy year for all of us.