Making a difference in our communities

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When it comes to getting involved in the community, many people are reticent because they question if their efforts can really make a difference in the lives of others.
But two activities associated with the start of the new school year show that individuals can make a difference and that ideas, no matter how small to begin with, can grow to the point where they help hundreds, or thousands, of people in need.
Marysvilles Summer Jubilee began nine years ago when Pastors Mike and Cyndi Villamor saw a need in children who were returning to school and decided to do something about it. They decided to hand out free school supplies to students in need in the community, many of whom faced the coming school year without the proper supplies they would need to be successful.
That first year they gave away about 50 backpacks filled with the much-needed school supplies. The annual event continued to grow to meet the increasing demand and in 2006 Pastor Mike decided to invite other local churches to become part of Summer Jubilee. In 2007 the Summer Jubilee, held Aug. 12 at Asbery Field, involved the combined efforts of 15 churches, 657 volunteers and nearly 35 businesses. The event drew nearly 10,000 people and 5,500 backpacks filled with school supplies, 9,000 hot dogs and 500 haircuts were handed out free to those in attendance.
In less than a decade, the Villamors project has grown from one church helping approximately four dozen children to an event involving more than a dozen churches helping more than 5,000 children. If the Villamors had not decided to get involved nine years ago, thousands of children would be facing the prospect of returning to school without the supplies they need.
In Arlington, Kimberly Meno and Linda Dussault also saw a need and decided to get involved. In 2005 they co-founded Arlingtons Kids Kloset which provides new and quality used clothing, shoes, school supplies and hygiene products for free to qualifying children who live in the Arlington, Lakewood and Darrington school districts.
The group has grown from eight members in 2005 to more than two dozen now and the number of children they have helped has also grown. Kids Kloset helped 329 children in the spring of 2007 and 596 children in the fall of 2006 compared to the 532 children the group helped in the previous spring and fall.
To help ensure its continued success, Kids Kloset volunteers will be holding the third annual Taste of Washington fundraiser and silent auction Aug. 25. For more information about Kids Kloset or the Taste of Washington fundraiser, call 360-435-4875.
Both the Summer Jubilee and Arlingtons Kids Kloset were started by people who saw a need in the community and decided to do something about it. They started out helping dozens of people and now, thanks to others getting involved individuals, businesses and local organizations they help hundreds and thousands of people in need. They proved that you can make a difference.
They deserve our thanks and the best way to show our appreciation is to follow their example and get involved in our communities. Who knows, a decade from now thousand of children may benefit because you decided to get involved.


To contact a member of The Marysville Globe/Arlington Times editorial board
Kris Passey or Scott Frank e-mail forum@premier1.net.

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