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January 9, 2013     Hays Free Press
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HaysFreePress.com SECOND UFE Aging art from Aquarena Springs may get revitalized - Page 1D January 9, 2013 Page 1C P BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?" According to data from two supplements of the Current Population Sur- vey (CPS), the Volunteer Supplement and the Civic Supplement, about 25 percent of Texans donate their time and talent volunteering for nonprofit organizations. That is slightly below the national level of 26.8 percent. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is this Jan. 21. Organizers say MIX Day is a chance to start off the year right by making an impact in your community. For those who want to give their time and talents to a local nonprofit but haven't taken the initiative yet, get inspired by reading the spotlight stories on volunteers who are making their own impact. Michole Brown - Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Texas Soon after starting as a freshman at Texas State University in August, Mic- hole Brown signed up to vohmteer for Club Blue, a program at the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Central Texas in San Marcos. Brown, 18, was a preschool teacher at her Houston area high school. "I love kids," she said. "I loved teaching preschool. I wanted to do something (while at college) where I could interact with kids, and my roommate brought Club Blue to my attention." Club Blue is an organization within Texas State that inspires students from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. With plans to be a teacher after graduation, Brown spends two to three days a week volunteering for Club Blue. She said what she enjoys most about the experience is being around kids and making their day. Being a consistent figure in their lives - which some of the children may not have at home- makes Brown feel she is mak- ing an impact on them. "It's good for the kids to have some- one consistent in their fives," she said. While she's volunteering, Brown plays with students during recess, colors with them, plays ping pong, eats lunch with them and comes to all the activities. Michole Brown volunteers her time at the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Texas to help bring a consistent figure into the lives of the children in the program. This Texas State University student got involved with the organization through the university's Club Blue, a program designed to inspire students from disadvantaged backgrounds. One of her fondest memories was a day when Club Blue leaders were hand- ing out awards to the children. "I was able to be there for it," Brown said. "I felt like a mother or part of their families. I was really excited." Brown saw how happy the kids were at receiving awards. "Some kids got awards for having all As. I was so proud of them," she said. Kathy Luckett - Hays County Food Bank Hays Food Bank volunteer Kathy Luckett was on the organization's board when she decided to also start driving the van every Wednesday to pick up food from local gro- cery stores. She said hunger is an important factor for families with limited income. As a board member of the Hays County Food Bank, Kathy Luckett heard the pleas for more volunteers regularly. As she tells it, Luckett hap- pened to ask the right question at the right time. "In April 2009, I attended a volun- teer appreciation event, and I was seated across from A1 Scott, the Op- erations Manager," she said. "I asked him, ~, (executive director) Jerry Gracy tells us all the time how you need more volunteers. What is it that you actually need?'" Scott told her he needed a driver to get the food from local H-E-Bs and bring it back to the food bank to unload it for distribution. "He said, 'Kathy, ifI had a driver for Wednesday mornings, my life would be perfect,'" Luckett said of their conversation. Nearly three years later, Luckett, "Friends ask me ff I have a hard who retired from a career as a high time sticking with it on cold, rainy school counselor and college advisor, Wednesdays," Luckett said. "The is still driving everyWednesday morn- answer is no - I am looking forward ing. She gives about two hours of her to it as I put on my mittens and my time to head to area H-E-Bs, pick up jacket." that day's goods arid head back to the In addition to the Food Bank, food bank. Luckett enjoys volunteering with the She chose to volunteer, first on the Friends of the Buda Library, the Buda- board and then as a driver, for the Kyle Relay for Life, and the Buda-Kyle food bank because of her work with CROP Walk. She and her husband, Title I schools in the Austin ISD. She Michael Bishop, are also active at St. said hunger was an important factor Alban's Episcopal Church. The youth in families with limited incomes. The economic turndown of 2009 was particularly difficult, Luckett said. She watched as people who used to donate to the food bank showed up because they needed food to feed their families. Luckett said she was more committed than ever to tackle the hunger problem in Hays County. group from St. Alban's is planning to volunteer at the Hays County Food Bank this Jan. 21, which is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the National Day of Service. "We are eager to promote Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as NOT just a day off from school, but a day to partici- pate in serving others," Luckett said. Helping local children is the goal of Jennifer Carson, who started working with the nonprofit as part of a college course. She has since received a Volunteer of the Year award and joined the Board of Direc- tors. Jennifer Carson - Hope & Love 4 Kids What started as an assign-& Love 4 Kids where her ment for a college course volunteerism continues. has evolved into a regu- She said her favorite part lar volunteer position for of all the hard work that goes Jennifer Carson, 23, of San into the organization are the Marcos. 'distribution days for each of This native Texan began its three annual programs. volunteering for Hope & "The gratitude and ap- Love 4 Kids - an organiza- preciation from our clients tion that helps local children and other families and in need- in September 2011. children Hope & Love 4 Kids She used her mass commu- has the privilege of helping nication education to help is tremendously rewarding," design and write a newslet- Carson said. "They are so ter for the nonprofit. Carson thankful and happy for the started an internship with work we have done and how Hope & Love 4 Kids a month we are able to help them." later. Though she receives no A short time later, Carson compensation for her time, received aVolunteer of the Carson said she is fine with Year Award at the group's that. annual fundraising gala in "Knowing my time and February 2012. effort has helped others is Carson recently joined the the only payment my heart Board of Directors of Hope needs," she said. Robin McKean- Pet Prevent a Litter (PALS) of Central Texas Robin McKean has vol- unteered with Pet Prevent a Litter (PALS) in San Marcos for the past five years. PALS is a nonprofit that works to end pet overpopulation and pet homelessness. As a registered veterinary technician, PALS seems like a perfect fit for McKean. Making her experience even better is the job McKean does as a volunteer- she assists with the organizations twice monthly spay/neuter clinics. 'Tkn issue that is very im- portant to me is getting pets spayed and neutered," McK- ean said, "which is why I be- came involved with PALS. For years, Pet Prevent a Litter has offered vouchers for free and low-cost spay/neuter surger- ies, and about two years ago they expanded their services to include surgical clinics us- ing their own volunteers." McKean said she takes care of the surgery setup with vet- erinary technicians who also volunteer their time. "Volunteers assist with re- cord keeping, recovery care, clean up, and are available for surgery follow-up," she said. PALS typically performs 25-30 cat spay/neuter surger- ies during each clinic. McK- ean said the organization will soon offer surgeries for dogs. PALS also provides vaccina- tions and flea prevention at reduced rates. McKean, who is employed at Terry's Day Program for Special Needs Adults, has worked with animals for more than 20 years, including animal rescue programs. Making sure cats and dogs get spayed and neutered is the reason Robin McKean, a registered veterinary technician, donates her time to volunteer for Pet Prevent a Litter (PALS). With the organization's recent addition of cat surgeries in its own facility, McKean found her niche and helps make an impact in her community. "Rescuing and plac- ing dogs and cats in loving homes is very important to me. It is very rewarding finding the perfect place for an animal that has been neglected or abused to be placed with a caring family," she said. McKean knows how important volunteers are for organizations such as PALS. "Volunteers are very im- portant to the continuation of this program and are al- ways needed, especially with the surgery days," McKean said. She would recommend PALS for anyone wanting to volunteer with an organiza- tion that helps animals and their people. "I love working with animals and assisting PALS in achieving their goals," Mc- Kean said. '~knyone wanting to volunteer would find this an exciting program to work with." ~ IT'SABOUT For those of you who included 'create vegetable patch' in your list of new year's resolutions, then I am afraid it's already time to get to work. Yes, this is the month to prepare those garden plots for the spring. In just a few weeks, you'll be able to plant your aspara- gus, potatoes, radishes and all kinds of lettuce and leafy greens. Just a month later, warm season crops such as tomatoes, peppers, green beans, okra, black-eyed peas, cucumbers, and all kinds of squash can be planted in. Pick a garden site that gets plenty of sunlight and is well- drained, and dig over the soil, See IT'S ABOUT THYME, pg. 3C Three to run for Buda council seat i~BUDA BITS ........ The race is on in Buda! There are three candi- dates in the running for the Place 2 seat on the Buda City Council: Cathy Chilcote, a former council member, Wiley Hopkins and Amy Proctor. The special election is being held to replace Todd Ruge who was on the council and was elected Mayor of Buda in December. Early voting starts Wednesday, Jan. 9 and will take place weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. until Jan. 18; the exception being longer hours of 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Jan. 14 and Jan. 22. Election day is Saturday, Jan. 26 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. All voting is at Buda City Hall. Wow...with so many days and times, all city of Buda residents should get out and vote. Again this year, shop owner Amy Crockett opened the doors of the Yellow Sweater in down- town Buda last Saturday for the observance of St. Distaff's Day or Roc Day. The day serves as a transitional day between the festivities of Christmas and the return to work Crafters enjoyed the day with food, camaraderie, and knitting, spinning and play- ing good-natured pranks on each other. Anniversary wishes go out to longtime Buda folks, Mary Lou and Jim Kelley on Jan. 15. A celebration was held at Senior Care at Onion Creek for Oleta Roach last Sunday afternoon in celebration of her 93rd birthday. Friends and family enjoyed sharing her day with her. Birthday wishes to Pat Heath and Judy Powell on Jan. 10; Nancy Logan on Jan. 11; AmyYounts on Jan. 16. Not something that we like to think about, but that time is coming...taxes are due April 15. The Buda Library is your source for tax forms. They al- ready have some and more are expected soon. Stop by and see what they have available and also check out a good book for reading on these cold nights.