By Mike Nichols
Mayor, Solana Beach
Our small, coastal community of Solana Beach is truly an amazing place to live. We have such an active, caring and giving citizenry. I believe our enthusiasm for our quality of life here can't be matched. A large part of this sense of community is derived from our collective spirit to give back and make our city a better place. Through volunteering, fundraising and activism, our residents have contributed toward shaping this great community, and for this effort we should all be proud.
For those who are interested in becoming a community volunteer, you don't have to look hard for opportunities to get involved. There are many nonprofit, educational and institutional organizations which rely heavily on volunteers in order to survive. In addition, the city of Solana Beach has established a variety of community volunteer commissions, which provide a terrific venue to help shape public programs and special events. No matter what your individual interests may be, or no matter how much time you have to give, there's an organization out there that would benefit from your passion and involvement.
As ironic as it may sound, volunteering can also be as much about gaining as it is giving. Individuals who donate their time to help organizations or special events gain a sense of intrinsic accomplishment, belonging and stewardship of their community. New friends are made, things are learned and lives are changed, simply by becoming involved.
I personally learned about the enjoyment of volunteering in college when I was required to volunteer for an entire semester at a nonprofit organization. It forever changed my way of thinking, and like others, I discovered that being a community volunteer can be a humbling and personally rewarding experience.
For the many of you who give so much back to our wonderful community, we thank you very much! Your efforts really make a difference in the lives of others, and the community as a whole. For those of you thinking about becoming involved, I encourage you to jump at the chance. The rewards for your efforts may not be tangible, but they are priceless.