Every year about this time, our humble valley is drowned in idealized promises of $50,000 summers spent selling alarm systems in Iowa, pest control in Tuscaloosa, or managing the teams doing so. These posters advertise a ridiculous amount of money for having fun partying with your bros, sporting your fauxhawks, and transferring the skills that you learned to spread the good news of your faith to proselyting the unerring gospel of capitalism.
But don’t take the bait, Wolverines. Rather than throwing your May-to-late-August to the selfish winds of ridiculous amounts of money that you may never actually get your hands on, let’s all try really super hard to do something that actually, you know…matters. Utah Valley affords us lots of opportunities to volunteer and contribute something to the community besides gracing the streets with a 100,000 miles of Audi dealerships.
For example, Courage Reins is a ranch in Highland that provides therapy for children with disabilities through riding and interaction with horses. Previous experience with horses is not necessary, as some training is provided. If you don’t want to work directly with either the horses or their riders, their Web site indicates that they are always looking for help with “maintenance and repairs around the facility, student outreach in the communities, fundraising, special events, photography, administration, research, maintaining [their] Web site, statistics, office management and volunteer recruitment.” You can find more about Courage Reins at their Web site www.CourageReins.org, or by phone at 801-756-8900.
Another organization that deserves your time is the Food and Care Coalition in Provo. One of Utah County’s primary sources of assistance for the hungry and the homeless, the Food and Care Coalition always needs food itself; canned goods, butter, cold cereal, and other long-lasting products are essential to their work. They also help provide their beneficiaries with hygiene items and toiletries, as well as supplies to maintain their facilities, like paper towels, cleaning supplies, or laundry detergent. The Coalition also needs volunteers to assist with food preparation, serving meals, conducting food drives, pick up – and drop off – donated supplies, and helping with facilities maintenance. If you’re the artistic type, you can play an instrument during meal times, or host an arts and crafts hour. Internships are available. You can reach the Food and Care Coalition at their Web site www.FoodAndCare.org or by 801-373-1825.
Finally, the Center for Women and Children in Crisis runs a domestic violence shelter that exists to house and protect victims of domestic and sexual violence. In addition to accepting similar supplies as the Food and Care Coalition does, they are also looking for things like clothing, bus tokens, and office supplies. They also accept PayPal donations directly from their site, and need volunteers to both work in and support their confidentially located shelters. You can reach the Center at their Web site www.cwcic.org or at their office at 801-374-9351.
Anyone talking about – or protesting the suggestion of – any kind of political change has opportunities to fix things here in our own community. Let’s see what we can do this summer.