One of the joys of my position as chairman is getting to attend and participate in community events that bring out the best in Newton County. Meeting the people who volunteer their time, money and energy to make this county a wonderful place warms my heart, especially at Christmas.
Many of you also enjoy and support activities such as the Lighting of the Historic Courthouse, the Downtown Christmas Parade, the Community Choral Guild and Community Band concerts, the Oxford Singing Children’s “Christmas in Covington" and the Arts Association for Newton County’s production of “The Nutcracker.”
One such event, “Twilights at Chimney Park,” took place last Sunday evening in the county-owned park behind the Newton County Library where the Friends of Newton Parks staged their fourth annual holiday festival.
The park itself is the designated trailhead for the walking/biking trail that will run from the library to Eastside High School. The Friends of Newton Parks are developing a passive play experience on site and hosting two fundraising community festivals each year to build support for the design and maintenance of the park. Sunday’s event was a magical celebration of the holiday season with eye-catching lighting displays, hot dogs, caroling, s’mores around a bonfire, storytelling and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
Twilights, “The Nutcracker” performances and the community band and choral guild concerts are among many in this county that remind me of what a difference volunteers make in our lives and in the lives of individuals with needs beyond the ability of government to fulfill. The Newton Mentors organization is one such volunteer-driven program that matches adults for weekly visits with students who need a stable force in their lives. Mentors talk with, listen to and encourage their charges in designated periods in the school day, all volunteers, no pay received. Other volunteer programs deserving praise include the Girls’ Step program through our local juvenile justice system, the Community Food Pantry, the Garden of Gethsemane homeless shelter, Washington Street Community Center after-school program that also serves the Nelson Heights Community Center, FaithWorks, Newton READS and Willing Helpers medical ministry.
There are far more than 100 nonprofits at work in this community that help people in need and improve the quality of life for thousands annually.
As I’ve attended holiday events in the last few weeks, I’ve seen over and over again that anything is possible when we work together and don’t care who gets the credit. The volunteers are willing to serve because it is simply the right thing to do.
With the most joyous season of the year upon us, is there a way you can help someone in need? If you aren’t able to make a financial contribution, could you offer your time? Look around for someone who simply needs a hot meal or a gesture of friendship. Take a pot of homemade soup to a working mother one night. Have you finished a book that could be shared? Do you know an elderly person who would enjoy some company and conversation? We all know people in need, and each of us has been given some talent that could be shared with others. I love this county because I think it is filled with people who genuinely care about the health and vitality of this community. Neighbors aren’t just names on a mailbox but friends. There is great joy that comes from giving back, and my wish for this holiday season is that each of you would experience the sweetness and peace that comes from caring for others. May the New Year be prosperous for each of you and your family.
P.S. If you need a list of non-profits, please call my office at (678) 625-1225.
Kathy Morgan is Newton County chairman. She can be reached at email@example.com.