“Every individual and every family stands one tragedy away from devastation.” While the stories vary, the sentiment rings true. Life is unpredictable, and none of us know when we might need a helping hand from our region’s human service agencies.
Having served on numerous boards over the years, I’ve heard the stories—and they can be heartbreaking. So, too, are the sad tales of diminishing resources, exacerbated by the seemingly endless political tug of war between our Governor and the House Speaker: a tragedy in a state that can ill afford it. We are paying a heavy price for this rivalry of egos, to be sure.
Yet our nonprofits carry on, and in our second annual Community Impact issue, we highlight the good work they do. I encourage you to explore the mission and vision of these organizations, examine the names of their board members and note the dates of upcoming fundraisers. Think about your passion… what tugs at your heartstrings? Assisting an individual with disabilities, fulfilling the dream of a terminally ill patient, helping a child learn to read, bringing food and shelter to the homeless, providing a safe haven to victims of abuse… There are so many ways you can make a difference.
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 31.5 percent of Peoria MSA residents currently volunteer for worthy causes and organizations. That’s well above the national average of 25.3 percent, but it leaves room for improvement. To that end, a new volunteer-opportunity portal on the Heart of Illinois 2-1-1 website (211hoi.org) aims to match willing volunteers with the organizations that need them. Many thanks to Advanced Medical Transport and the Heart of Illinois United Way for filling this need.
Supplementing this issue—our biggest ever, by the way—is a limited-edition FY 2016-17 calendar produced in partnership with Ameren Cares, which lists major fundraisers and community events for the next year. Though some events could not be included because the dates are not yet confirmed, we hope it proves useful in raising awareness and fostering communication and cooperation among organizations planning community-wide events. We will also maintain an online calendar throughout the year at peoriamagazines.com/calendar in order to keep up with the latest details.
Not only is volunteerism noble for its own sake, it’s essential to the health and well-being of a community—especially in challenging times. We applaud those who give of their time, talent and treasure, and we hope to inspire others to think about their passion… and get involved. iBi