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[r29] Column: Volunteer this fall!
Start Date: 9/4/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 9/4/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
Volunteer this fall!

As leaves change color and the hot summer temperatures begin to wane, I realize how much I enjoy fall. Some of my fondest fall memories include picking out pumpkins and mums from the my favorite market, cooking hot dogs over a bonfire and of course, attending high school football games at Noblesville.

Alongside supportive fans and a roaring student section, those that attend Friday night games participate in a rich Hoosier tradition enjoyed by many, high school football. The games are more than just teams winning or losing, they bring communities and families together. We like to tailgate before the game with friends and await the Millers and the Drum Corp making their trip from the high school to the football field. Like many other long-standing traditions, I vividly remember, like yesterday, the football games from my grade school days.

Whether you are alumni or just supporting your local high school, fun and excitement are in the cool air and there is always something for everyone to enjoy. Anyone interested in attending a Noblesville game, visit www.noblesvilleschools.org and click on the ‘Athletics’ tab to find information on upcoming games and other Noblesville athletic events.

The drive and perseverance that our student athletes have, is incredible. After reading a story recently, I was truly inspired by the determination of one particular Westfield High grad, Joe Spaulding. Now, a senior at Indiana University, Purdue University in Indianapolis (IUPUI), Spaulding was motivated to fight against hunger, implementing a food pantry, known as Paw’s Pantry, to the students on campus.

Inspired by statistics regarding Hoosier hunger, Spaulding mentioned that the pantry will be open the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month, located in the Campus Center on the 2nd floor. Currently, supplies come through donations from IUPUI as well as community members, but in the future, Spaulding hopes to grow the pantry by creating a partnership with local organizations and businesses.

We have several local organizations fighting that same cause in Hamilton County –most notably, Good Samaritan Network (GSN). Formed in 1995, evolving from a group of programs and services, GSN works to address the physical, financial, emotional and spiritual needs of at-risk families or individuals in our community. GSN accomplishes these goals through volunteer contributions and participation of many organizations and individuals. To get involved with GSN or to volunteer, visit www.gsnlive.org.

With Patriot Day approaching and from Spaulding’s and GSN’s example, I’m constantly reminded that the volunteer spirit is alive and well in our country.

September eleventh represents a piece of our history that changed our nation forever. Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when that tragic news broke. However, through this tragedy, we bore witness to unimaginable acts of volunteerism and self-sacrifice. We saw ordinary people disregard their personal safety to help save the lives of complete strangers. 
 
Working tirelessly, we saw police officers and firefighters join emergency medical responders and military members, doing everything in their power to secure the situation and prevent further lives from being lost. We are indebted to those who sacrificed so much on that heart-breaking day.

I encourage everyone to honor those who gave their lives this Patriot Day by volunteering and sacrificing some  time at local schools, churches, food pantries or hospitals to help those in need. 

The following list includes several volunteer opportunities you can participate in provided by GSN: 
 
September 10: Food Pantry Training  from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m at the 4H Fairgrounds in Noblesville
September 10: GSN Monthly Network Meeting at 3:45pm at the Public Library in Noblesville
October 8: GSN Monthly Network Meeting at 3:45pm at the Public Library in Noblesville
November 23: Thanksgiving Food Holiday Assistance at the 4H Fairgrounds in Noblesville (register online)
December 14: Christmas Holiday Assistance at the 4H Fairgrounds in Noblesville (register online)
December 24: Christmas Meal Delivery (Contact GSN for details)

There is never a shortage of volunteer opportunities, and I know organizations like Paw’s Pantry, GSN and the many others in our community could always use the help. 

I look forward to seeing you around at football game or helping out in the community. Either way, I'm grateful every day for this community and all the people who make it so special!

-30-

My column also appears in the Times of Noblesville.
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 317-232-9831
Email: nicholas.goodwin@iga.in.gov
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