Tuesday, 03 January 2012 17:06
By Joe Romano,
Let our New Year's resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.
— Goran Persson
While Webster's has as one of its definitions "to reach a firm decision about," resolve actually comes from the Latin solvere, meaning "to loosen." We often make firm proclamations at this time of year and resolve to "tighten up our acts."
But to take the word in its original meaning seems so much gentler. To loosen, to open up to new things, to loosen our sense of ourselves, and thus become more than we are, seems a fitting way to enter a new year. There are many ways to do that, and to be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, and one is to offer service.
One way to serve is to join a GreenStar committee; most are looking for members at large. You can be active in making decisions that will affect the course of our co-op, and interact with other members, all while earning a 17.5 percent discount. Another way to serve the Co-op is to become a member-worker. Opportunities are posted at the Member Centers in both stores and there are many and various positions available at any given time. These, too, provide a discount. Or you can think about joining Council, our board of directors — elections take place every year and there are often seats available that members can offer to fill. Serving on GreenStar's board is a fulfilling and rewarding opportunity. Board members are privy to the nuts and bolts of our enterprise and indeed decide the very direction our co-op will take. While any individual will have an influence, the other fourteen Council members are there to spread out the responsibility and to temper one another's opinions.
Your service does not have to be GreenStar-centric — maybe you can help out at Loaves and Fishes, or become active in groups like Local First Ithaca, the Library Book Sale, the Mary Durham Boutique at the Women's Opportunity Center, the SPCA, or the Cancer Resource Center.
Whatever your interests, there are volunteering opportunities. For example, if you wish to support the arts you can volunteer with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra or the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. You can usher at theatre events or help out at the Ithaca Festival. If you are a fitness and health buff you could assist at Cayuga Medical Center, or at the Ithaca Free Clinic.
You can tutor or teach reading, or maybe help answer phones for an assortment of groups.
This kind of resolution may loosen you up in ways you can't foresee, helping you expand parts of yourself that hithertofore have gone unexplored.
It also serves to "firm up" our community in ways that make us all stronger, that make our towns better places to live and make more opportunities available for more people.
If you volunteer at the Co-op, this serves to strengthen a way of doing business and being in community that can only help humankind navigate through trying economic and social times.
We all have our hands full with so many things we are doing: work, school, kids, etc., but if we think of volunteering as a way to "loosen up," maybe it will allow us to relax into a new way of seeing ourselves.
Have a happy, healthy and harmonious New Year, from all of us at GreenStar!
By Laura Buttenbaum,
What is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons unite...