Editor's Notes

Julie Whitman Kline

Be Involved

It's As Good For You As It Is For Others

My parents were, and still are, the most meaningful influence in my life. They taught me the value of being involved. Both of them were active in their community and worked to support the causes they believed in. My mother served on the committees of a number of community organizations including the Salvation Army. When my dad felt the need to make something happen, he would immediately get involved in the specific organization that had the power to influence change. He used to say to me “Julie, remember every voice makes a difference. If you don’t get involved, you can’t complain about the outcome.” Words to live by.

Now that I’m grown with a family of my own I see how true that is. With three active children participating in a variety of sports, school and church activities, I see the impact being involved has on them. They’re developing a sense of purpose and belonging. They’re learning compassion by serving others. I admit, as a working mom, there are times I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. But my husband Bill and I have worked out a plan. We act as a team sharing family and work responsibilities, we support and encourage each other and our children to become active participants in life. I think it’s one of the most important lessons you can teach your children and you start by setting the example.

There are many ways to become involved. You can give of your time by attending meetings and events; you can support your cause financially by donating money or raising money at fundraising events; you can create awareness by sharing information and spreading the word through the internet, speaking to friends and family or lecturing or writing on the topic; you can canvas your community with telephone calls. We see this happening every day when people become involved in politics. Don’t forget the politics of your own life.

The benefits are enormous. Becoming involved provides a real personal sense of satisfaction in knowing that you’re making a difference; your voice is heard; you expand your social network of like-minded people and make new friends; you learn new skills or maintain existing ones and expand your work experience.

Another positive side effect of being involved is that when you spend time helping others it can also be good for your health. Research has shown that volunteering activities can improve your mood, strengthen your body and reduce stress. People who engage in life have also been found to recover more quickly from illnesses, sleep better and generally have healthier immune systems compared to people who isolate themselves.

The articles in this issue are all written by people who have engaged themselves in a cause—their cause. They freely share their viewpoint and passion. I encourage you to do the same. Whether it’s the food you and your family use to nourish your bodies or the political climate of your state and our nation, there is room for each person to define their position, contribute to their cause and make a difference. And the end result is positive because it makes life better for all. Be Involved. You’ll be glad you did