YouthZone Corner: Make your bucket list make a difference | PostIndependent.com

YouthZone Corner: Make your bucket list make a difference

Lisa Detweiler

Have you ever tried to keep up with someone else's bucket list? For example, your dad who hasn't been on a bike in 10 years or more, and wants to bike the Glenwood Canyon? Or your mom who wants to hike up to Hanging Lake?

With all the outdoor challenges available, biking Glenwood Canyon or hiking to Hanging Lake would be to "easy" or "tame" to make it onto the bucket list for many people, including many 75-year-olds, like my parents.

I think it's too "easy" and "tame" to be on their bucket lists, too; because one bike ride or hike pales in comparison to the impact they have on others through volunteering their time and giving their money. From mentoring to helping at a free clinic or thrift store, from donating groceries for a food pantry to donating for Third World development projects, the impact one person can make is amazing, even when the monetary gifts are modest by many standards.

Next time you work on your bucket list, think big. How many lives can you impact? How much change can you bring? You don't need to work every hour of every day, or donate millions of dollars, to improve the world for others — and for yourself. Let's face it, altruism is not completely altruistic. As Hugh Downs said, "To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, 'Your end of the boat is sinking.'"

There are so many opportunities to think big and make an impact right here in our community. Does your bucket list include volunteering and/or donating to one of the not for profit organizations in this area? One of those organizations is YouthZone. You can volunteer to be a mentor or to participate in the restorative justice process as a community member or facilitator.

We work with an independent evaluator to measure how our services such as mentoring and restorative justice and substance use therapy impact youths' substance use, delinquency, decision-making and community involvement. (YouthZone services do, by the way, have a statistically significant impact on these things.) The evaluation also helps us find areas to improve. We serve hundreds of youth and parents from Parachute to Aspen each year.

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Some ideas for your bucket list:

1. Buy raffle tickets from teams of local youth, who are also completing volunteer projects from Rifle to Aspen during the YouthZone Ascent fundraiser.

2. Donate in person, by phone, by mail or online to YouthZone at youthzone.com

3. Donate via the online auction, where you can plan your next dinner out or staycation (thanks to generous local businesses) or vacation to some great destinations.

4. Join a community walk/bike/run, and a barbecue hosted by the Glenwood Noon Rotary, at the Glenwood YouthZone office at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7.

Think big — make a difference in your world.

Lisa Detweiler is operations and data manager for Youth Zone.

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