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Lend a Hand on a Special Day

Join a project on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Jan. 16

colorado AARP volunteer MLK day of service

Jean Nofles, an AARP advocate and member of the organization's executive council, has been volunteering for six years. — Photo by Matt Slaby/LUCEO

"In this part of the state, we figure out a way to do a lot of things with very few resources. A lot of the Valley runs on volunteer service," said Karen Lemke, who coordinates a service program at Adams State College in Alamosa. "About 25 percent of the people living here use emergency food services throughout the year."

"Everybody ought to volunteer," said Jean Nofles, of Aurora, who has been an AARP Colorado volunteer for six years. She's a legislative advocate and a member of the organization's executive council.

"You don't need a particular skill to go out and help somebody else. Once you do that, you get into a world you never knew existed, and you just keep on going," she said.

Communities benefit from service, but so do those doing the work.

Ed Self, executive director of Wildlands Restoration Volunteers in Boulder, which conducted a 2011 Day of Service tree reseeding project, said volunteers reported a variety of benefits.

"Those include the satisfaction and empowerment of helping to care for public lands, the opportunity to learn practical leadership skills, making friends, getting outdoors in beautiful places for good exercise and much more," he said.

Additional resources to find a Day of Service project include:

Serve Colorado, 303-866-6426, 646-786-6886

Corporation for National and Community Service, 202-606-5000

You may also like: Ways to volunteer in your grandchildren's school. >>

Cynthia Pasquale is a writer living in Denver.

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