Madison has many wonderful and obvious attributes—beautiful beaches, a vibrant downtown, and a distinguished school system, to name a few. The attribute for which the town should perhaps be most proud, however, is the spirit of volunteerism and dedication to community service exemplified by its residents. Simply put, Madison serves.
Having lived in multiple states and several Connecticut towns, I feel comfortable stating that Madison exhibits an exceptional willingness for helping others in need and making the town itself a better place to live. Rightly or wrongly viewed as an affluent community where its residents want not, Madison does not take anything for granted, never hesitating to provide support for others in the community or elsewhere. Just prior to writing this piece, I encountered the appropriately named Madison Cares organization downtown raising money for its Habitat for Humanity efforts by helping families assemble and decorate garden benches. I am often in awe of the goodwill I witness in this town.
The purpose of this column is to promote volunteerism and community service in Madison by informing readers of specific ways in which they can begin, or continue, service to our community. I strongly encourage those who are able, to dedicate time, not just money, to what has often been referred to as a cause greater than oneself. We are all busy in our lives, and it is easy to get caught up in our own issues, but setting aside even one hour in a week can go a long way. Nobody expects any one individual to be able to rid the world of its many injustices, but when everyone chips in a little, the result can be something amazing.
The key, in my opinion, is to find a cause or organization to which you feel personally connected, and to utilize any particular skills or knowledge you possess for its benefit. For me, being a veteran, it was easy to become involved with the Madison VFW as a means of providing assistance to other veterans. I have also been blessed with a beautiful young daughter who I adore, so I became involved with an organization named Lawyers for Children America that enables me to represent abused and neglected children who do not have that person in their lives who adores, or otherwise protects, them.
There is no shortage in Madison of ways in which to contribute. Subject to one’s interests and attributes, there is something for everyone. Concerned about the preservation of our natural resources? Try the Madison Land Conservation Trust. New to town? Madison Newcomers is a great way to meet people while at the same time serve the community. Interested in our town government? Serve on one of our many town boards and commissions. Future columns will highlight organizations, people and events as a means of public outreach to enable those who want to serve, to serve.
Ryan Suerth is a Madison resident, attorney and Iraq War veteran, and will be donating 100% of the compensation he receives for writing this column to service organizations in Madison. If there is a service organization, person or event you would like the writer to know about, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org