It is SO easy to lament the state of the world, the nation, and even our little town sometimes (think even-more construction and demolition of wooded areas), but lamenting, on its own, will not make any changes. If you want to effect change and don't know where to start, here are some ideas for you:*******
Go to Town Meeting -- and town meetings.
Town Meeting and Special Fall Town Meeting each happen once a year (total: 2 meetings), and allow residents to voice opinions and vote on important agenda items and on the town budget.
Other meetings through the year include informational meetings and town department meetings. Just recently, there were meetings for the library (new building construction) and for MassDOT (expansion and improvement of Rt. 9) and for the Select Board.
You can find information about these meetings on the Town of Hadley website and the associated calendar.
Volunteer for the Town
Hadley often has vacancies on various boards and committees -- join one! You can find out about these vacancies on the Select Board's page of the town website.
(I recently wrote my letter of interest to become a member of the Cemetery Committee!)
Volunteer Somewhere Else
There are many organizations that could use a helping hand. A couple that come to mind are the Boys and Girls Club of Amherst and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
Find more opportunities at VolunteerMatch. or Volunteer.gov.
You can also join a choir, join a church, join a library (Friends).
Find a Campaign
It's political season and the perfect time to get involved in a political campaign. Those running for office always need people on the ground and in the ranks. Find the contact information of a candidate you like and make a request for information on how to help.
Write a Letter
If there is something that you think needs changed, write a letter to one of your elected representatives. You can information on our United States senators and representatives here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/MA, or you can check on the House of Representatives site here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/, or on the Senate site here: http://www.senate.gov/index.htm.
For state leaders, visit the MA Legislature site here: https://malegislature.gov/People/Search.
Don't have time to volunteer, join a committee, or otherwise get involved? Mr. Madley and I try to make a small donation each month to an organization that we believe in. Sometimes the organization is world- or nation-wide; sometimes (usually) it is much more local. Find great places in need of help on the Valley Gives website (but don't just give on Valley Gives day!) or on Charity Navigator.
And there you have it -- ways to make a difference. This list is not comprehensive, but it's a good jumping off place. Go forth and make some positive change (and I don't mean in dimes and nickels!). Good luck & have fun!
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