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Put priority on giving back

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Editor’s note: The following is the viewpoint of the 2009 class of Leadership Auburn. The more you get to know Auburn, the more connected you become. That’s what becomes clear after Leadership Auburn, a community development program operated by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. This year’s Leadership Auburn class found that volunteering connects you to community — it’s something everyone should and must do to help make Auburn a thriving village. One Wednesday a month, a group of 18 citizens from varying backgrounds — including bankers, teachers, librarians and retirees — came together to get a degree in how community works. From law enforcement to local government, education and the arts, participants learn the inner workings of local agencies and the issues that impact them. They also meet the people who make Auburn tick. Leadership Auburn is a great way to take ownership in your community and discover ways you can enhance it. There are now around 200 alumni who are making Auburn a better place because they understand how the community works. If you’re able, consider joining next year’s class. You don’t have to be a CEO — anyone who wants to learn more about their community can join. Scholarships are available. But even if you don’t, find a way to be a leader in our community. Pick a cause you care about — youth, the arts, local events, etc. — and find a way to make a difference. “You’ll get a lot more back than you give,” said 2009 Leadership graduate Pamela Vann. Each Leadership class also demonstrates its commitment to service with a project. 2009 class members erected the rock-façade bus stop on High Street, digging the foundation and placing each stone. Some Leadership students spent the entire day trying to place the rocks just right. The project was part of the city’s Streetscape plan to beautify Downtown Auburn and help commerce flourish. It took many individuals with their unique talents to construct the bus stop. It’s a perfect analogy for what it takes to build a community — multiple people’s efforts, each contributing something small. So what are you going to do? Pick up trash? Volunteer with Girl Scouts? Work the Black & White Ball? Find your way to give back because community doesn’t just happen — you need to make it happen. Members of the Leadership Auburn class of 2009: Pat Aiello, Renee Anaclerio, Patti Baker, Joanna Belanger, Laurie Carman, Colleen Gregg, Richard Hall, Lowell Jarvis, Monique Krafft, Douglas Marquand, Diane Nolen, Chuck Parcher, Christian Pedersen, Terri Pilate, Tom Roemer, Cindy Sasser, Bunny Smith, Pamela Vann.