Want to become a hero? Use your time, talents to help local nonprofits


he theme for the Homer Public Library’s Summer Reading Program is “Heroes,” and not just the kind with super-powers and capes. 

Of course, there will be some of those, but also the kind of superhero who opens the door for his mother when she’s got the baby in her arms, as well as the kind who helps her neighbor bring in the garbage cans. The Summer@HPL Program is meant to keep children, teens and adults reading all summer long and to provide opportunities for fun family-friendly learning and discovery at our amazing library. This summer, participants will learn how to be heroes.

The inimitable Fred Rogers wrote, “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” 

We are lucky enough to live in a place where opportunities abound to put on our capes. There are so many nonprofits that serve our community, providing assistance when it’s needed, fostering opportunities to learn and grow, nurturing art and music, protecting our environment and so many more.

Here are some ways to earn some superhero points:

• Give of your time: Volunteer to help out with a nonprofit whose mission is important to you. I know that volunteers are the life-blood of the Friends of the Homer Public Library’s book and plant sales. Got more time and a fire in your belly? Every single nonprofit in Homer would love to have you on their board or a committee where you can help in deeply profound ways.

• Give of your assets: Sure, money would really help, but many nonprofits need donations of other items that you might just have lying around. The Homer News publishes a non-profit needs list each month (see box, this page). And if you didn’t take advantage of Pick Click Give when you filed for your Permanent Fund Dividend, it’s not too late; you can go back and add a donation through the end of August. Anyone who makes a pledge will be entered in the Double Your Dividend Sweepstakes to win a second PFD.

• Become a member of a nonprofit: Membership isn’t just about the money. Membership is a concrete way to show to others that you value what a nonprofit gives to you and your community members. 

• Make connections in our community: Know someone new to town? Or someone who suddenly has time on their hands (newly retired or a newly empty nest)? Invite them to learn more about a nonprofit that you support. These connections are what make our community so vibrant.

• Donate to the Homer Foundation, a strong supporter of the nonprofits in Homer: As a community foundation, the Homer Foundation pools donations into a coordinated investment and grant-making strategy. The Foundation offers donors the opportunity to make a gift during their lifetime and/or through a bequest or planned gift. By establishing a charitable endowment fund, their gift will continue to support the community into the future. 

Don’t feel like you have to leap tall buildings in a single bound or scout locations for your bat cave. You can be a superhero by helping your community through the many nonprofits that enliven and support our fabulous way of life. 

And while you’re at it, sign up for Summer@HPL, kids, teens and adults having fun and reading; you can do so at the Homer Public Library or online at http://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/library/summerhpl-2015-registration.

Erin Coughlin Hollowell is the coordinator for the Friends of the Homer Public Library, assists with the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, teaches at the Kachemak Bay Campus and does occasional contract web design. However, if you ask her what her profession is, she’ll answer poet. She has lived in Alaska for the last 15 years.