The political seasons are seemingly never-ending. Local, state, and national races keep the spotlight of politics shining squarely in our collective faces.
Often, the reasons behind someone seeking political office is as interesting to me as the race itself.
In one upcoming race, we’ve read recently that a Republican-turned-Independent candidate, Jacob Turk, felt “called to run,” noting that he wants to serve the people. One might argue that six failed attempts at office constitutes an extraordinarily powerful “call,” but it is worth noting that serving in and around the community isn’t that difficult. It never has been and it likely never will be.
Serving your community — and ultimately fulfilling a call to give back, especially in Lee’s Summit — doesn’t require yard signs, campaign contributions, or public forums. Answering that call to serve doesn’t require you to raise a single dollar or go door-to-door hoping to sway the minds and hearts of voters.
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In Lee’s Summit, it’s as simple as picking up the phone or going online to find a nonprofit, board, or commission to which you give your valuable gift of time.
A quick glance at the City of Lee’s Summit’s website yields an immediate answer to that call. When you visit the city's website, a litany of volunteerism opportunities awaits anyone with a strong urge to serve Lee’s Summit.
There, you find the city academies that range from police to citizen leadership — both providing interaction with our community, public officials, and residents in an effort to learn more about how our city functions and how our police department operates.
There are also countless opportunities to volunteer with our Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation department on that page.
Parks and Recreation thrives on citizen volunteers, an effort put into full force under former administrator Tom Lovell and one that continues under Joe Snook and the parks board.
The amount of volunteer hours logged — and therefore money saved — each year is staggering. Volunteerism is vital component of our world-class parks department.
A quick navigation and click on that same page finds a link to our city boards and commissions, where citizens and businesses can become involved in local government.
Any aspiring politician or city resident can apply to be on one of a number of mayor-appointed boards and commissions, including the Lee’s Summit Arts Council, Livable Streets Advisory Board, Human Relations Commission, Human Services Advisory Board, or the Public Safety Advisory Board.
These city-run boards are the equalizer, linking residents with city staff and public officials in Lee’s Summit. These boards allow an exceptional opportunity to have a say in business decisions, zoning issues, public safety and recreation, long-range city planning, arts, beautification, and our future.
While it is a bit outdated, the link also includes a listing of social services in the community
This listing of our nonprofits and service organizations perhaps should be the first place to start for anyone looking to serve the community. These organizations help feed and nourish those in need, offer financial assistance for rent and utilities, operate thrift stores to help fund such measures, offer meals and snacks, provide guidance and counseling to our youth in need, and give shelter to those who are most vulnerable.
Serving in Lee’s Summit is easy — and likely also exponentially more gratifying than running for public office.
For those that feel the need to serve, there are no shortage of families here that would welcome your gift of time.
Lee’s Summit resident John Beaudoin writes about city and civic issues, people and personalities around town. Reach him at email@example.com.