Beth Christy believes the best way to better a community is by giving back.
That’s why the St. Joseph native says she volunteers with United Way of Southwest Michigan.
“I’ve done just about anything they put out there,” Christy said. “The Thanksgiving feast, the food truck, I just did Rock The Boat. I’ve done organizing books for the book drive. I’ve helped with Girls on the Run. I’ve done everything.”
Herald-Palladium Staff Writer Alexandra Newman sat down with Christy recently to talk about bettering the community.
How did you get involved, and when?
I’ve been involved for about five years. The United Way’s website is wonderful. You just find what you want to do and click, click, click. It just makes it so easy, and it’s just an easy way for me to get involved.
I’m a busy mom. I’ve tried to go to other organizations to ask what I can do for them, and they’re not as organized as United Way. So United Way is just an easy way for me to volunteer.
Do you have a favorite volunteer experience?
I really love the food truck. It’s really fun. One time we were passing out apples and I was getting kind of punchy and kept saying, “How ‘bout them apples?” We got really silly.
I love talking with the people. I love to see the kids. I used to teach in Benton Harbor, so I’m very familiar with this population.
I feel like I know where they’re coming from.
I’m a teacher by trade. I like to help when I can, and I can, I have the time and I feel like I have the background to help.
What keeps you coming back to volunteer?
I love it. It’s fun and it’s rewarding. I try to get other friends to do it. It’s just a way of getting involved in the community and giving back.
My favorite quote is the one that goes: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” It inspires me, because we’re only as good as what we give back.
Our community is, too. And everyone wants a better community. I’m just doing my little part.
What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering?
I guess everyone gets out of it what they need to. If someone is volunteering, they might be doing it because their kid is involved in something or their kid was involved in something, or they’re really just interested.
Like, if you’re interested in running, you might want to volunteer for the Girls on the Run program. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and that’s why I really got involved in the Thanksgiving thing.
I asked a bunch of my friends to do it, and we did, and we had a fun time. I think everyone likes to help, and everyone likes to see other people be successful.
What are you doing when you’re not volunteering?
When am I not volunteering? I also volunteer for the high school. I give blood. I volunteer for the Krasl.
I don’t have a full time job, though I work a little at the high school. I have two kids. I bike, and do Pilates and I run and kayak. I like to travel, and I help my husband a lot at work.
But, I would say I volunteer at least once or twice a week. Then, I try to be a mom and a wife and a sister and a daughter.
Is there anything else you’d like to say that I didn’t ask about?
Just my mantra: If people want to see a better community, then they need to give their time and talents.
Contact: anewman@TheHP.com, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman