Those who volunteer make a difference.
For Kenai Peninsula communities, Linda Story has volunteered her time to help them plan their futures through Economic Outlook Forums.
Story is a part of Volunteers in Service to America. VISTA, the domestic version of the Peace Corps, places volunteers in community-based organizations to reduce poverty.
Through VISTA, Story is able to volunteer her time with the Kenai Peninsula Borough Economic Development District Inc. while receiving medical insurance and a small stipend from VISTA.
"Seeing people come together to talk about their future has been rewarding," she said in a press release.
Story, a widow who owns a bed and breakfast, said she needed some extra income and found a VISTA ad in the newspaper.
She applied and got the position.
During the forums, Story helped bring members of the community together to clarify values, find the communities strengths and weaknesses and help residents brainstorm solutions.
Story said she liked being involved in the planning and meeting area residents.
"I have always been interested in the history of the peninsula. Now I get to work with those who made history," she said. "This was an opportunity to get involved. "
Volunteers across the nation will be recognized during the 28th annual National Volunteer Week this week. This year's theme is Change the World --Volunteer.
Betsy Arbelovsky, Economic Development District director, said Story has made a difference and greatly helped the peninsula.
"By donating a year of service, Linda is making an amazing contribution to life on the Kenai," she said in a press release.
"Linda is fun to work with. She jumps right in, and the feedback from the communities has been great."
While Arbelovsky views the time as a contribution to the area, Story said she has gained a lot of experience from volunteering. She also receives training through VISTA.
"Your are never to old to learn," she said. "I have always been willing to donate my time."
Story said she believes becoming a VISTA volunteer would be beneficial for anyone with extra time on their hands or willing to learn something new.
"It is a really good opportunity for someone to get their foot in the door," she said.
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