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Michael Bennett: Leader works on community impact

Published 12:48am Thursday, August 23, 2012

Leader Publications was awarded the “Business Volunteer of the Year” last week by Niles DDA Main Street. While we are working to improve our community involvement, the recognition was unexpected. Over the course of the last year, we have worked hard to improve our community involvement. It is nice to see that we have begun to make an impact.

While we have been able to become more involved in Niles and Dowagiac, we are trying to step it up in the other communities we serve with newspapers, including Cassopolis, Edwardsburg and Buchanan.

Limited by staff size, we cannot be everywhere and everything to all in our communities. If you know of nonprofit and other organizations that can benefit from our support, be it in coverage, volunteers or in-kind advertising, please let me know your suggestions. We will try to accommodate as much as we can.

Volunteerism and community involvement provides a sense of fulfillment that money can’t buy. Barbara Craig and Fred Mathews are two people that come to mind as folks who are continually giving back with their time.

Mathews has had an amazing impact in Dowagiac for many years. He’s done legendary work with the downtown and Southwestern Michigan College, to name two.

Craig is the executive dean of Lake Michigan College Bertrand Crossing Campus.  Beyond her regular job, I see Barbara everywhere, it seems: Niles-Buchanan Rotary Club, Four Flags Chamber of Commerce, local high schools. If it is important to the community, you can count on Barbara. When she is on a board or a committee, she is active and usually takes a lead.

Not coincidentally, both Mathews and Craig were two of the first people to reach out to me when I arrived here last year. They helped introduce me to key people and helped provide a better understanding of the needs and activities in the community. And for that I am grateful.

Getting involved with our communities also provides an opportunity to meet many others that have a common goal, building better community for all.

I am a member of the Niles-Buchanan Rotary Club and I’ve also had the opportunity to speak to the Dowagiac Club. Both are always looking for new members who have a desire to actively participate in improving the quality of life in our communities. Our club has an interest in helping our youth by providing a unique experience for seniors to attend our club. We also raise funds for scholarships and other projects. If you have interest in joining either club, please contact me at michael.bennett@leaderpub.com.

If you aren’t already doing it, I encourage you to get active within your community. Leave your positive mark for generations to come.

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