How to become a community of helpers |

How to become a community of helpers

About the author

Troy Matthews is the Executive Director of the Barton Foundation. Troy invites all community members and visitors to get in the giving and holiday spirit at Barton Health’s 10th Annual Festival of Trees and Lights at MontBleu Resort and Spa Dec. 7 through 9. Proceeds support the Barton Foundation’s Community Health Endowment which provides funds for programs and projects that address the area’s unmet health needs. More information about this event and giving to the Barton Foundation is available at or by calling 530-543-5909.

There is a story from Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood that I am quite fond of.

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me: “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.

These words have always comforted me in times of sorrow. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed by tragedy or negativity in the news, I try to remember this story.

Take the recent fires in California as an example. The fires brought out the very best in people. Look how many people volunteered, made donations, and just wanted to help. There is more good than bad in this world, and sometimes it takes a tragedy to reveal that.

I feel fortunate to live in such a giving community. Every day in my job I am reminded about how generous the people of Tahoe are with their time and their willingness to donate to a good cause. The most shining example is South Lake Tahoe resident Lisa Maloff. It is rare for a community this size to benefit from the level of generosity that Ms. Maloff has shown.

You don’t have to be Lisa Maloff to make a difference in the lives of people who are struggling. By giving even a little bit, you can begin to create positive change. Then, when we collectively give to a worthy cause, we become a community of helpers. This makes all of our lives enriched and better.

The holidays are traditionally seen as a time of giving. By giving back and being a helper, we can become a community of helpers. Please give what you can this holiday season, and may your spirit of giving last all year long.

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