People can do amazing things. Whether big impacts or small projects, everyone can contribute to positive efforts. However, finding those opportunities or the inspiration to get involved may prove difficult for some people. 

As Forward Wayne County closes out the focus on Our People, we are going to discuss some ways people can find a passion to help or inspire others to do the same. And highlight a few people doing the work across the county. 


Volunteering is one of the best and simplest ways to get involved. Nonprofit organizations are always looking for people to lend a helping hand. The great part about volunteering is it can be different for everyone. Here are some great examples:  

  • Handing food out at a food bank.  
  • Helping maintain nature trails.  
  • Ushering at a local theater.  
  • Leading tours at a museum.  
  • Taking care of animals at a shelter.  

There is never a shortage of these opportunities, and it is easy to get involved. If you live in Wayne County, check out the Wayne County Foundation’s Nonprofit Database for a list of local nonprofits. Several of the listed nonprofits consistently need volunteers.  

Grassroots Change  

Typically referred to as grassroots change, beginning your own efforts is a terrific way to initiate positive impacts. A bonus of this approach is that you can use it to address a topic or issues you are passionate about..  

Passionate about your neighborhood? Start a neighborhood cleanup. Love the arts? Organize your own show. The possibilities are endless when it comes to a grassroots approach. You never know what you can start. Several successful programs began through this strategy.  

A great local example of a grassroots organization is Hogg Helps created by Nathan Hogg. He founded his organization after noticing a need for youth empowerment in the community.  

Look for the Helpers 

Fred Rogers was known for saying look for the helpers. This same mentality is applicable to getting involved. People will always help in areas that need it. You just need to identify the people or organizations serving that role.  

Look for community leaders or advocates who are actively making a change. Check out the work of Tamara Brinkman from United Way of Whitewater Valley. Her work with nonprofit organizations has created meaningful impacts by addressing dire community issues.  

Inspire Others 

Inspiring others is critical to creating momentum. Communities require people working across various local sectors to initiate change. When you support other people’s efforts you help amplify impacts. Here are some ways to instill this inspiration:  


Advocacy raises awareness of issues that people may not always discuss. This strategy can help more people realize the extent of some problems and motivate them to address those problems.  

This also leads to the idea of acting as a community advocate where you actively support the place you live. Wayne County is home to numerous amazing community advocates.  

Courtney Matthews is a great advocate for Centerville through her work to combat food deserts by creating a local farmers market.  

Elizabeth Williams of Fountain City, with others, created Fountain City Forward to address the needs and possibilities of Fountain City. 

Supporting Others  

Sharing in the success of others can be a great motivator. Take every opportunity you can to support your friends, colleagues, and neighbors in their pursuits. This can be as simple as volunteering or attending events.  

Troy Lewis from Cambridge City has spent years supporting various efforts in his community. He helps support local businesses and events as President of Cambridge City Main Street.  


Have you been successful in your own community efforts? You may want to consider acting as mentor for people who are just getting started. Guiding them through those initial stages can help them develop more ideas for creating change. It is all about acting as a role model to inspire others.  

There is no shortage of mentors throughout Wayne County. Douglas Dean, Unit Director for the Hagerstown Boys and Girls Clubs of Wayne County, mentors young people every day on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character. 

Sam Witherby is another local mentor who has used the First Tee Golf Program to teach kids from all over Wayne County the basics of golf.   

The Need for Changemakers 

There will always be a need for changemakers. They are the people who start efforts and work extensively to make them successful.. People who choose this role are willing to give up their personal time for the benefit of others and the community. Living in Wayne County means there are countless people who fit the above description.  

You can see it in Dakota Collins with Revitalize Richmond or the residents who spearheaded the CreatINg Places campaigns in their communities: 

  • East Germantown (Steve and Sheila Mills) 
  • Economy (Barb Irwin) 
  • Dublin (Julia McCarty) 
  • Milton (Terry Craig) 
  • Cambridge City (Brenda McLane)  

Our people are amazing. We’ve only highlighted a few, but we know there are many more. It’s our people that will build a strong future for Wayne County residents.  

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