Volunteer Spirit: ‘Frankfort is perfect size for volunteering’

Leslie Saunders, back row far right, was part of the Unitarian Universalist Community which participated in Spellapalooza. Other team members were, front row from left, Pat Seybold and Rob Carter, and in the back row, from left, Cary Sudduth and Sue Carter. (Photo submitted)

Leslie Saunders says the capital city offers abundant opportunities for volunteer service — and she’s availed herself of several.

“Frankfort is just the perfect size town for volunteering,” she said. “It’s not so large that you get lost in the numbers, yet it’s not a small place where volunteer opportunities are limited.”

She says the best way to volunteer is to find something you’re interested in and go with it.

“Most groups need more money and more hands,” she said.

But if you can’t give both that doesn’t mean you should provide neither.

“Sometimes they need help moving boxes, filling shelves, doing paperwork. If you want to help, there are plenty of places here where that can happen,” Saunders said.

For instance, she was looking for a church that matched up with her ideals. She found that Frankfort’s Unitarian Universalist Community met her criteria.

“Our church is small, but the members do a lot,” said Saunders, 43, who’s an attorney in the Office of Investigation of the Finance and Administration Cabinet.

Saunders said she often wonders what keeps small churches going.

“There are lots of churches in this county that have membership in the 20s. I just wonder.” Then, she added, she looks at her church and sees how active and productive a small group can be and has an answer.

“People find something that interests them, a place where they can feel accepted and needed. I found that in the Unitarian community.”

That involvement led to the Interfaith Council. Founded by the late Ruby Layson, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community, the council brings together representatives of all faiths to, as the mission statement says, “promote compassion and mutual respect among all faiths through education, discussion, and reflection, to create in our community, an understanding and appreciation of diverse spiritual traditions and cultures.”

“When Ruby passed, I stepped up as the representative of my church. I’ve been there two or three years and agreed to serve as chair this year,” Saunders said.

A graduate of the Notre Dame School of Law, she’s been in Frankfort almost 17 years. And, like many, she came here for a job.

“I just love Frankfort,” says the South Frankfort resident. “It’s like ‘Our Town’; we have our own character.”

She was a Big Sister before the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program disbanded several years ago. She has, however, remained in touch with her little sister, who’s now preparing for college and has been accepted to three schools.

“One day I got a letter from the organization saying that my match had been dissolved. My little sister, who lives with her grandmother, got a similar letter. They came to my house and she was crying. I told her we would make it work and we have.”

She thinks, as do most volunteers, it’s important for people to volunteer if they have some spare time.

“Just identify what you’re interested in helping with, do a little research and you’ll find it here. You can match your interest with something that’s already going.

“Frankfort is filled with opportunities.”

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