Benjamin: Give an hour to make Columbia better

Guest ColumnistApril 12, 2013 

Benjamin

— Congressman Jim Clyburn used to say that one day, as a young boy, he was riding down the road with his father when they came across a tree limb blocking their way. “Somebody should do something about that,” he said, to which his father simply pulled over, looked at his son and said, “You’re somebody.”

Years later, I still remember that story because it reminds me that each of us can do something and even the smallest something can make a real difference.

Now imagine if all of us took that charge to heart. Imagine what would happen if we all pulled one limb from the road. Imagine what would happen if each of us looked past our jobs, our busy schedules and the increasing complexity of our daily lives and dedicated some portion of ourselves to making our city a better place to live, work and play.

Columbia is the largest city in South Carolina.

We have a population of more than 130,000 people and a metropolitan workforce of nearly 370,000.

Imagine if each of us dedicated just one hour to something greater than ourselves.

That’s what One Columbia: CityServe is all about.

It’s about imagining what we can do together and making it happen by bringing people from all different walks of life across Columbia together to pool our time, talents and resources for one intensive week of service from April 20 through April 28.

It’s about connecting individuals and families looking for the chance to be part of something great, and with the projects that need their help.

It’s about making Columbia a truly world-class city, and I’m asking for your help.

If you want to volunteer, you can sign up at cityservecolumbia.com and choose from the wide variety of projects already listed. Or you can simply call (803) 545-4220. If you’re an organizer with a project in mind or in place, register at our website, and you can start recruiting volunteers immediately. If you have all the volunteers and resources you need, please sign up too and be part of the movement.

It’s that quick. It’s that simple. And it won’t cost you a dime.

Every “something” matters, whether it’s picking up trash from along a stream or river, helping an elderly homeowner paint her front porch or volunteering to mentor a young child who needs someone to lean on, someone who believes in him and someone who cares. Every something matters because even the smallest something can make a real difference.

Three years ago, we talked about One Columbia as a vision to unite our community, to serve one another and to do great things together. We talked about One Columbia as a mission to finally reach our great potential and be what we always knew we could be. We talked about a dream.

Now as men, women and children from all walks of life come together united by the spirit of community and caring that CityServe embodies, I can’t help but think that this is what we were working for all along.

Join us today, because we are who we can be. We are One Columbia … and we’re just getting started.

Mr. Benjamin is the mayor of Columbia; contact him at skbenjamin@columbiasc.net.

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