The beginning of a new year is a great time to set goals.

It’s a time to reflect on the past year, gather our thoughts and ponder how we can make our lives better in the upcoming year.

I would encourage you this year to consider setting some very intentional goals for the love of humankind for 2023 and how you might make the lives of others better in the upcoming year.

To begin with, your goal should be just that – a goal and not a resolution. You may already be doing some of (or all of these things). If you are, consider being intentional. Find a few ways you can demonstrate your love for others, for those outside of your family group. That could be a very specific nonprofit, a community service opportunity or even just getting to know your neighbors and helping them when you can.

That could be as simple as meeting your neighbor and being very intentional about your interaction with them, or finding a volunteer opportunity with a nonprofit. As an example, here at the Gateway Foundation, we have volunteers who help run our fundraising events, read scholarship applications or serve on the Foundation board. And we are not alone – most nonprofits need volunteers for these or similar positions. All you have to do is ask them, “How can I help?” Volunteer work serves as the core for most service groups, and they are always in need of volunteers to bring their expertise and positive energy to their group.

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You could also consider joining a service club. Kenosha County has many worthwhile clubs and their work helps others in the community. Plus, joining a club means you meet new people, always a benefit of volunteering. Our Foundation board members and volunteers all talk about the benefits they’ve experienced through volunteering and meeting new people, and I’m sure that other nonprofit executive directors would tell you the same.

In addition to donating time, a goal may be to donate resources. And remember, you can do this year long! While many give money or basic needs items during the holidays, you may have a goal to contribute at other times of the year when the need may be even greater.

While we at the Foundation certainly enjoy end-of-year giving, we also can use resources year-round. Those who engage in an event such as our spring golf outing pay to play, if you will, but that money supports Gateway students and college initiatives. Those resources are needed even more today as we encourage students to not only enroll in college right out of high school, but to return to perhaps finish a degree they began years ago.

And while most nonprofits certainly love the hands-on work volunteers bring during this busy time of year, they would also benefit from it throughout the year, too.

Jennifer Charpentier is executive director of the Gateway Technical College Foundation.

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