The holiday season brings with it an overwhelming spirit of generosity and loving kindness.

Everywhere you look, people are putting change into Salvation Army buckets, taking angels off of the trees to give gifts to the needy, donating food items to pantries, and buying gifts for friends and loved ones.  

How about some ideas on how to give back to the community?  How about reaching people across generations and offering a gift that lasts longer than the time it takes to put away the Christmas tree?

The answer to these questions lies in one word:  volunteerism.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everyone can be great because anyone can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace;  a soul generated by love.”

There are so many people in Ellis County with souls generated by love and hearts full of grace.  There are so many people willing to reach out and care for others in need.  There is an opportunity for a way to focus on this desire to help and give hope.  You can become a Master Wellness Volunteer!  Everyone wants to be and stay as healthy as possible, and you will learn the latest research-based information about healthy lifestyles, by attending the course.

So, what exactly is a Master Wellness Volunteer?  Wellness is defined as “a state of health that doesn’t just involve the absence of an illness.  It encompasses a person’s physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and financial well-being.”  

Master Wellness Volunteers will have an opportunity to promote wellness throughout Ellis County and represent the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service as well.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has many programs for everyday folks to deliver.  Master Wellness Volunteers can help teach classes to any age group about the importance of staying healthy.  They can help with diabetes education programming, such as the Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes series that takes place in Ellis County.   They can serve as Walk Across Texas team leaders, or just participate.  Love to cook?  Master Wellness volunteers can provide healthy recipe demonstrations.  The opportunities are endless.

Being a Master Wellness Volunteer doesn’t have to mean getting up in front of people and teaching a class.  

It can mean helping with administrative tasks, like helping to register people for programming, entering important data into computers that is collected from AgriLife Extension programs, and designing newsletters or flyers.  There IS something for everyone!

What’s in it for you?  According to General H. Norman Schwarzkopf “You cannot help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.”  General Schwarzkoph certainly knew about the side of humanity that longs for self-fulfillment.  The Master Wellness Volunteer program offers this sense of fulfillment with every hour of service donated.

To become a Master Wellness Volunteer, you will attend 5 classes that will provide the latest research-based information in health and wellness education.  In return, volunteers agree to give back 40 hours of service to the community.

Master Wellness volunteer training for 2013 will be:

January 17

January 24

January 31

February 7 and

February 14.  

Each day will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude before 3 p.m. The training will take place at the Boys and Girls Club, 1211 South Clay Street, Ennis.

For an application and further information, contact Rita Hodges, County Extension Agent-Family and Consumer Sciences, at 972-825-5175 or rmhodges@ag.tamu.edu.

You will be rewarded in many ways, when you become a Master Wellness Volunteer in Ellis County!

Rita Hodges is the Ellis  County Extension Agent-Family & Consumer Sciences. Contact Rita at  972-825-5175 or rmhodges@ag.tamu.edu.