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Making a difference

Solving problems and seeking solutions are often a daily routine at home and at work. Time constraints and resources often force us to move quickly to a resolution. How often do we take time to dig deeper, to create impact beyond the problem we are solving?

During my recent trip to India, I stayed at Khem Villas in Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan and learned about a man who did more than save the tigers. He created a movement that impacted health care, education, jobs and the environment. He removed the barriers of humans and animals by addressing the underlining issues that caused the poaching of tigers.

Dr. GS Rathore (1938-2011) set out to save the tigers, but his work went much deeper. He purchased land close to the forest and started to plant trees, grasses and created water bodies. He provided education so that the poachers and their families could get traditional work. He built Khem Villas in 2006 with the idea that it would help fund a state of the art hospital called Ranthambore Sevika. This work not only brought back the tiger population, but it created a strong community of people that understood the value of education and health. By saving the tigers, the community was saved too. Jobs, education and healthcare moved the community from conflict and poverty to cooperation and prosperity.

Every day is a new opportunity to help create change in a way that can impact something bigger. In our worlds, in our communities, our families and friends we can help ignite change by not accepting the status quo. Each time we are faced with an obstacle, how do we handle it? Do we tend to follow the same method, process or pattern as to not disrupt? Or do we ask questions and dig deeper to understand why. Sometimes our answers are so simple and generally involve collaborative communication that leads to new ideas and new perspective. And ultimately a better outcome for all.

In my own community I am awed by the dedication of hard working volunteers who work tirelessly to build a better community. I think fondly of the partnerships and organizations I worked with years ago to build large scale service projects, events and curriculums that motivated people to get outside and get involved in stewardship. How well our community came together in support of growing our recreational and conservation efforts helped make Spokane an amazing outdoor mecca. It's equally exciting to be a part of the 64 million dollar Riverfront Park redevelopment as well as helping guide and support the growth opportunities of Riverside State Park.

Volunteers are the backbone of all communities. There are ample ways to get involved. One great site in the Spokane area is

Take a peek and see what sparks your interest. Remember there are lots of ways to give. Do what works best for you. Starting somewhere now helps establish this in your life. You will meet other like-minded passionate people that you no doubt will find other common interests too. Give it a try. It's another way to seek personal growth, nurture the soul and add value to your community.

You can also search the web for Volunteer Vacations, Volunteer Match, to name a few. I find many people who want to help somewhere but don't know where to start. Sharing information is a great way to help direct others.

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Follow and share on facebook, twitter and instagram at Sally Vantress-lodato. Thank you for being a part of the journey…..

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