As we start a new year in this wonderful community, let us reflect on some of the important reasons we are here. Is it the great schools? The wonderful facilities such as the local libraries and the community center? The sweet slices of Americana we see in events like the Kiwanis Pet Parade each May or the Festival of Lights Parade on Thanksgiving weekend? Or could it be local landmarks such as Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View or the Los Altos History Museum?

We are truly blessed with these resources in our community, and we should not take them for granted. And while they are partially powered by many generous donations, they are also powered by people.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to put on an event like the Festival of Lights Parade? As your kids watch in amazement as floats, marching bands and dancers pass by, do you have any idea how many hours of preparation went into getting that procession to travel down the street? (You can find out by going to losaltosparade.org.)

The thing that really makes this community great is the people power that fuels its events and facilities. We urge you to consider donating a few hours each month to one of the things you and your family enjoy in the community. You don’t have to give 50 years of volunteering like our Los Altans of the Year, Penny and Roy Lave, but you can if you want.

Being an active part of the community sets a great example for your family, and there are many studies that show volunteerism is good for the heart and mind. You may even develop some long-standing friendships. And you can certainly feel good about making sure these treasures continue to add value to our area.