As the New Year approaches, so do the resolutions: exercising more, discovering a new hobby, and doing good in the community usually top the list. Living in Asheville makes it easy to keep these resolutions; here are some of the best ways.
Offer a helping hand
Volunteer opportunities at Asheville-area nonprofits and community organizations are plentiful. For instance, Homeward Bound, which aims to end homelessness by providing much-needed services to people transitioning into a home, has many volunteer opportunities, including at AHOPE Day Center, where volunteers assist by handing out towels and toiletries for showers, and offering other support. https://homewardboundwnc.org/volunteer/. MANNA FoodBank, which provides food to scores of agencies throughout Western North Carolina, needs drivers, distribution assistants and warehouse volunteers. https://www.mannafoodbank.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer/
There are plenty of ways to help animals in Buncombe County through organizations like Asheville Humane Society https://ashevillehumane.org/volunteer and Brother Wolf http://www.bwar.org/volunteer/, where volunteers provide socialization and companionship to adoption-center animals, run the front desk and assist with daily cleaning.
New year, new interests
There’s no better time than the new year to add some fresh hobbies and interests to your life, and there’s no better way to do so than to join one of the many classes, workshops and meet-up groups available in Western N.C. Interested in the arts? Penland School of Crafts, located a little under an hour from Asheville, offers one-, two-, and eight-week workshops in books, paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking, letterpress, textiles and wood. https://penland.org Spots like Asheville’s North Carolina Glass Center can introduce you to glass making, whether you’re interested in one-day, multi-day, or community classes. https://www.ncglasscenter.org/classes If you’re interested in trying your hand at a new physical activity, there are a range of clubs and meet-ups in the Asheville area centered on everything from mountain biking to skiing to hiking, providing lots of support for beginners. Which brings us to our next resolution:
Let’s get physical
Exercising and getting healthy almost always lead resolution lists, but they’re also often the first to fall by the wayside. The key is to make exercise interesting by injecting novel approaches to staying fit. Asheville and the surrounding region can’t be beat for a range of outdoor activities that blend fitness with fun. In addition to hiking, biking (both mountain and road) and skiing (whether water or snow), there’s no shortage of river rafting and kayaking opportunities; greenways and trails for running and walking; and even skate parks and tracks for skateboarding, inline skating, and scootering. Added bonus: Asheville’s temperate weather makes it easy to enjoy outdoor fitness activities year-round.
It’s easy to go green in the new year, whether you’re looking to make small changes in your home, or create a greater impact in the Asheville community. Consider things like: organizing a group to pick up litter in a local park or along a roadway; talking to local government about planting more trees and native garden beds in public spaces, or planting your own on your property; trying an organic vegetable garden; composting kitchen scraps – coffee grounds, fruit, vegetable peels, even napkins; saving water by checking and replacing any leaky fixtures, and installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators; or using solar power to create electricity for your home, heat water and improve indoor lighting.
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