Of all the ways there are to "pay it forward" in German Village, volunteering one's time on a German Village Society committee is, in my humble opinion, the best. Checks are great and the society will gladly accept them, but offering your time, creative juices, energy and enthusiasm provides a more lasting gift upon which current and future residents can build. The committees offer something for everyone and anyone is welcome to attend a meeting to get a feel for whether or not things fit.

Of all the ways there are to “pay it forward” in German Village, volunteering one’s time on a German Village Society committee is, in my humble opinion, the best. Checks are great and the society will gladly accept them, but offering your time, creative juices, energy and enthusiasm provides a more lasting gift upon which current and future residents can build. The committees offer something for everyone and anyone is welcome to attend a meeting to get a feel for whether or not things fit.

The society has committees of planners (the long-range planning, finance, organizational development and membership committees) and committees of doers (friends of Schiller, streetscape, marketing and the FUN committees). But by all means, I don’t want to offend. Members of each committee do and do and do and do, and that takes plan after plan after plan.

For instance, the German Village Business Community serves a committee role and it produces events, makes sure German Village businesses stay on the map and plans for the future. The “friends” committees, which cover both Schiller and Frank Fetch Park, help create beautiful landscapes, maintain our parks and the furniture in them and organize events such as the marathon party and the Third Sunday concert series. The adopt-a-school volunteers give their time to students looking for some extra pointers at school.

More good deeds and great works are accomplished by the numerous committees than I can dare mention here, so I encourage you to visit germanvillage.com to learn more about what the society’s committees do and how you can contribute. Committees vary in size and meeting frequency but I truly would be hard-pressed to say that there isn’t something for everyone.

As the society’s historic preservationist, of course, I heartily believe that the historic preservation committee is our most mission-centric and critical committee. This is the group that links the society to the German Village Commission. The committee is aware of current preservation trends, plans educational programming and advocates for preservation and responsible planning.

Committee chair Will Eylar has served on the committee forever (well, at least since I came around in 2005) and holds a solid and steady vision for how the society can stay relevant as a national preservation leader. In years past, the historic preservation committee has produced an educational workshop on researching the history of one’s home and, most recently, created the German Village walking tour.

One need not be a preservation professional to join, just as you don’t need to be a horticulturalist to help in the Huntington Gardens. All one needs is an interest and a willingness to brainstorm.

Think of it this way: You may not think of yourself as a preservationist per se, but you live in a historic district and in a historic home, and you need or already have a basic familiarity with an architectural review commission. Sounds like you’re interested in historic preservation at some level, so why not donate your time to strengthening the committee and thereby, the society and your neighborhood at large?

If you’re quite certain your talents would be better suited elsewhere, please visit germanvillage.com. Our committees are always looking for new ideas and you never know just how much you’ll be able to contribute to your neighborhood until you take a seat at the table.

Jody Graichen is director of historic preservation programs for the German Village Society.