Georgia is number 6 in the nation for people who express their opinions about community or political issues online and we’re 34th in the nation for volunteering.

That’s the latest findings from the Georgia Civic Health Index, a study that reflects the overall well being of neighborhoods, communities, states and the nation. According to the study, the overall civic health for Georgia is “not strong.” Based on those findings, it sounds like we’ve got a lot of complainers who don’t want to do a darn thing about it.

I admit I hear a lot of complaining. I read a lot more complaints – especially on Facebook, which seems to be the safe and popular place to vent your rage against everything from the local school system to animal cruelty.

Certainly, we are powerless to change some things (snow, teenagers), but we are not powerless to change all things. However, to bring change it takes time, commitment, perseverance and passion.

Recently, I watched a Facebook campaign to “end it.” The “it” was human sex trafficking. Of course, this is a destructive, devastating force that we need to eradicate. The campaign encouraged people to put a red X on their hands to “raise awareness.” I asked a young woman wearing that X to tell me about the issue. “It’s really bad,” was the most she could say. She knew no facts about the issue, had never met anyone that had been a part of trafficking – not a victim nor an advocate for victims. Unfortunately, I find this to be common for many awareness campaigns.

This week, Circles of Troup County joins LaGrange College Servant Scholars and United Way to host Poverty Awareness Week. With 11 events sponsored by 11 local organizations, we have all worked hard to bring you opportunities to educate yourself on poverty issues in our community. We want you to know the facts, the challenges and the barriers for 22 percent of the people that you see at school, at work, at church, every day around you.

But, we don’t want you to stop at the awareness. At each event, you will also hear ways you can be part of bringing change to our individuals and our community. Some opportunities you hear about will take small commitments; some will take more of your time. Some will require your heart.

Please take time to attend at least one of these events. Circles would love to host you at its graduation Thursday, but there are many other worthy events as well. Let’s be a people who understand the problems, but also step up to change it for the better.

Here’s a link to the list of all the Poverty Awareness events: