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Community comes together for Why You Matter

Steve Ranson
Nevada News Group
Hundreds of residents representing all age groups have participated in Why You Matter.
Steve Ranson / LVN

Buoyed by the first reception at the Churchill County Library for the national campaign of “Why You Matter” and other presentations this month, Churchill County High School art teacher Jamie Shafer is grateful for the community coming together on this project.

“We had an excellent turnout, and I was able to photograph more people as well,” Shafer said about the reception earlier this month at the Churchill County Library. “I’m not surprised how it (the campaign) took off. The community support is phenomenal, and the people support each other.”

Shafer also presented her project at the William N. Pennington Life Center on Tuesday and to sign up anyone who hasn’t participated. The “Why You Matter” project began at a Massachusetts high school and has spread from ocean to ocean.

Shafer said originally she wanted to remind students that they a part of their community as well as their school. At first, she began to reach out to students and other youngsters to jot down their thoughts and take a photo holding their comments. From there, the endeavor began to include people from all walks of life. She asks individuals to scribble a few words explaining why they make a difference in the community. Shafer said she wants to hold additional sessions and presentations.

But Shafer is still amazed about the program’s success in Churchill County and how, she said, “people opened their doors to her project to make it happen.”

At the library, visitors will see a wide range of comments such as “I matter because I’m trying to make a positive impact on people’s lives,” “I matter because I care about my students,” “I matter because I bake amazing cookies,” and “I matter because I can help people to smile.”

“I’m still hoping to add more dates,” she said. “I have a session at Western Nevada College on Feb. 6.”

Shafer said she is planning to have a show in the spring to coincide with the CCHS annual art fair. Her goal is to show the comments from all the students who participated in the project from the first day. The Fallon teacher said she would also like to have another reception at the county library, also in the spring.

Churchill County Librarian Carol Lloyd said “Why You Matter” has been a successful program.

“We had a very receptive reception,” Lloyd said. “ I am thrilled with the exhibit, the display they put up. It is a wonderful program. The response from the community from what I have heard is incredibly positive.”

Lloyd said the library is presenting the display, while the Churchill County Museum will archive the responses.

“This is a community effort,” she said.

Sponsors for this project include the Churchill County Library, Churchill County High School, Churchill County, LP Insurance Services, City of Fallon and Rotary Club of Fallon.