Jefferson rich in social capital

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization and Jefferson Matters: Main Street is lucky to have such generous people in our community involved.

With the variety of tasks needing to be done, there is a place for everyone to use their talents, spend their time and make a difference. Volunteering for the good of our community is a chance to build leadership skills.

Businesses that encourage their employees to volunteer are helping them to build skills and relationships.

Those great retired volunteers are a product of their careers and the valuable skills acquired.

There are also people who feel more comfortable following the lead of someone else and feeling that sense of accomplishment.

Guess what?

All of this can happen as a volunteer for Jefferson Matters: Main Street.

A new term that relates to volunteerism in communities has emerged. It is called Social Capital.

Social capital is a form of economic and cultural capital in which social networks are central, transactions are marked by reciprocity, trust, and cooperation, and market agents produce goods and services not mainly for themselves, but for a common good.  This is the definition from Wikipedia but it is really very simple.

Social capital is what we have happening here in Jefferson.

Volunteering and the relationships generated from volunteering are at the heart of this.

Our Main Street board held a planning session to determine their priorities for 2017. Our volunteers were deemed our biggest strength, and we feel it is important to recognize those who give of their time.

The power of one person is unbelievable.

One such individual is Nicole Bennett-Tuel, who single-handily designed and painted a piece on her own rooftop. The Tower View Team affectionately called it “The Wild Woman on the Roof.”

This rooftop art with simple features in very few colors stands out as people ride the elevator up the Mahanay Bell Tower. They awe at its portrayal of a woman looking out over the rest of the rooftops just wondering or speculating.

Maybe the Wild Woman is watching the visitors coming into the community or the children riding their bikes around town. She is whimsical and free.

We love her and appreciate that Nicole painted her for all to enjoy. In that heat before the Bell Tower Festival, Nicole worked to complete her piece for viewing.

The only catch is that in order to see this Wild Woman, you’ll need to ride the elevator to the top of the Bell Tower.

Jefferson Matters: Main Street wants to thank and recognize Nicole for sharing her talent with the community in this way. This is the power of one.

Thanks to our many volunteers involved in Jefferson Matters: Main Street. You are the Social Capital that is drawing people to our community to live, work and play.

Peg Raney is program director of Jefferson Matters: Main Street. Contact her at or 515-386-3585.

Contact Us

Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161