“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”

This powerful quote by Rabindranath Tagore resonates with me as I think about the various services provided by our county’s numerous not-for-profit organizations, churches, groups and individuals who want to meet the myriad needs of individuals or families who need help and reside in our county.

I received an email from my friend, Holly Neal, who is the director of the United Fund of Cumberland County — the noble organization whose mission is to raise money for the other organizations providing service and help to the community. The email was in regards to Habitat for Humanity, one of the programs the local United Fund supports. Holly asked us to help get the word out for Habitat.

Habitat’s mission is “to work in partnership with God and people everywhere, from all walks of life, to develop communities with people in need by building and renovating houses so there are decent houses in decent communities in which everyone can experience God’s love and can live and grow into all that God intends.”

The short version? They build houses for people who need them. The houses are beautiful and are being constructed all over our county. Habitat volunteers assist the future homeowner in literally every aspect of the project.

Recipients, of course, must meet certain guidelines to qualify. They include:

1. Have a need for decent/safe housing.

2. Be a Cumberland County resident for the last 12 months.

3. Be a citizen or legal resident of the United States.

4. Have acceptable credit.

5. Have a steady and regular work history or a regular means of incomes such as Social Security or SSI.

6. Be willing to work at least 500 “sweat equity” hours.

7. Be able to save $1,600 while the house is being built for closing costs.

8. Have not filed for bankruptcy or had a home foreclosed in the last two years.

9. Be able to pay about $400 a month on a 20-year, interest-free loan.

10. Can’t qualify for a home loan with a bank or mortgage company.

11. Income falls within Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines for your family.

If you meet these requirements and are interested in additional information, you may contact Habitat for Humanity by dropping by their 329 McClarty Lane location, emailing them at cchabitat@frontiernet.net, visiting the website at www.cumberlandhabitat.com or by calling 484-4565.

Speaking of service organizations, do not forget Friday night is the annual Avalon Parade of Beauties male beauty pageant at the Palace Theater. The fundraiser features many of the county’s fun-loving fellows in some of wildest outfits you will ever see. All the action will start at 6 p.m. Tickets may be purchased on the Palace website at www.palacetheatre-crossville.com.

Lauren Fox and Missy Wright were recognized at the opening of the latest Cumberland County Playhouse production of The Miracle Worker, the heartwarming story of a deaf and blind young lady named Helen Keller from Alabama and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. Both Fox and Wright played Helen in previous productions. Wright was Helen in the late '80s and Fox in the '90s. The production, by the way, is very good and features a strong, talented cast of actors.

The very first ever Junior Achievement 5K Race and one-mile walk/run is Saturday at Stone Memorial High School. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. or you may pre-register by contacting Krista Kemmer at 260-8925. All proceeds will benefit the Youth Achievement Foundation of Cumberland County.