It’s fall, which means it’s time for the Times Citizen and Ackley World Journal to publish our annual special section that focuses entirely on women.

No one around here remembers exactly how long we’ve been printing this supplement to the paper. But we know it’s something to be proud of. Every October we convince a dozen or so women to open up to us — tell us about their work, their interests, their families — and we write these long-form profile pieces about them.

Each year we focus on a theme for this special section. In the past it’s been female artists, or women who work with their husbands. A few years ago the stories were about women who’d started in one career and switched to something entirely different. Last year we featured mothers — women who juggle work and families and community involvement.

This year we decided to take that idea of community involvement and run with it. This year’s Working Women tells the stories of 12 women who give their time, talents and sweat to make their towns better and their neighbors happier. They lead grassroots volunteer efforts, they participate in civic organizations, they look for what around them needs to be done, and they do it.

It’s not easy to volunteer like the women in these pages do. Between work and family, there’s often not much time remaining. But these women manage to make time to do quite a lot. We can all find inspiration in that. Not everyone can do this work, but we can admire the people who do, and we can thank them when we have the chance.

If you’ve thought of giving your time, but you don’t know where to start, read through these stories and take note of some of the organizations and efforts that need volunteer help. Ask friends and neighbors, volunteer at your child’s school, join a civic organization, or pledge your time to help at a community event. This is a great time of the year, as holiday events approach.

We can make our communities more vibrant places to live, but it takes all of us working together.

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A chance to get to know the area in which she now calls home was a driving force for why Tina John started to volunteer.

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Gayle Faris is never far removed from filling a volunteer role in her hometown. Just recently she helped raise money for the new Hubbard Medic…

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When she was young, Erin Smith remembers attending her local library with her mother at least twice a week. Fast forward to adulthood and Smit…

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