By Nicole Walby
Stay informed, stay up-to-date and get involved, said Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz Monday discussing civic responsibility and engagement in the community.
Montz and United Way Executive Director Pat DeMonte were featured speakers at Heidelberg University for the Heidelberg Leadership Experience series, a new initiative offered by the Office of Student Engagement.
Montz and DeMonte spoke about civic engagement and their journeys to where they are now.
Montz first ran for mayor as a 17-year-old high school senior.
"I didn't know what to do, but I went down and spoke to people at the board of elections and went out knocking on doors to get people to vote," Montz said. "I wanted to make my mark on the community."
Montz received 40 percent of the vote and said that it was a great stepping stone that began his political career.
He urged students to make their own marks by running for city council or another public office.
"Times are changing and good things are happening for the city of Tiffin," Montz said. "As part of a college community it is important to get your ideas and input out there."
"We want students to have a better appreciation of the concepts of leadership and what it means to them," said Andrea Wensowitch, director of Student Engagement at Heidelberg. "The students do not receive any credit for their classes, the students here are here because they want to be. Students learn about the principles and practices of effective leadership through leadership concepts and they learn about their own abilities and passions that will engage them on the next level."
The Heidelberg Leadership Experience takes place during the spring semester and students meet monthly to focus on different leadership skills through guest alumni presentations, workshops, team-building and discussions.
DeMonte, executive director for Tiffin-Seneca United Way since 2000, spoke about the power of giving and that it is the best gift that one can give to themselves.
"My mother said that to give what you can and if you can't give money you can give your time," DeMonte said. "I admire you all for going for education and hanging in there. It is very important. Don't lose sight of your dreams."
The United Way campaign for 2012-13 is "You Can Be A Super Hero!" and DeMonte said that you do not have to wear a red cape or a special T-shirt to be a super hero. It is about making time to make a difference.
Giving is part of being a citizen, DeMonte said.
"The United Way is an organization, not just a fund-raiser," DeMonte said. "It (the United Way) is a living and breathing organization that gives back to the community especially the residents of Seneca County."
"You have skills and talents beyond yourself," she said. "(Remember) to believe for what you stand for and stand for what you believe."