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I don't know who first complained that there's nothing to do in a small town, but I doubt he or she lived in Atlanta. I'm amazed at the number of things there are to do here.

Granted, I'm likely not talking about the same things as those who bemoan boredom. It would probably be more correct to say I'm amazed at all that needs to be done.

I believe we are supposed to seek ways to occupy ourselves and, in the process, combat boredom. Simply put: the world doesn't exist to entertain us.

What pleases me about Atlanta is how willing people are to do what needs to be done. From individuals, to church groups, to civic organizations, to friends who frequent our taverns together, Atlantans are inclined to identify what their needs are -- then they go out and meet them.

For example, within the first six months of this year, the owners and patrons of two of our taverns, Phanny's and Chubby's, will have pulled off large-scale events that, in one case, raised thousands of dollars to fight breast cancer, and in the other, will help meet the medical expenses of a young community member battling brain cancer.

Then there are the Flower Buds, a couple dozen enthusiasts who, for the past several years, have planted flower beds and delivered huge pots of annuals to brighten storefronts in Atlanta's downtown. Another group rises early each Veterans Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Memorial Day, so the rest of us who sleep a bit later can awaken to the sight of hundreds of American flags placed around the town square in honor of our veterans.

Two years ago, the Atlanta Museum relocated into the restored "Downey Building." Afterward, a group of folks answered the call to staff the museum. These docents have one of the more interesting volunteer jobs in town. Just ask one of them to tell you about whom they have hosted recently and you'll hear stories of visitors from across the globe as well as down the road.

Another volunteer group recently celebrated its 18th year of service in town.

The Atlanta A-TEAM began as a community-wide effort to envision our town's future. Since 1993, the A-TEAM has raised thousands of dollars to support local activities and promote economic development.

It also organizes events such as Atlanta's annual Memorial Day observance and, in the words of its mission, strives to make Atlanta "the best place in the world to live, work, play, and pray."

Finally, one of the newest groups in town is the Atlanta Betterment Fund, a communitywide organization dedicated to improving Atlanta's quality of life, with a special focus on helping our businesses and services survive and grow.

It recently created an endowment fund for Atlanta to ensure the group's work continues well into the future. There are more folks out there doing what needs to be done, but space limits my listing them.

Nothing to do? Not in Atlanta.

Thomas is CEO of TelelogicLearning Co. and active in various community projects.


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