The residents of Lake Highlands are approaching a critical time in our community. Many of us are concerned about our property maintaining its value. As we hear stories of how our schools will be growing over the next 10 years, the concern is where is this growth coming from?

All of us have a choice in the future of Lake Highlands. We can give up and do nothing. We can flee the neighborhood. Or, we can continue our strong efforts to make Lake Highlands an even better community and to maintain its strong community spirit. I hope everyone’s choice will be not to give up.

To do this will take a neighborhood-wide effort, and organizations such as the Lake Highlands Exchange Club play a big part in promoting this community spirit.

To describe Lake Highlands, I would say we are a unique, close and caring neighborhood with more community spirit than any other in Dallas.

Most people say the schools are what pulls Lake Highlands together. That is probably true, but I would say that the Lake Highlands Exchange Club is a close runner-up. Take note of some of the things the Exchange Club does each year to help promote neighborhood spirit.

Each July we help sponsor, along with RE/MAX Realtors, Whole Foods and the Lake Highlands Recreational Center, the annual Lake Highlands Fourth of July Parade.

In this spring and fall, the Exchange Club sponsors a roadblock at the intersection of Skillman and Audelia to collect money to contribute to the Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse (EXCAP). At each of these roadblocks we raise over $2,500. I find some of the stories most interesting when collecting these funds.

One man commented to me as he handed me a $5 bill: “Thanks for your work. I was abused as a child, and I just wish I could have had someone to help me.”

October brings Halloween, and we help sponsor the annual Halloween carnival at our neighborhood recreational center.

Whenever there are families hungry or in need of clothing, the Exchange Club is always there to pass the hat and lend a helping hand. We currently have a mini-warehouse donated by Penny’s Minis, where we collect furniture to give to families who may need help.

On March 22, we have our annual auction, which raised over $50,000 last year. In May, we were fortunate to provide more than $45,000 in scholarships to Lake Highlands High School seniors.

These scholarships are not only based on academics, but also on financial need. Most of us never know the extreme hardships that many students to go through just to receive an education.

What we do through the Exchange Club can be a life-changing event for some of these kids. Without our help, the door to a college education may never be opened for some.

These are just a few of the ways the Exchange Club is helping to create a better community. However, there is only so much we can do. We need the entire community’s support. I urge each of you to don’t just sit there and let this neighborhood deteriorate. Ask yourself: “How can I help?”