Monday, April 11, 2011

Connecting with Your Roots in Volunteerism

Amy Sinykin
When starting my nonprofit career, I accidentally began working for a free medical clinic in Washington, DC. (By accidentally, I mean I picked the year-long volunteer stint via Lutheran Volunteer Corps because the executive director made me laugh AND I desperately wanted to live outside Minnesota.) That accident led to an experience as a volunteer coordinator. I was responsible for organizing and recruiting the volunteers that ensured the clinic could provide medical appointments to low-income or uninsured individuals. I LOVED it.

After a few months, I started wondering what I should do after my year was over. The next day, Paul and Jerry walked into the clinic. These two retired military men came each Tuesday night to help run the lab during clinic hours. They talked often that they liked their volunteer work at the clinic more than their Pentagon jobs. As I watched each of them grin with enjoyment over their volunteer work, suddenly I knew wherever I worked, I wanted to interact with volunteers—their passion, their energy, their spirit, their intent to make the world better.

Most recently, I’ve had the honor of reconnecting with my “roots” of volunteerism. And despite changing paths in my nonprofit career, I still value the impact volunteers have in my world. The volunteers that engage with the Charities Review Council are yet again more examples of committed, dedicated, engaged, spirited, and passionate individuals. I do not underestimate the impact that each and every one has had on my life, let alone the impact they’ve each had on their communities. It’s a powerful thing volunteerism.

So, in honor of National Volunteer Week (April 11 – 16, 2011), I’d like to highlight the Council’s dedicated volunteers. As volunteers did 20 + years ago, they make me wake up in the morning looking forward to my day.

If you know any of our volunteers OR someone who volunteers, please join me this week in giving them a high-five, a thank you, or a shout out.

“Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls.” -David Thomas

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