BY ERIN SUSMAN, OPERATIONS AND AMERICORPS VISTA PROGRAM MANAGER, THE HUB
Over the past several months, our communities have moved to help support each other through these challenging times. Back in June, we held a community conversation where we discussed how volunteer programs were evolving to meet the rising needs of the community (If you missed our takeaways from that, check it out here). We’ve seen training opportunities arise for volunteer managers to shift their programs into a new, virtual landscape. And, since April, our AmeriCorps members serving in The Hub’s VISTA program have recruited over 200 new volunteers across the state. These volunteers, like countless others, have been filling new and changing needs in our communities to keep things running.
Even when we can’t gather together in person, there are still ways for us to engage our communities and our volunteers from afar. (Want 3 tips to get started? Check out this article from back in March).
Over the coming months, we will need to be creative and flexible to continue to support our communities, and we’ll also need to support each other. One way that we can do that is to hear what you have learned over the last few months, and where you feel like you still need help. Complete this brief survey and let us know. We will be sharing the results of this survey soon, and hope that you will continue to stay engaged with us as we discuss new ways to mobilize our community volunteers.
We’re entering a new phase of this new world we’ve been living in these past few months. As the days grow shorter, and the air grows colder, many people have started thinking about what comes next. You may be starting to wonder that yourself, especially if you have shifted your volunteer activities to be outdoors for social distancing.
One unique advantage that we have right now, that we didn’t have in March, is that we have the time to start planning and strategizing for this next phase now. As we learned back at our community conversation on volunteerism in June, the new ways we are finding to engage with our communities and our volunteers will allow us to bring more voices to the table going forward.
I am excited to have been invited by our friends at Volunteer West Virginia to represent The Hub on their new Volunteer Initiatives Advisory Committee. This new initiative brings together a group of individuals across the state who deal with volunteers, through National Service and community programs. Through the efforts of this committee, a volunteer management curriculum specifically designed for our communities in West Virginia will be coming around this time next year.
I will be sure to share updates over the coming months.
Erin Susman is The Hub’s Operations and AmeriCorps VISTA Program Manager. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.