BY ERIN MCGRATH, OPERATIONS AND AMERICORPS VISTA PROGRAM MANAGER, THE HUB
Mr. Rogers reminded us all to look for the helpers in times of significant challenge. I have found myself thinking more about this wisdom in recent months while watching how volunteers have risen to face the new challenges we’ve been presented in this pandemic. It is not enough to just look for the helpers; looking to others must move us closer to being the helpers ourselves.
We’re teaming up with our friends at Volunteer West Virginia to survey people about new strategies, challenges, and opportunities for learning around volunteer-powered projects. We will share the results with our networks. If you’re working with volunteers in this time (or are a volunteer yourself!), please take this survey today.
It’s no secret that the practice of engaging volunteers has looked a lot different in 2020 than any year previous. Given the risks of gathering together in person, and the many other barriers folks may be facing in their personal lives right now, engaging volunteers as we knew it before is gone. But the spirit of the helpers Mr. Rogers talks about is still here, and it is thriving. From using virtual spaces to gather and strategize, to carefully choreographed, socially distant activities, volunteers across the state have stepped up to fill new and existing needs of our communities. Acts of kindness, like volunteering, are not only beneficial for our communities; they are also beneficial for our brains.
The further we get into this new normal, though, challenges will continue to arise. That’s why we want to hear what engaging volunteers in your community has been like in the recent months. We know that volunteers are more important to our community health than ever before. Volunteers can, and continue, to rise to meet critical needs of their neighbors; not to mention the positive impacts volunteering has on our brains. We want to hear what’s going on in your community.
Ready to learn more today?
A few weeks ago, we brought you some of our key takeaways from our Community Conversation “Mobilizing Volunteers Today.” We came together hoping to find out what exciting things volunteers have been doing to keep their communities moving forward through the pandemic, challenges organizations are facing to engagement, and to brainstorm solutions for moving towards sustainability. What this conversation revealed is that despite the many new and emerging challenges to engaging volunteers, there are many lessons being learned to build for the future.
Read our key takeaways post to learn more »
Erin McGrath is the Operations and AmeriCorps VISTA Program Manager at the WV Community Development Hub.