Thursday, February 19, 2009

Volunteering for a Stronger Community

My mother was a volunteer extraordinaire. She was president of a series of community organizations in Washington, DC and then in Denver. She organized summer camps that brought urban and suburban kids together, across class and race divides, to play games, put on skits, and so on. She led adult education programs, girl scout troups, fundraising drives, and more. She believed in getting involved. My mother would have loved the conversation I had this week with Maureen Drummond about the Hands-On Volunteer Network.

As Maureen explains, volunteering is not just about serving others, though that matters. It’s also about a sense of belonging, of making a difference. And the time we spend working at a food bank, tutoring children, cleaning up the neighborhood, or simply stuffing envelopes helps us develop relationships and skills even as it contributes to improving our neighborhood and the broader community. When people get involved, they gain insight into the problems and assets of their communities, and the relationships and skills they develop create “civic infrastructure.” That’s what the Points of Light institute, the national organization with which the Hands-On Volunteer Network is connected, calls the development of human resources that make stronger communities and social change possible.

I hope that listening to Maureen will inspire you to want to get involved. The Hands-On Volunteer Network’s website can help you get started.

1 comment:

Tyler said...

Thanks for covering this.