Volunteering – A Real Thrill

Since my retirement, I have been doing some volunteering (working without pay) for some great organizations (Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona and Az4Education). The work that I have done for both vary as much as their missions do. It has been a total thrill and fun to be part of them.

With Big Brothers Big Sisters, BBBS, I help out in two ways. The first is my helping with orientation every month or so. This allows me to see the “new” potential “Bigs” go through their first look at BBBS. The programs that BBBS offers and how the Bigs can help. It is great to see their faces light up when they see how they can help a child out. My other role was to facilitate running the first cultural survey for the organization. Over 90% of the organization participated by responding. There were many thoughtful comments from the organizations members. The cool part for me was rolling up the data and providing my initial thoughts from the data. This allowed me to use my leadership skills to read between the lines (and comments). I was able to present the information to a number of different layers within the organization. What I really enjoy is watching the transformation that is started within the organization. The executive team still talks about the results when they are looking ahead. Awesome stuff.

I started volunteering for Az4Education over a year and a half. My passion for seeing our future be brighter drove me to wanting to help out. I had never really done my outside marketing and with this organization, I get my chance. I get to use my love of social media, education and leading teams to good use. I don’t want to use my personal blog to sell you on the Az4Education mission, but please check it out… What we were able to do this past month was truly a thrill. We got to award scholarships to students. I wrote on Az4Education this “This year we received over 200% more scholarship applications than 2011. As a board member and volunteer for Az4Education it makes me proud to award as many scholarships to deserving students and families as possible.” This was my second time awarding scholarships, it made all of the work well worth it!

Volunteering can be a real thrill. When I discuss this with others, they sometimes point out the negatives to volunteering. Some folks get discouraged due to the starts/stops or the standing around or the feeling that the organization really does not know what to do with volunteers. For me, those a pains in almost everything. I look past that. I put myself in and what I get out is so much more!

The folks at BBBS, thanked me for the culture survey with a polo shirt. I will be wearing that shirt with pride every time I wear it!