Monday, January 21, 2008

Dedicated Volunteers by Nannette Croce

Most colleges and employers these days ask applicants to list community service, especially those programs in which they took “a leadership role.”

As someone who has volunteered most of my adult life, sometimes in “a leadership role,”I can tell you that the life blood of any volunteer organization is not the leaders but those people who simply show up on time, every time, to do the assigned job and usually more. Who never leave early, but sometimes leave late. Who twist their schedules to fill a last-minute need. Who never renege with less than one foot in the grave, and then only after finding a substitute. Leaders receive recognition––a photo in the newspaper or a name at the top of the program––and important career contacts. Rank and file volunteers fold, staple, and stamp; hammer and paint; ring doorbells and walk for miles in the rain, often for no more than a small mention in a newsletter (usually misspelled) or a thank you note with a pre-stamped signature.

I am eternally grateful to the dedicated volunteers I have worked with at The Rose & Thorn Literary Ezine, the YMCA, the League of Women Voters, and to preserve local historic sites. I am also grateful to those who help me and my family by volunteering at hospitals, libraries, with fire and ambulance companies. And to those who help the needy in homeless shelters and food co-ops, or with clothing drives and building houses. My list could go on and on. Yes, this requires some leaders, but it requires several times more dedicated people who simply show up when needed to get the job done.


Barbara Quinn said...

So true, Nannette. The dedicated volunteers do keep things running. Let me join you in thanking the volunteers, especially those of The Rose & Thorn who make the place shine. There are so many tasks to be done, and everyone is so good about following through. Thanks for telling it like it is and also for all that you do!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Yes! What would we do without our volunteers!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Here here, Nannette. As a long time community, Scout, and ministry worker volunteer, what you've said is the truth. But the secret volunteers of all kinds know is that the rewards received are much bigger than the ones given. IMO, the very best are situations in which you are up close and personal with the people you're helping...painting a rehabbed house for Habitat for Humanity, serving a hot meal at a shelter, housing displaced persons after a hurricane, and such. The look in their eyes is priceless. Thanks for reminding me of the joy and gratitude I always feel when serving.

Nannette Croce said...

I agree Angie. Volunteering brings its own rewards, and I have found no better way to make new friends than coming together with people who share a common cause.

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