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Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Volunteer's Story

Over the years I've learned that when you attempt to volunteer time to assist with a cause, it does not always mean your volunteering will make conditions better.  For some reason the organization you volunteer for may not follow up and call you back.  Then you wonder, well if they really needed help why isn't anyone contacting me?  You've offered your valuable time and skills only to be met with silence.

For the past six years I've been a volunteer with an organization whose mission involves providing mentoring to youth from elementary to high school age.  It is a non profit organization.  They have been funded by the United Way for several years to help run one of the mentoring programs to provide in school mentoring.  But the inability to provide evidence that the mentoring program was effective resulted in reduced funding from United Way. Other than anecdotal stories the organization could not provide any qualitative evidence of the positive impact of the mentoring program on the students.

As a volunteer I attempted to assist in supporting a mentoring program by doing administrative tasks.  Making copies, preparing articles about the mentoring program to be published on the organization's website. taking photographs.  I even created a Facebook page to help promote the activities of the mentoring organization.  The article was never published, although other articles about the organization's programs were.  The Facebook page attracted about 22 people into following the activities of the mentoring organization.  That was 22 more than who followed the organization's website.  I recently tried to inform the followers on my page to follow the organization on their page.  Not many followed over to the new website.

I attempted to provide advice on how the program could be improved.  What I learned is that those who are in charge of an organization have their own vision and really don't want input from volunteers.  So I decided to pull back and let them do what they wanted to do.  If I could provide any help to their efforts I tried to help.  But, ideas, thoughts.....those I know are not welcomed or desired.  It's best to try to be efficient.  If your ideas and efforts are not wanted, don't waste your time.  Re dedicate your time elsewhere into an activity where your efforts are wanted.