Every house has a foundation, and those with the strongest foundations prove to weather the changes and storms along the way. Anyone who works within the academic or nonprofit fields could tell you that the foundation of any rock solid organization – those that weather the ups and downs – are the stalwart volunteers who give of their time, energy, and talents to benefit an amazing cause, albeit with what some would deem a small personal return. The thing is, dedicated volunteers understand that the personal reward may not be quantified in a dollar amount or with highly visible and public accolades; however, there is definitely a reward of personal satisfaction when one understands the importance and value of their work.
Nonprofits rely on those who believe in their missions to provide the means for success and progression. This can come in the form of monetary funding, or simply the help of extra bodies and minds to work in unity in order to pull off activities that often benefit the parts of communities with the greatest immediate needs. Volunteers not only bring the man-power necessary to provide resources to those in need, but additionally provide the invaluable experience, opinion, and input of involved community members that ultimately create stronger organizations.
At Guadalupe School, this can come in the form of parent volunteers, who spend hour after hour calling other parents, informing them of the ways in which they can become more informed and involved as active participants in the excellent academic programs provided. In addition, community members who sign up to tutor on a weekly basis, allow for a more individualized experience to students, both young and old, in reading and ESL programs. Even corporations contribute in meaningful ways, by providing their employees as volunteers to help run large events such as carnivals and holiday parties, creating a warmer and more personal experience for the families of our various programs.
As the Volunteer Coordinator here at Guadalupe School, I have personally observed the amazing foundation being laid for our nonprofit through the consistent efforts of our incredible volunteers. Guadalupe has weathered many big changes in recent years and come through even stronger, because our foundation holds with the support of dedicated individuals who provide the fuel needed to motor us to the finish line with each of our academic and community goals.
Volunteers like those at Guadalupe set a powerful example for the community at large. When friends, family, co-workers, etc. see the positive results achieved on the part of corporations, community members, and actively involved families, they will effectively see that making change is easier than it looks when all parts of a community join forces. Volunteers also influence social change within the mentality of a community as they bridge cultural gaps whether along the lines of ethnicity, language, or any other demographic line that could possibly be seen as a barrier. Because of this needed example, community members can begin to see diversity as a tool for sustainable change and wide-ranging ideas.
Everyone likes the idea of a town carried over its obstacles on the shoulders of Superman. However, as more of a realist, I like the idea of a community carried on the many shoulders of volunteers – the more shoulders the lighter the burden for us all. I am proud to say that Guadalupe volunteers are showing a wonderful example to the community of what it is to be the sturdy foundation of an organization that leads out in positive development.
- Cassie Bingham, Volunteer Coordinator