Indiana Commission on Community Service and Volunteerism:
Tell us about your first volunteer experience:
I don’t remember one specific first volunteer experience, but I do remember when I was in third or fourth grade, having an “adopted grandmother” through my Girl Scout troop that we used to visit at a local nursing home. She always had Chips Ahoy Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies for us to enjoy when we visited. Since I did not grow up near any of my grandparents and only saw them a few times a year, it was fun to have a grandma that I could visit every couple of weeks. I don’t remember any one visit in particular, but I always remember how much I enjoyed the time we spent in her room visiting, playing games, and eating cookies. It wasn't until I became much older that I realized that the time we spent with her was just as important for her as it was for us.
Tell us about how you promote volunteerism and service in your community:
I feel fortunate that I am able to promote volunteerism and service as part of my work every day. As the Executive Director of Indiana Campus Compact, I work every day to live our mission and support “higher education’s efforts to develop students into well-informed, engaged citizens.” Every day, at Indiana Campus Compact, we have the opportunity to engage with students, faculty, staff and administrators across the state to help them partner with their communities in projects and programs that will challenge and educate students AND strengthen their communities and the lives of individuals of all ages who live, work, study and play in those communities.
Outside of work, I try to raise my children to understand the value of giving back to your community. I have already taken both of my kids (4 and 7 years old) to service projects where they can help in an age appropriate way. I don’t think anyone is ever too young (or too old) to volunteer. In the past year, we have volunteered together by packing meals, raising money by walking in a charity 5K, and making cookies for a local shelter.
What is a key challenge related to volunteerism?
I think that some of the biggest challenges are getting people started in volunteering. It is rare that someone participates in a volunteer activity and leaves saying that they would never do it again. Many people don’t think that they have enough time or the right skills to make a difference. The reality is that everyone has something to give – it is about taking the time to find the right place to volunteer and share your gifts.
Learn more about the Indiana Commission on Community Service and Volunteerism and read bios of Commissioners here