I am so fortunate in my role as volunteer manager to meet so many different interesting people who come to us wanting to help by volunteering. Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes and bring a magnificent array of talents to the Friendship Centers.
What a feeling of satisfaction when I am able to find the “perfect” job for a candidate. By perfect, I mean one where the volunteer will feel he/she is contributing in a meaningful way to our wonderful organization and we have a need for that position to be filled. These are the type placements that volunteer managers dream about.
The life stories I hear are amazing. Part of a successful volunteer program is creativity and flexibility. After a lifetime career it is sometimes difficult to place a retired CEO or business owner in the best volunteer role. This is where “creative engagement” comes in to play. What this means is creating a new job for that specially talented person and having a flexible staff to work with both the volunteer and me.
Recently, a gentleman came into my office and wanted to volunteer. He had been head of a large corporation and developed branches all over the world. His life was rich with experiences. Any organization would have loved to have him on their team. As he spoke of his career, he told me a story about being in charge of over 5000 employees and what his job had involved.
As I listened, I realized that” creative engagement” would be a challenge in placing him. I continued to listen to his life story. He spoke fondly of his career and his rise to the top. He obviously loved the corporation and people he oversaw. Then a sadness , fell over his face, his eyes misted and he ended his story by saying how important it is to be fair and kind to people because “one day you will no longer be the big dog,...just the old dog”.
Volunteers here at Friendship Centers are essential to our operation. Each position is equally important to our mission of ‘‘promoting health, dignity and the quality of life throughout the journey of aging” Your talents can be so helpful to us, no matter what your age or background. I can promise you will feel needed when you join our dedicated volunteer corps.
About Caroline Allen
Caroline Allen is Manager of Volunteer Development at the Friendship Centers in Sarasota. To find out how you can get more involved as a volunteer, please contact Caroline directly. Getting involved as a volunteer is just a phone call away, 941.556.3249.
Illustration Credit: © kentoh - Fotolia.com