Building community through volunteering

Tammy Y. Allen, Director, Marketing & Programs, The NIIC

I recently had the pleasure of getting out of my element, literally and figuratively – and it was phenomenal. Enter Women Build 2018. Dedicated teams of women convene to help Habitat for Humanity families build strength, stability, and independence through homeownership. This can take several forms, like fundraising, advocacy, and physically helping to build houses on behalf of hardworking families seeking affordable homeownership through Habitat.

This is one of many worthy opportunities to volunteer in our community. If you feel called to make a difference somehow, here are four tips to ensure meaningful and productive experiences:

  1. Align with your heart’s passion. Do you like to work with children? Senior citizens? Animals? Whatever speaks to your soul is likely the right opportunity for you and the benefiting organization.
  2. Leverage your strengths. We each have gifts we can use to add value to our community. Do you like to plan events? How about cooking? Fundraising? Photography? Social Media? Are you great with numbers? Whatever your skillset, there’s an organization that needs you!
  3. Pursue areas of growth. While pursuing strengths can set you up for success, sometimes exploring unknown areas opens your eyes to growth.
  4. Above all, have fun! Even if the work is challenging, look for that the silver lining. How can you make it fun? Get to know your fellow volunteers. Remember, you’re in this together!

Fortunately, I work at a place that values community engagement—thanks, NIIC! How are you serving your community? If you don’t currently give back, what can you do to change that? “Go change your world!”


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