Last October, after moving for the first time into the KC metro area, I was looking for opportunities to volunteer for a nonprofit dedicated to its immediate community. Not only did I want to help out in a meaningful way, I also wanted to learn more about careers in the nonprofit sector and learn some skills. I'm glad I stumbled on CHWC, because my experience as a volunteer intern has allowed me to do all of these things and learn a lot more than I expected to.
Originally, I signed on to interview clients and write for CHWC's blog and assist with content creation for social media, a role that fit my background in language arts education and my previous work in the nonprofit sector. While some of my favorite work has been around telling client success stories and seeing the personal impact CHWC has on peoples’ lives, my time here so far has offered me an excellent variety in the kinds of tasks I’ve been asked to do. I’ve designed new graphics and flyers that reinforce the organization’s underlying core values and mission, spoken to prospective youth volunteers about why and how to get involved with the organization, helped clean up around CHWC-owned Splitlog Farm, and made Valentine’s Day cards for local seniors. I always go into my day of volunteering knowing that I’m going to learn something new, and more often than not, meet someone inspiring.
Volunteering at CHWC has helped me learn a slew of new skills this year as I’ve assisted with creating eye-catching and relevant social media content, engaging with followers, and honed my writing ability. I’ve also been able to attend at least one training through CHWC on nonprofit marketing and social media, which enabled me to give more and better work back to this organization and develop my own knowledge and skills further. Learning is one of my driving motivators, and my time here has also enabled me to grow in my awareness of community development, the importance of affordable housing, home maintenance, building good credit, and even how to find affordable tax filing assistance!
My time as a volunteer intern here has not just taught me concrete skills, but it’s also granted me the opportunity to know the community on a deeper level, which has in turn helped to grow my passion for community development and engagement. It’s shown me there are so many ways to get involved locally. Since I’ve begun exploring the nonprofit world, I’ve come to realize that partnerships in the community are essential to bring positive change to life. Working with CHWC staff has encouraged me to keep pursuing my own goals around building stronger communities through investment in specific community programming, and has helped me learn some of the skills needed to do that.
If you’re passionate about making a better world for everyone but don’t know how to help, check out your local nonprofits to see if there’s a way for you to plug in. From what I’ve learned, your experiences volunteering may be as valuable to you as they are to the organization you’re serving.