This year the Greek Week Council sponsored a new service event to collect items of need for Story County organizations. The Volunteer Center of Story County would like to thank the Greek Week Council and the Greek community for providing donated items to local nonprofits as a part of Greek Week 2015. A total of 50 Greek organizations participated to bring in an entire trailer full of items, including clothing, shoes, food, hygiene products, crafts and general office supplies to give away to 24 local nonprofits. All of the participating agencies were impressed with the Greek volunteers’ enthusiasm and with the abundance of donations.
Greek Week is a week-long celebration of the Greek community that focuses on the community’s four pillars of scholarship, leadership, friendship, and philanthropy and service. By collecting these items, the Greek community shows their dedication to philanthropy. But, not only does this event provide one-time support, it creates connections between local nonprofits and the Greek community that cultivate ongoing service, leadership and advocacy relationships. These relational connections are foundational in expanding the impact and resources of agencies serving in the county.
We thank the Greek community for their willingness to serve and support the missions of agencies throughout Story County, and we look forward to partnering to extend this event in future years!
It’s time to make those pesky New Year resolutions! Everyone moves into the new year with a fresh bout of passion and excitement to keep their resolution, and then, as the winter months continue to drag on, they take all that energy with them. Just like the comic, keeping those resolution can cause more stress than they seem worth! So, then, how can you make a resolution that is not only achievable but also makes a positive impact?
Health.com recently published an article on the ten healthiest and most beneficial resolutions you can make. Resolving to VOLUNTEER more made that list; check it out here: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20452233_7,00.html
Volunteering more can be an achievable goal when you look at the different types of volunteering activities: Ongoing, One-Time, and Skill Based. By picking the volunteer opportunities that match best with your needs and schedule, you will be well on your way to achieve your New Year’s resolution!
Volunteering has been proven to increase both health and happiness. Not only does it provide you with health benefits, volunteering can also have a positive impact on your professional activities. By using your professional skills to help non-profit agencies through skill-based or leadership volunteer opportunities, you provide a necessary community service while adding to your own resume.
Making volunteering more your resolution and you will have a resolution that benefits not only you, but also your community!
Please contact the Volunteer Center of Story County at vcstory.org or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about local volunteer opportunities! Let us help you keep this year’s resolution to volunteer!
As the year wraps up, we want to take a moment to express our appreciation for all the volunteers throughout Story County. It is only through your dedication and service that the Volunteer Center and all our partner agencies are able to accomplish such amazing work and meet our missions! The 2014 Volunteer Impact Report gives just a brief illustration of the impact volunteers have made throughout Story County this past year.
We would like to specifically take a moment to thank all the volunteers who regularly donate their time to our organization, including all our dedicated Board members, interns, and committee members. The Volunteer Center would not have seen its successes this year without all your support and hard work.
As the VCSC moves into a new year, we hope to continue recognizing volunteers through our newsletter, website, Wall of Fame, Volunteer In Action Award, and the Youth Volunteer Awards. Keep an eye on our website to see the monthly Volunteer In Action Award winner. Check out just a few of the volunteers who gave back this year with the pictures below!
Again, thank you to all the volunteers whose dedication helps keep Story County such a great place to live!
Hannah joined VCSC July of 2013 as an AmeriCorp Vista. When her term of service ended, she stayed on as the Volunteer Engagement Coordinator. While at VCSC, Hannah laid the foundation for many programs, including:
- SCVC (Story County Volunteer Coordinators)
- the upcoming Service Learning Club in Collins-Maxwell
In addition to laying a strong foundation for new programs, she coordinated all the Day of Service projects, while also managing office communications through the bimonthly newsletter, website and blog. This coming month, she will continue to volunteer her time in order to complete her final Day of Service – Winter Weatherization. It is this energy and passion for volunteerism that will make her a greatly missed presence in the office!
We will miss you Hannah! We wish you all the luck as you work towards your Master’s in Community and Regional Planning and Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University!
August 8th was the last day for our AmeriCorps VISTA School Garden Coordinators, Rebekka Brown and Carol Parks. They were the third generation of AmeriCorps VISTAs working on the Ames School Garden Project. Each focused on a garden at a local elementary school while working together to support other school gardens in the district and advocating for environmental stewardship in Ames.
Over their year these VISTAs have done a variety of projects and events to work towards their goal of ensuring the sustainability of gardens after they leave and as school renovations physically move the gardens. The VISTAs have:
- supervised Garden Clubs for elementary students
- managed volunteers on garden work days
- assisted students to run a Farmer’s Market
- completed a waste-sort and composting project
- assisted teachers with classroom activities related to the garden
They also recruited teachers and community members to work together to ensure the sustainability of the gardens for years to come. Ames Community School District is working on renovating the schools. Kate Mitchell Elementary, which had a garden for three years, is in the process of moving the garden. This is giving the new garden committee a year to plan and set their goals.
Rebekka and Carol through a good-bye and garden celebration potluck on August 8th. They presented memory boxes and helpful materials such as a garden manual to the new groups who will be taking care of the gardens. Community members, teachers and partners turned out to celebrate the garden projects and looks towards the future.
Rebekka will start graduate school at Iowa State to study Sustainable Environments in the College of Design. Carol and her husband are moving to Florida and then Brazil to be closer to her family.
We will miss you Garden Girls! Good luck on your next adventures!
The mission of the Volunteer Center is to inspire, educate and mobilize volunteers to address community needs. A big part of what we do is connect volunteers to volunteer needs in the community. This requires constant communication with our partner agencies. There aren’t many opportunities for professional development in the volunteer management field, so the Volunteer Center decided to create some.
For non-profit agencies good volunteer management is just as important as good employee management. Unhappy volunteers can lead to a bad reputation for an agency. Good volunteer management creates an effective volunteer force that can make a huge difference in our community. For how important volunteer management is, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for professional development. Even graduate programs in Non-Profit Administration typically don’t offer instruction in this field.
In June 2013 the Volunteer Center provided a two day volunteer management workshop. Twenty one people from 16 agencies gathered in Ames for to lean about planning a volunteer program to evaluating a volunteer program and everything in between. At the end of the program the participants said that they had a good experience and wanted more opportunities for professional development.
Our AmeriCorps VISTA member put together DOVIA (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies) of Story County beginning in September 2013. Volunteer Coordinators attend monthly meetings discussing various topics related to their field. Some of the topics were: program evaluation, risk management, how to work with service learners, volunteer recognition and a meeting with a City Councilman.
In June 2014 the group decided to change their name to Story County Volunteer Coordinator Coalition (SCVCC- pronounced civic) and to join Story County Quality of Life Alliance. By joining this alliance volunteer coordinators will have the opportunity to work with a variety of community groups to figure out how to most effectively use volunteers to promote the quality of life in Story County.
Anybody who works with volunteers is welcome to attend the meetings. By collaborating with volunteer coordinators we hope to improve the volunteer experience for people across Story County.