What Do I Have To Offer?
Publisher’s note: Jon Tankersley wrote several pieces for the Pacer over the years. While searching through our archives I came across this piece from Jon published February 2, 2009. While reading it I couldn’t help but hear his voice. The Jon I knew always put his heart and soul into everything he did, and loved his community deeply. I wanted to share these words he wrote, to let you what kind of man he was. Kind. Caring. Smart. Funny. Committed. Rest in peace Jon. You will be missed.
Many organizations and cities have a need for people to assist with the everyday activities of their service. They need volunteers. Volunteering is one of the activities that have run the United States throughout its existence. Even in colonial times, the residents of this country voluntarily helped each other to construct each other’s homes, barns, and anything else that was necessary to survive the hardships that they encountered. Volunteerism has not diminished over the centuries. We still need you. However, there are several things we need to consider if we decide to volunteer our services. I have listed several of these things below.
1. Research the causes or issues important to you. Look for a group that works with issues about which you feel strongly. If you can’t find a cause that is in existence, start one yourself.
2. Consider the skills you have to offer. If you enjoy outdoor work, have a knack for teaching, or just enjoy interacting with people, you may want to look for volunteer work that would incorporate these aspects of your personality.
3. Would you like to learn something new? You may want to learn a new skill or gain exposure to a new situation. Sometimes these new skills may lead to a better paying job.
4. Combine your goals. Look for volunteer opportunities that will also help you achieve your other goals in life.
5. Don’t over-commit your schedule. Make sure the volunteer hours you give fit into your hectic life, so that you don’t frustrate your family, exhaust yourself, shortchange the organization you're trying to help or neglect your job.
6. Nonprofits may have questions, too. While most nonprofits are eager to find volunteer help, they have to be careful when accepting your services and require a background check and/or have you fill out an application or interview you.
7. Consider volunteering as a family. Volunteering as a family sometimes can bring a family closer together and be enjoyable to all its members.
8. Virtual volunteering. If you have computer access and the necessary skills, some organizations now offer the opportunity to do volunteer work with a computer.
9. I never thought of that. Many community groups are looking for volunteers. Contact your chamber of commerce or your city manager/city council. There are a myriad of things that need to be done that you may never have thought of a need for.
10. Give voice to your heart through your giving and volunteering. Bring you heart and your sense of humor to your volunteer service, along with your enthusiastic spirit. The returns are immeasurable.
Jon Tankersley, City of Newcastle