The countdown has begun. Starting next week, I will be volunteering at the Rand Community Center from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Along with monitoring the computer lab, I will offer basic training in word processing programs, email, blogging and social networking programs.
Volunteering for community or association projects is something I catch myself doing quite often. Whether it is because I am female or Pisces, helping others learn and grow personally and professionally makes me feel great. What I will be giving the Community Center is my time. What I get in return is difficult to measure. It is satisfaction.
Being a volunteer does not pay cash. When you do things for the simple purpose of helping others the ROI can be multi-fold. Working with individuals not only helps them build skills, it helps the volunteer sharpen her own. Teaching someone a new talent exercises your patience and communication skills.
There is something to be said about “being there.” I suspect for the first several nights the computer lab will be quiet. The Community Center has struggled to bring young people in. They have a senior program and an after-school program, but little involvement of those in the 20-30 year age range. Perhaps the press releases and notices we will have out will entice a few people, who will tell a few more, and so on. In time it may be possible to poll the community to see what programs they would like to have offered.
If in the process of spending a few hours in the computer lab I can help the Community Center build programs that serve the neighborhood, all the better.