Volunteering & Giving Back

I’ve always had a desire to help others and give back to those in need. I feel like there are many of us out there that want to help but often don’t know where to start. Today through this blog post I intend to enlighten you through my experiences.

One of the first major volunteer projects I was involved with is Dress for Success. This was initially a project through a class turned into a passion. It was/is a great organization whose primary focus is to help women build the skills, and attire to compete in the work force. I found great pleasure in outfitting women for job interviews, the office is in St. Paul. I remember a letter the office received from a woman I had helped get a whole week’s wardrobe talk about how great the experience was and how I had given her confidence and made her feel beautiful.

My current volunteer endeavor was an effort that sparked from an Employee Resource Group at my current employer. We’ve built groups to build relationships, appreciation, knowledge, influencing change, and helping the community in outreach efforts. I am apart of our PRIDE committee and through this group I was able to connected to the Quatrefoil Library. I am an acting board member for the library we recently launched a Scholarship that many of the people reading this blog could be eligible for, and if not at least spread the word to others. We are currently trying to build the Young Adult Collection as well as appeal to a younger audience. The Library is warm place for LGBTQ community members and allies to foster knowledge through the various forms of media available in the space located in Minneapolis.

In relation to linking these two organizations together; they both also aim to help the community they service. I was unaware of both initiatives before I was introduced to them through either my work or school. I learned that many companies offer employees Volunteer Time Off (VTO) to go out in the community during a normal work shift and give back. You are still paid to go volunteer your time; it gives you a feel-good moment as well as looks good for the company. This time is often wasted, which is unfortunate because it could be taken advantage of and can contribute to making many changes in people’s lives. I would like to encourage readers to check out the VTO policies available to you, if that’s not the case even looking into one time a year or month events could influence and enhance the good Samaritan in ourselves.

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