Today is a nationally recognized day of service, which means we all should be out there offering time to organizations in need of extra support.
Unfortunately, in the Cleveland area, the pickings are slim.
While there are volunteer database sites, which connect seeking individuals to organizations in need... the extend of the organizations utilizing this opportunity are few.
Those using volunteers either have too many applications or too little management to process these in a timely manner.
The dozen or so places I approached, one returned the call, and sadly that event was postponed because of a death in the host organizers family.
It is true that in order to understand how to implement a great volunteer program you have to both volunteer and assess those programs currently using volunteers.
My grade for the Cleveland area is a D.
While civic organizations certainly do exist and citizens do engage in these opportunities, the overall structure of the volunteer network in Cleveland is widely spread and under marketed.
An interested volunteer shouldn't have to search so hard, or they shouldn't have to be an active member of a church (for example) to find these opportunities.
Overall, I definitely see the need for greater capacity building in this area.
AmeriCorps is making a difference in this economic climate, because it not only encourages volunteerism but funds it.
With a ten percent unemployment rate, the potential to engage those ,who are out of work or underemployed, to share their time is tremendous. Not only do those involved in these efforts see the immediate benefit to their cause, but also the benefit to their resume and self-worth.
Hopefully, in the near future, the Cleveland area will start building its bank of events and volunteer members. Imagine what could be accomplished if this model was more widely used?
Now saying that, does anyone know of any volunteer events today that possibly I missed?