Volunteering in the community – where to start?

By: Pete Parker Email
By: Pete Parker Email

There are countless benefits associated with community volunteerism. From improving one’s health to learning new skills to helping organizations grow, the impact of “giving back” or “making a difference” can have is significant.

There’s one dilemma, however, how does someone start volunteering and where does he/she go for direction? Nevada’s very low rate (ranked 50th in the US) of 20.6% volunteerism needs considerable improvement. When compared to the national average (26.8%) or even our next door neighbors (California 24.6%, Oregon 33.9%, Idaho 35.7%, Utah 45.4%, and Arizona 24.8%), Northern Nevadans provide far less voluntary support to our local communities. The time is now to roll up our sleeves and lend our hands, passions, and ideas to local charitable efforts.

For many, taking the first step is very difficult. Determining which organization to select, how to approach it, how much time to offer and in what capacity, and when to make the initial contact…can be stressful, uneasy, intimidating and, to a degree, frightening.

Northern Nevada has lacked resources to identify volunteers, link them with organizations, train for easy adjustments, and provide mentoring services. Recent opportunities are starting to meet our community needs. For starters, those looking to volunteer can simply refer to the KOLO Cares (www.kolotv.com/community) website for information about local non-profit organizations or to www.NPcatalyst.com for detailed information about local organizations and their needs.

The most difficult part of volunteering is taking the initial step. Once you get past that fear, your involvement in the community can (and should) be an incredible experience!

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