J500 Media and the Environment

Volunteers sustain organizations by jenniferedw
July 26, 2009, 12:25 pm
Filed under: J840 Week 6, Justice + Outreach | Tags: , ,

After college I worked in a public relations position for a domestic violence shelter for about two years. I was somewhat familiar with homelessness due to my work there. I learned there that some women and children can become homeless due to domestic violence. And in my position I was able to share with others how organizations like the one I worked for helped make a difference.

The LCS volunteer I interviewed has inspired me to make a bigger impact.

The LCS volunteer I interviewed has inspired me to make a bigger impact. Source: move.org.sg

Even with that background, I learned many things about homelessness from our class. Dr. Mark Holter, associate professor in the school of social welfare at KU, helped open my eyes to the fact that homelessness is a relatively new concept — I had never considered the historical context before.

When our group visited Lawrence Community Shelter, we saw first-hand how volunteers help keep the shelter alive — and I would say that was the key thing that will stick with me the most in the future.

I knew previously that volunteers provide a huge boost to organizations. However I never really considered why volunteers keep coming back to organizations and how they stay so committed. After talking with Bob, a key shelter volunteer, for our final project, I learned how volunteering can impact not only the organization, but also the volunteer. I was truly inspired by Bob’s story and the impact the organization has made in his life. He helps sustain the shelter and the shelter helps sustain him. His work helps me tie back to the sustainability themes we discussed throughout class.

Since my interview with Bob I’ve spent time considering what I can do to make a bigger impact. I’ve been thinking about going back to the domestic violence shelter where I previously worked to spend time as a volunteer. I hope I can provide them with even just a portion of what Bob does for LCS.

-Jennifer E.


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