Volunteering doesn't stretch you thinner--it makes your life fuller.
Thursday, August 17, 2000
I''m not just talking about that warm and fuzzy feeling you get from helping others, although I am told that is a likely side effect. Volunteering can also help you gain valuable resume building experience, and the chance to get real world training in your field of study. Not to mention give a boost to your social life.
"The opportunities are limited only by your imagination," says Tish Sammon, volunteer coordinator for the city of Monterey (646-3719). Sammon adds, "There''s always a place for volunteers, whether it''s a one-time event, like Make a Difference Day or First Night Monterey, or a longer commitment."
And, if students don''t find what they''re looking for, Sammon says the city can help create a volunteer opportunity that matches their needs. "If someone comes forward with an interest in developing a program, we can help them succeed," she says.
Monterey has several opportunities. Access Monterey Peninsula (AMP) volunteers help produce television programming for the Monterey Peninsula''s local access channel. "We definitely have looked to tap into the college-age resource to get that energy and enthusiasm from people who are looking for creative ways to use what they''re learning," said Krista Lemos, city of Monterey community education and outreach coordinator.
If you don''t have anything specific in mind, the Volunteer Center of Monterey County (655-9234) can help. Interviewers talk to prospective volunteers and place them in organizations that best suit their interests and time schedules.
If you''re interested in working with children, Homework Pals, offered through the Monterey Library, is an "awesome place to volunteer one afternoon a week and make a difference in the life of a young person," according to Sammon. Volunteers for the Monterey Museum of Art (372-5477) participate in an outreach program called Museum on Wheels, in which they drive to area schools in a truck stocked with an international folk art collection. Artistic types can also help the Sally Griffin Senior Center (375-4454) promote and coordinate monthly art exhibits. And if literature''s your thing, check out the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas (796-3833).
Computer whiz? Many local organizations benefit from volunteers'' technical skills. Karen Neely, volunteer coordinator for Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Carmel (624-8464), has worked with several students from CSUMB''s technology program. "One student recreated our entire Website about a year ago," she says. Redwings also relies on volunteers to give tours to the public and to help with the care, grooming, and vaccination of close to 80 horses.
Sammon says she knows of one MIIS student who turned his volunteer position working on a Website for the city of Monterey into a paid summer internship, and has used that experience to start his own business as a Website consultant.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your dayplanner and block out a little volunteer time. Your resume, your community, and your conscience will love you for it.