by Sandy Leske
Benjamin Franklin was onto something when he wrote the words, “Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves.” Within each of us is this innate desire to do something good for someone else. Whether it is helping mom or dad with yard work or volunteering with an organization, we each walk away (perhaps exhausted!) with a feeling of elation that we did something good for someone else. It feeds the soul; it feeds the heart; it feeds the mind and this feeling of happiness and satisfaction ripples out to those in and around our lives.
I’ve seen the great spirit of a volunteer both from being a volunteer myself and also from the perspective of the agency receiving the help. I’ve spent most of my career working in the non-profit world. From the early years working in higher education to most recently working as the Director of Mission Advancement, in Milwaukee, for Catholic Charities. In each of those roles my focus was fund development, donor relations and marketing. After five years of commuting to Milwaukee from my home in Sheboygan Falls, I am thrilled to have been asked to join the United Way of Sheboygan County as the Director of Community Development. Might I just say the seven minute commute I now have as opposed to the 77 minute commute I formerly had has already made me a happier human being. No more rush hour traffic; no more dreading the drive! In hindsight, I wish I had a volunteer all those years to drive me to and fro…well one can wish…right?
As many of you already know, United Way of Sheboygan County took the Volunteer Center under its wings in June. One of my main responsibilities will be to work with our Executive Director, Jon Doll, as well as the volunteer steering committee to complete the strategic plan for the Center. I am exceptionally energized about the ‘new’ Volunteer Center of Sheboygan County, which will increasingly become the necessary interface between volunteers and the many wonderful agencies who need your help. We can’t be all things to all people, but we can connect volunteers to the needs in the community. We can offer trainings to agencies as to how to effectively utilize volunteers and we can also offer trainings to for-profit executives and employees about weaving volunteerism into its corporate culture. Most of all we aim to be the vehicle through which good-hearted people can most definitely have a positive impact on our community.
There are plenty of changes on the way, one of which is pulling the current Volunteer Center of Sheboygan County website into the United Way of Sheboygan County’s amazingly cool new website www.uwofsc.org, but until then I would encourage everyone to take some time to head over to www.volunteersheboygan.com and peruse the hundreds of volunteer opportunities available in Sheboygan County. Truly, there is something for everyone- the individual, the family, the school group, the workplace team; from one-time/short-term opportunities to long-term needs that the 60 member agencies are so desperate to fill.
Give it a shot. Feed your soul. Free the spirit of a volunteer and just see the positive impact you not only have on others, but the irrefutable good you do for yourself too.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 458-3425.