Having moved around more than a couple times in the last few years, I have learned that it can be really hard to make new friends in new places. I moved to Seattle six months ago after spending two years as a national community service member in two different AmeriCorps programs. As a national service member in a structured service program, I was surrounded by dozens of people with similar interests – a love of service, making new friends, and trying new things. I found that I really appreciated this group of people who, over time, have become some of my closest friends, even giving me a place to crash for a few months when I first landed in Seattle.
So with that said, I knew that I wanted to find another community service-oriented organization in Seattle. With a little Googling, I found The World Is Fun – TWIF – and started on my new adventure as a Volunteer Sherpa, helping to lead volunteers at events the way that Sherpas welcome and guide travelers. Through this experience I have met new people, built up my resume, worked with many different non-profit partners and was supported in the process. So if you have been looking for an organization to get involved with, here are four reasons to hit the ground running with a great charitable social club like TWIF:
1. Meeting new people and making new friends. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people who have some common interests. I love volunteering at gardens and farms with local non-profits and I always meet other people who are really into local food efforts. Do you like working with kids or animals? Or maybe you like wine and would love to volunteer at a wine tasting event. If you find an event that interests you, there is a good chance you will meet other people who share that same interest.
2. Professional Development. Volunteering is a great way to strengthen the community and your resume in one fell swoop. Want to learn more about painting and construction? Get involved with a home-building program. If you are interested in event planning, there are always organizations who would love to have additional resources to utilize. If you can think of a skill that you want to learn or just want to keep developing a skill you already have, there is a way for you to help out.
3. Networking. Being a great volunteer goes a long way and volunteering with any non-profit is a great way to get your foot in the door. TWIF has dozens of community partners and with a great attitude and a passion for giving to the community, a volunteer coordinator can take notice of your hard work and might remember you when new positions open up.
4. Having a support system. TWIF has a huge team of volunteer staff that work together to carry out our mission. Someone is always around when a question comes up. So if you are worried because you have never supported volunteers at an event, there is a whole team of people who want to help you learn how to do your best.
-Erica Ratner, TWIF Sherpa