Letters and Opinion and Philanthropy

Volunteers want meaningful work

May 11, 2009
I appreciated the variety in your piece on volunteerism (April 27: “Jobless fill lull by volunteering”) and the volunteer programs at Indy Reads, IRIS, Damar Services and Second Helpings.

As the article pointed out, there are many factors involved in the decision to volunteer in the community—including time commitment, the opportunities for building social networks, the skill set needed for the volunteer position, and of course the mission of the organization.

Every volunteer is looking for a meaningful experience and every volunteer’s definition of “meaningful” is different. A good volunteer manager will seek to place a volunteer with a role that is a good fit for him or her. Indy Reads offers a variety of volunteer positions to meet the different levels of commitment and skills that our volunteers can provide.

It is important to note that not everyone has to make volunteering a “full-time” job. If someone only has a few hours a month to give, they can still make an impact. A volunteer for Indy Reads who has a passion for reading and teaching could choose to take our training to become a literacy tutor and volunteer regularly, or he or she could choose to volunteer more periodically as a reading coach, interviewer or Indy Reads ambassador.

When looking for a way to give back to your community, finding the right fit is essential. I encourage everyone to attend at least one volunteer orientation or information session this year to learn more about ways to serve Indianapolis and to find that volunteer role that is just right for you.

Kindra Hunckler
Manager of volunteers, Indy Reads
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