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Volunteerism at SCARC: How You Can Get Involved!
Volunteerism at SCARC: How You Can Get Involved!
Volunteers play an integral role in nearly every facet of our organization. Along with our dedicated staff and generous donors, our volunteers are indispensable, and their energy and dedication know no bounds. SCARC invites volunteers to become involved in myriad ways, from holding leadership roles and assisting with fundraising to spending time with the individuals we serve and performing one-time or annual service projects.
We work hard to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities to organizations, individuals, and groups who are interested in supporting SCARC and the individuals we serve. If you’d like to make a difference, there are many ways for you to become involved, whether you’re a young person, a working professional, or a senior retiree. We even have opportunities for families with children as well as large groups.
What Type of Volunteer Are You?
To determine what type of volunteer opportunity might work best for you, consider the following questions:
- How much time do I have? Are you looking to become involved on an ongoing basis or would you prefer to take part in a one-time activity?
If you’re limited to a single day, there are plenty of fundraisers you can participate in or support as a volunteer. In addition, there are service projects you may be able to complete in a short amount of time. If you have more time, you might consider a long-term commitment.
- What are my capabilities (and the capabilities of my group)?
Do you have a special skill that you might be willing to share with the individuals we serve? Are there are any limitations we should be aware of? (Such as, perhaps, the fact that your family or group includes younger children.) Please share this information with us so we can help to identify the right opportunity for you.
- Do you have a new project or idea in mind, or would you prefer to take part in an existing volunteer opportunity?
We welcome individuals and groups who have a new, novel idea for supporting our organization, such as knitting blankets for the individuals we serve. At the same time, we have plenty of built-in ways to volunteer as well! More on that below.
Our Volunteer Opportunities
We have a number of volunteer functions that offer a wide variety of opportunities to contribute to SCARC. Read on to learn more about the many ways you can get involved!
These dedicated community members serve on boards for each of our five corporations. Serving as a board trustee is a big commitment and requires leadership, fundraising, organizational, and other professional skills. In addition to skilled professionals, we also encourage parents and caregivers of individuals with special needs to join our boards. No one has more specialized expertise than these caregivers and we are deeply appreciative of the unique insights, powerful commitment, and boundless energy that they bring to the boardroom table.
Fundraising Event Volunteers
As a nonprofit organization, we rely on community fundraising events to support many aspects of our organization. We welcome individuals from all walks of life, but especially those with event planning and fundraising experience, to assist in both the planning and execution of various events. These include our annual golf outing, walkathon, benefit concert, and more. If you’d like to assist, you might consider joining a planning committee. Or, if you’re short on time, you could volunteer the day of the event to assist with logistics, setup, breakdown, and other activities.
Special Olympics Coaching and Support
Here at SCARC, we take tremendous pride in our athletes, all of whom train incredibly hard and serve as an inspiration to us all. Our athletes couldn’t compete, however, without the generosity and ongoing commitment of our Special Olympics coaches, who are comprised of volunteers and SCARC staff members. Our coaches work with our athletes for many months out of the year and sometimes year-round, patiently providing support and encouragement. In addition to coaches, we also need volunteers to provide support and assistance to our athletes during the Special Olympics themselves.
Assisting at one of our programs is a great opportunity for volunteers who would like to spend time directly with the individuals we serve, either on a regular or one-time basis. Many of our volunteers visit day-habilitation programs, where they read books, play music, sing songs, or help during outings and activities to support individuals who participate in our programs. We also encourage volunteers who would like to assist us by leading a Bible study or helping the individuals we serve learn a new skill, such as typing or knitting.
Seasonal and Annual Project Volunteers
Community agencies and corporations such as Pass It Along, UPS, and Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance provide volunteers who assist with various assignments such as completing spring and fall property cleanups at our group homes, planting flowers, and maintaining an on-site vegetable garden. If your group would like to participate in a similar opportunity, please contact us and we will be happy to find a way to host your group!
In most cases, we require our volunteers to be at least 18 or older (unless they are affiliated with Pass It Along). However, more and more, we see families looking for ways to volunteer together, a movement we applaud. If you’d like to support SCARC with your family, we welcome your ideas! You might make cheerful cards or color pictures for the residents, plant a tree at one of our community centers, or collect canned goods and other nonperishables for our food pantry. You can also attend our family-friendly annual walkathon! Have another idea? Let us know!
Our volunteers truly serve as the backbone of our organization, and everyone—from our staff to the individuals we serve to our volunteers themselves–benefits from their efforts. Those who are interested in the rewarding experience of volunteering are encouraged to contact Mary Jo Smith, SHRM-SCP, our chief human resources officer, at [email protected]. Please note that in most cases, we must meet with you prior to you volunteering, especially if you are interested in directly interacting with the individuals we serve. So, get in touch—we can’t wait to meet you!