I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for winter to be over. I’m done with the rain, I’m over the cold, and I’m ready for sun. I’m tempted to get drawn into pictures of beach vacations and want to buy sundresses. I’m ready for those volunteer work days on local farms and for the farmer’s market to open. I’m ready for vegetables.
But it’s not spring, and we, like so many other non-profits in our area, have some hard work ahead of us. It’s still winter, and we’re spending the coming weeks trying to figure out how to best serve our community on a reduced budget in a tough time.
This has led to some very compelling conversations around here; it’s important in these moments to know what you stand for and why, what’s important about what you do and why, and what’s absolutely needed and necessary.
We’re being told time and again that we’re going to have to do more with less. If we’re honest with ourselves we’ll say that we just can’t do more. It’s not going to happen. We’re not miracle workers here, we’re people, and that base of really tall mountains.
And so where does this leave us? It leaves us answering some important questions:
Why is service important? Why do folks volunteer? What’s important about that service?
Well, I know that the reason why I volunteer is because I live here, and I want the place I live and raise my teenager to be a place I want to be. I don’t want my neighbors to be cold and hungry, I don’t want them to struggle needlessly, and I want there to be support for folks who run into unexpected crises.
I also know that the reason we should volunteer is because they live here. There’s a difference between living here – being a citizen of Centralia, Roy, or Tumwater—and paying rent or marking time. There’s a difference between being a citizen and taking up space. We can’t avoid having an effect on one another; we share streets, buildings, government agencies, the local park – service is one way to make those shared spaces what we need them to be.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be reaching out to many of you to find out what you feel is most important about the work of the Volunteer Center, but we also urge you take a look at your contributions to your local community and ask yourself this: do you have more work to do, seeds to plant, rows to hoe, in order to get ready for spring? Let’s do that together.
P.S.: Speaking of springtime! Save the Date: April 29th, 2011 for the Voluntonies Award Show. We’ll be celebrating the future of service, and you won’t want to miss it!