A Winning Situation
Volunteerism is a win-win situation. Volunteers donate time and talent for the benefit of charitable, educational, and other worthwhile endeavors, thereby making our communities better places in which to live. In turn, they reap the benefits of volunteer experiences. Benefits include the satisfaction that comes from being part of, and making a difference in, the community; meeting new people; learning new things and having fun in the process.
As one of The Patterson Foundation’s Age-Friendly Sarasota initiative consultants, I had the opportunity to attend the Neuro Challenge Foundation Parkinson’s Expo. Having recently celebrated National Volunteer Week, I was particularly aware of and interested in the impressive volunteer experience. Any event with 1,500 attendees, many experiencing mobility limitations, demands a well-organized and well-executed venue, staffed by numerous helping hands.
Having learned that more than 100 people volunteered to assist with the event, it was evident that every consideration was taken with regard to providing a safe, accessible, and comfortable experience for attendees. Among other ‘duties as assigned,” volunteers who were brightly clad in highly visible orange t-shirts:
- Staffed complimentary valet parking
- Assisted with a speedy and well-organized check-in process
- Distributed programs and swag bags
- Escorted attendees to seating areas
- Provided complimentary water and coffee throughout the event
- Offered respite in a visitors lounge sponsored by Pines of Sarasota
- Delivered boxed lunches to seated audience members enjoying a musical interlude. *Volunteers deftly navigated rows of seating and stadium steps to deliver 1,500 boxed lunches!
Volunteers were readily available to answer questions, provide direction and to lend support as needed. I was curious to find volunteers posted in the restroom corridor and learned they were there to ensure that attendees safely navigated those areas as well. I met volunteers who worked in health and finance sectors, volunteers who were new to the area and interested in meeting people, and a family volunteering together at the event, all of whom served with kindness, consideration and ever-present smiles. I look forward to being among them at next year’s event.
Are you interested in volunteer opportunities? Consider visiting The Giving Partner, a website dedicated to providing in-depth information and transparency into more than 600 nonprofits that serve Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. Take a look and see if one is the right match for you.