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Create The Good: Have You Volunteered Lately?

Posted on March 28, 2018 | by Linda Gould
Create The Good: Have You Volunteered Lately?

Did you just move to Sarasota? Have you lived here all your life? Somewhere in the middle? Do you volunteer in your community … where? Does your organization need volunteers?

The Patterson Foundation hosted a community luncheon for people to connect, learn about, and share an online volunteering tool that connects you as the volunteer  with you as the organization looking for volunteers.

This local learning opportunity tapped into a webinar presented by AARP FL featuring a demonstration of AARP’s CreateTheGood.org – an online volunteer platform. Organizations that participated in the event included the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity, Friendship Centers, ITN Suncoast, JFCS of the Suncoast, Lighthouse of Manasota, Pines of Sarasota Rehabilitation and Senior Care Community, Sixteen Hands Horse Sanctuary, SunCoast Blood Bank, Taoist Tai Chi Society, and The Patterson Foundation. Attendees were enthusiastic about connecting with each other, learning new and proven ways to recruit volunteers, and sharing that information with their own organizations as well as each other.

After the informative CreatetheGood.org demonstration, attendees shared several other online volunteering platforms including VolunteerMatch.org, Idealist.org, and Volunteer.gov. Take some time and check them out; see which one fits you best!

During the luncheon, new connections were forged. One possibility explored by ITN Suncoast and the SunCoast Blood Bank focused on volunteer drivers. The idea: SunCoast Blood Bank would share its database of volunteer drivers who are looking for more opportunities with ITN Suncoast, another organization that is looking for more drivers to provide low-cost rides to people with visual impairments or adults 60+.

Currently, the Pines of Sarasota uses CreateTheGood.org and is very successful in finding volunteers for various events and activities. They shared some excellent tips on how organizations can attract volunteers of all ages.

Traditional ways of recruiting volunteers are not reaching the mainstream of our community. On the flip side, there are hundreds of individuals in Sarasota that are looking for ways to get involved, give back, share their knowledge or try something new. High school students are looking for a variety of ways to participate in community service, whether for personal growth or perhaps to earn community service hours that can enhance their opportunities for scholarships and higher education. Many of us arrived in Sarasota retiring from a career, but not yet ready to retire altogether.

Why not lead our community to a “one-stop shop” where we can go and find all the volunteer opportunities currently available? When I moved home to Sarasota seven years ago, I stumbled onto opportunities or got information from friends on what to seek out. I wish I could have gone online and found all the volunteer possibilities for my zip code. I did eventually find volunteer opportunities and ended up volunteering with the American Red Cross, U.S. Masters Swimming, and the Military Officers Association of America – Sarasota Chapter. Volunteering helped me learn my new community and find other opportunities to engage in as well.

What better way than to share your life experiences, your skills, and your passions with those around you by volunteering with organizations that fit your strengths and interests. Volunteering is a great way to get involved in our community and connect with those around us. You may not realize it if you don’t put yourself out there, but each of us has something to give and share to enhance the lives of everyone in our region.


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