This month we are recognizing technical writer Russ Guill. Here’s what he told us when we asked about his volunteer experiences.
Why do you volunteer?
I think it’s a responsibility that’s been given to me and to others who have the means (e.g., time, money, motivation) to give back to the community. I think we tend to overlook how much nonprofits impact our community. If we didn’t have them the world would look quite different, and not for the better. I feel it’s incumbent on us to make sure that we’re doing all we can to positively impact our community.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering? A favorite memory?
For me it’s twofold: I like getting outside of my regular routine, but I also appreciate the perspective I gain by helping others. I know it’s through the efforts of volunteers from past generations that have gotten us to where we are today. Now it’s time for me to do the same for future generations.
One of my favorite memories is from November 2011. A group from the office was going to help the Salvation Army distribute food for Thanksgiving meals to families in need. However, the Salvation Army was low on food and was at risk of running out. Amanda (our volunteer coordinator) spread the word around the office about the need. Employees, friends, and family all stepped up and gave a good amount of money to buy more food. With those donations we were able to go on a shopping spree to help make up for the food shortfall. After we finished shopping we made a big delivery to the Salvation Army distribution center and helped hand it out.
Here’s a video that documents the outing.
How has your volunteer experience impacted your workplace?
Aside from simply providing a change of pace, it gives me a different (and fun) opportunity to hang out with my coworkers. At the office we’re usually heads-down on projects so getting out and working alongside each other provides opportunities for conversation that don’t normally happen during the workday.
What have you learned while volunteering?
I’ve learned quite a bit about patience. By nature I’m not a patient person. I expect quite a bit from others and even more from myself. I don’t like standing still; I always have to be working towards a goal. I get anxious if I feel my actions aren’t moving me closer to my goal. But through volunteering I’ve learned to slow down, step back, and see the bigger picture.
Do you have any advice for other volunteers or people who want to get involved?
Don’t ever let yourself think you can’t make a difference. The need for volunteers is always there. Maybe you don’t think you have a skill, but when you get involved you’ll find that you do. Then all you have to do is put that skill to use, and you’ll learn more about yourself along the way.