Every once in a while, I hear about a trip to some Caribbean island where kids my age are working in an orphanage for a week. Or I see a picture of a group of well-dressed American girls helping in a small foreign village for the summer. While volunteer trips are well-intentioned and I was planning on going on one myself this summer, this culture of going abroad to volunteer makes it seem like that’s the only way to help. Being at home especially in the last few troubling months has helped me to reaffirm that though there are countless opportunities abroad, there are just as many causes to support at home.
This summer I’m working with the The Community Fund of Darien (TCF), a pillar of my small hometown. I knew this was somewhere I wanted to volunteer because it is a hands-on, evolving organization that permeates into each Darienites life in one way or another. I agreed to help design a volunteer match center or personal concierge service for this community. There are both organizations who need help and individuals who want to volunteer.
I hope that I can be a part of TCF’s community and reach the people in my town. I would hope that my contributions have a lasting impact on my town and promote a culture of volunteerism for years to come. I have always been involved as a volunteer in my town whether as an EMT or tutor and understand the importance of each person’s contribution. I’m most excited about spreading this culture. I am also excited to work with the strong group of women that lead TCF. As a student, I have only really worked with peers (that are the same age), so it will be a great experience to work with people who have years of experience working with nonprofits.
The goals of my work are constantly developing and as are the town’s needs. I think the biggest challenge will be adapting to these changing needs and taking on a diverse set of tasks. I think questions will arise as I take on different tasks. As noted in my work plan, I think there will be a steep learning curve but I’m excited to get started!