Volunteerism: Part 2

By Linnis Jellinek
Reader Contributor

VIP is the name, and volunteering is our game. We connect people who want to volunteer with organizations in our community that need them! We thrive on our ability to take it one step further and connect people with their passion. If you love animals, want to make a difference in the lives of our veterans or have a strong sentiment for our seniors, our goal is to connect you to the organizations or individuals that help you meet those needs.

Last time we talked about the personal benefits of volunteering. For this article I’d like to share some testimonials from local volunteers who love what they do.

I would like to start by highlighting SCRC’s own volunteer coordinator, JoAnna Quick. JoAnna has been volunteering in her local communities since the age of 10. She says that volunteering at a young age helped her to learn structure, responsibility and many more qualities that she may not have developed until much later. While talking with JoAnna, she joked that most of her resume skills have come from volunteer jobs rather than paid ones. Some of her favorite things about volunteering are the people that she has met and the relationships she has built, as a result. She is obviously grateful for all of the training, experience and education, too! 

We also spoke with Gwen LeTetour, who is a volunteer firefighter. Prior to moving to Sandpoint, Gwen lived in France, where he also volunteered his time as a firefighter. He met his beautiful wife while volunteering in another country and they relocated here, to her hometown. While his long-term goal is to make a full-time career of firefighting, he says this about volunteering, “People don’t do it because it’s a job, people do it because they want to, they love it. Whether or not they’re going to be paid, they’re going to do it.” And he’s absolutely right. We all have something that we feel so passionately about, that we’re willing to put in the work for free. Sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right connection to get us there. 

Our friend, Connor Robinson, started volunteering with the fire department when he was fresh out of high school. Seven years later he is still giving his time to the Selkirk Fire Rescue. Connor says that these past seven years have helped him in countless ways, including his personal growth and maturity. 

If you are interested in volunteering, remember from the first article that there are short- and long-term opportunities available. One long-term opportunity is the Resource Specialist position at SCRC. We have a handful of volunteers who come in once a week, once every other week, or even seasonally, to manage the office and work one on one with our clients. And these volunteers have a variety of reasons for why they do this. One volunteer is looking to gain some work experience and computer skills, and another is retired and missed having a “job” to go to. Another volunteer is preparing for retirement and is transitioning into the life of volunteerism. Yet another just loves to give back to the community! No matter the reason, we are very grateful to these amazing individuals, as they keep our organization alive. Until June, the resource specialist office was run only by volunteers. 

Now you may be wondering what steps to take in order to get involved. You can head to www.sandpointcommunityresource.com/volunteer.html and click on the Volunteer Match button that says, “Sign Up”. You will create an account, then click, “Start Volunteering”. From there, you can browse opportunities and connect with organizations that stand out to you. You can attend a VolunteerMatch Live event and meet providers face to face. The next event is Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 10 a.m to 12 p.m. at Uptown Bagel Co. If you have questions, Volunteer Coordinator JoAnna Quick is here to help. You can reach her at [email protected] or 208-255-4025. 

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