By Erin Henderson
Programs and Communications Associate/AmeriCorps VISTA
After studying Communication, Spanish and Studio Art and graduating from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia in 2011, Erin, a true Georgia Peach, pulled her roots out of the thick red Georgia clay and relocated to Tucson to serve one year as an AmeriCorps volunteer with SVPGT. She enjoys exploring the new “Alien Planet” that is the Sonoran Desert/Tucson, never meeting a stranger, and singing in a Reggae/Latin/Funk band.
You’re standing on the edge of a pool. On the edge of summer. It’s scorching outside, yet somehow the placid chlorine waters have remained frigid. You dip in a toe or two, and quickly withdraw with a shudder. “There’s no way…” you mutter to yourself. The bird who watches you curiously from an overhanging branch chuckles to herself at the sight of you.
After pacing a few steps on the hot concrete (which at this point is slowly blistering your poor soles), you set your towel beside the pool, sit yourself on the towel, and gingerly lower your legs up to your calves in the water. “This isn’t so bad,” you think to yourself as you gracefully draw figure eights underwater with your toes, the water molecules creating a slow motion effect on your movements.
The longer you sit there, the more you are urged by the hot sun on the top of your head and shoulders to “Just jump in already!”
Finally, you stand, make a bee line to the diving board (It’s now or never…), take a few large steps and, with a bounce and a gulp of air, take the plunge head first into the man-made oasis.
The shock hits you. With a few strokes you have made it nearly to the other side of the pool and slowly ascend to the surface. With a sharp exhale, followed by a deep inhalation of warm air, you realize you were right. It wasn’t so bad!
Now, instead of standing on the edge wishing you had the guts to risk the minor discomfort of cold water on your hot skin, you are in the pool, lavishing in luxurious laps. Bet you’re glad you didn’t miss that opportunity! Whew!
At the Social Venture Partners Greater Tucson Annual Meeting on April 23, Lance Fors— the SVPI Board Chair, SV2 (Silicon Valley) Member, and our Guest Speaker for the evening—gave an enchanting account of his first days with SVP. From “Know-little Newbie” to “One of the best spokespersons for SVPI we’ve got” (-John Smith, SVPGT Board Chair), Lance’s approach to getting involved says it all: “I just jumped in and did it.”
If today (or yesterday…or tomorrow…) you are questioning where you fit into the SVP Family/Partnership, you are in good company. As Lance said of SVP gatherings, “It’s like living in a 60 watt world and you just walked into a room of 100w light bulbs.” And as family, we stand beside you to help you find your place and carry your light further. There are no square pegs around here.
Get Plugged In:
Start by completing your Partner Profile, if you haven’t already. This gives staff, committee members and lead partners access to a taste of who you are, what you bring to the SVP table, and what service opportunities are most important to you. We want to help you find an opportunity that is most meaningful to you personally. Click here to go to the Intranet and complete your partner profile. If you need any help, please contact me (email@example.com).
Grab a cup of coffee or lunch with Julia or a Lead Partner or our Chief Engager to discuss your interests. There is plenty of work to be done with our Investees. And we know that our Partners are out there thinking:
“What can I offer, besides a financial contribution?”
“I want to get engaged, but don’t know where to start.”
“I haven’t heard of any opportunities that are available.”
“There aren’t any projects that interest me.”
“My career field is not applicable to the projects available to volunteer for.”
“I don’t know how to strategically develop a work plan or govern a board.”
“This job is meant for someone else with more related experience.”
Instead, try asking yourself:
“How have I enjoyed volunteering in the past?”
“How much time do I have available to volunteer?”
“Do I want to do more than give a financial contribution?”
“Who do I most want to help?”
“What ideas do I have that other partners haven’t thought of yet?”
Keep an eye out for new Volunteer Your Time and Talent postings on the Monday Missive, svpgt.org, and Social Media. We are working closely with Lead Partners and Investees to give you the latest in volunteer opportunities and find more ways for our talented Partners to give back. Even if you are unsure about a job posting, it never hurts to dig a little deeper. It may be a chance to learn a new skill! We’ll help you find a good fit. Click here to see Volunteer Your Time and Talent Poastings
Attend Committee Meetings, Conferences, Partner Education Events, and Social/Recruitment Events. Discovering and understanding what other Partners are involved in is an inspirational way to picture yourself in various roles or collaborating on various projects.
You’d be surprised how many of your professional skills are in high demand for serving our Investees and our own infrastructure. You might even have a skill our Partnership didn’t know it needed. You never know which of your skills might come in handy! So let’s get creative together!
For example, who knew that our Partner Rhonda Fleming was a Powerpoint Presentation Wiz? As a teacher, she coached students on Science Fair projects for years! With her help, the Focus Task Force delivered a solid presentation at the Annual Meeting (Great Job Julia, Ava and Frank!).
Lance was once in the same boat: wanting to get more involved, but not sure where to start. But he said it was “all about taking that first step.” One of our favorite words around here is “Engagement.” But why get engaged? Why put in the effort to Volunteer Your Time and Talent? When asked why he joined SVP, Lance’s answer was simple: “I wanted a life that was significantly more meaningful.”
What other reason do you need to get engaged? “Just jump in already!”
Jump In and Reach Out:
Sunnyside Parents as Teachers Lead Partner: Harriet Kronman
Reading Seed Lead Partner: Ginnie Griffis
Youth on Their Own Lead Partnet: Ruby Buchsbaum
Chief Engager: Mark Rubin
Executive Director: Julia Waterfall-Kanter
Programs and Communications Associate: Erin Henderson