Hundreds of health and social service organizations serving Greater Cleveland rely on dedicated volunteers to augment their staff. Volunteers perform a vast array of services, not for a paycheck, but for the joy and satisfaction of helping others. For many, time of day or time of year makes no difference; they just want to serve.
What makes a most treasured volunteer is the motive, the impact and the benefit of the time and energy they give.
Every year since 1985, Community Solutions has invited nominations for the Most Treasured Volunteer Award. This year, nominations will be accepted until July 16; forms and instructions are available here.
What makes a person a “most treasured volunteer”? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer because volunteers come in all sizes, shapes and fields. The common element is their spirit: they give their time and energy freely to benefit others.
Consider a few examples of past winners:
- Through cheerleading, taught life lessons to neighborhood girls.
- Provided legal counsel with special attention to LGBTQ protections from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.
- Helped residents of long-term care facilities address their concerns.
- Offered hospice care for patients and their families.
- Kept 80 bathrooms functioning, repaired furniture, painted walls and maintained equipment.
- Served meals to homeless people.
- Founded neighborhood groups to help African-American men mentor children ages 8 to 14 years old.
- Knitted hats, mittens and scarves for children—300 items each year—to “keep those little ears and fingers warm” even though she was legally blind.
- Helped neighbors by providing transportation and assisting with home maintenance.
- Provided on-site health care for homeless people, recruited colleagues to volunteer.
- Fixed hundreds of toys, saving agencies thousands of dollars in replacement costs.
- Helped non-English speaking families learn the language, despite severe problems with her eyes.
- Provided training and resources to schools related to safety and development of LGBT youth.
- Educated and raised awareness about stalking.
Age, gender, race, sexual orientation or socioeconomic situation are not the most important factors in volunteering. Neither is the number of hours or years a person can devote. Rather, what makes a most treasured volunteer is the motive, the impact and the benefits of the time and energy they give.
During the past few months, organizations have had to function without many of their volunteers due to COVID-19. For the staff, the experience has been challenging. For the volunteers, it has been unbearable. They miss the people they work with and those they serve. They’re eager to get back to work.
Who do you know who fits that description? Who might you nominate? Who would you like to see recognized for their efforts?
Take a moment, think about what they do and nominate them so that others will know about them too.