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Volunteer Network Column: Make volunteering part of your plan

Thursday, December 27, 2012

People living in the original Blue Zones areas know their purpose when they wake up each morning. For many it is the gift of volunteerism. Volunteering offers the chance to lead a more meaningful life by donating time, expertise and support. Every time you volunteer, you'll be making your community better and contributing to local causes that reinforce your sense of purpose. Aside from the emotional benefits of volunteering, there are significant physical health benefits too. It seems that volunteers gain as much as they give.

An ongoing priority within the city of Spencer is to emphasize values focused on the areas of spirit, quality of life, community and progress. One of the specific goals is to ensure that Spencer is a welcoming community that fosters active volunteer participation and leadership. This fits perfectly within the Blue Zones Project of knowing your purpose and determining your values, passions, gifts and talents. Begin investigating your own purpose by creating an internal inventory of your life. What are the things you like to do and the things you don't? Then incorporate opportunities to put your skills into action in ways that will add meaning to your life and the lives of others.

Contact the Volunteer Network of Clay County at 262-IVOL (4865) or by going online, www.volunteerclaycounty.com. Discover available opportunities to volunteer county-wide. Feel better instantly just by raising your hand.

"How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." Anne Frank

Volunteer Bill of Rights

Every volunteer has:

1. The right to be treated as a co-worker, not just as free help.

2. The right to a suitable assignment, with consideration for personal preference, temperament, life experience, education, and employment background.

3. The right to know as much about the organization as possible, including its mission, policies, people, and programs.

4. The right to training for the job that is thoughtfully planned and effectively presented.

5. The right to sound guidance and direction by someone who is experienced, well-informed, patient, and thoughtful and who extends the time and attention necessary to invest in the appropriate supervision.

6. The right to a place to work; an orderly, designated place that is conducive to work and suitable for the job to be done.

7. The right to enhance skills and knowledge through advancement to assignments of more responsibility and through transfer from one activity to another.

8. The right to be heard, to have a part in planning, and to be shown respect for comments and suggestions offered.

9. The right to recognition, in the form of appreciation events and service awards, through day-by-day expressions of appreciation and by being treated as a bona-fide co-worker.

Adapted from the Vanderbilt Medical Center Volunteer Bill of Rights and John L. Lipp's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Recruiting & Managing Volunteers.

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