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VANtage: July 2022

Galen Roth | Published on 8/11/2022

Greetings Members and Member Organizations,

I hope all of you had a great July 4th holiday weekend. I had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed working with my middle school students. My theme this week is Volunteerism and Inclusion, specifically engaging youth at an early age in volunteerism.

Recently, I was given the assignment to work with a group of middle school students and engage them in a volunteer project. After some brainstorming they came up with ideas on the benefits of volunteerism: preparation for employment, helping others, making changes that matter to them, gaining new experiences, meeting new people, and having fun. The one thing they decided, they did not want a service-learning project. They felt it was not volunteering in the sense of having free choice. I disagreed but I understood for these students, service learning was like an assignment. My dilemma is how to make it fun and expose them to civic service at this early age which can potentially lead to involvement in volunteerism in later years.

I worked with the students to help them understand volunteerism has many benefits from building peer relationships with other volunteers, forming adult networks, and developing relationships with those who are served by their efforts. A project was decided upon, volunteering this weekend at community July 4th parades. What an amazing weekend they had. I loved watching them having fun and learning!

Volunteer organizations need to promote a climate in which the needs and interests of young people are fully respected and ensure that infrastructure is provided for young people to volunteer. We all should be proactive in engaging young people. Healthy societies need young people who are involved with their communities. 
VAN will hold a Professional Development event later in the year regarding Inclusion and Diversity. In the meantime, please join us for our in-person Professional Development event on July 21st at 9 am. We will have a zoom link available for those that cannot attend in person. I hope to see you at our event, to learn and share best practices for Volunteer Engagement. Details and location are below!

Gerlinde Higginbotham
VAN President

VAN Professional Development Meeting
Topic: Building a Culture of Connectedness with Erin West from Hilliard Food Pantry
Time: Thursday, July 21st at 9 AM
Location: Dublin Community Recreation Center
5600 Post Road
Dublin, OH  43017

Description: Join us IN PERSON! We are back at the Dublin Community Recreation Center. If you are more comfortable meeting through Zoom, we are keeping that option. Erin West from Hilliard Food Pantry will lead a workshop and speak about Building a Culture of Connectedness. The workshop will include volunteer engagement, engaging clients, and more!

See your VANtage newsletter for new Zoom information.


Please welcome Margo Arnold, our new Professional Development Co-Chair! Margo currently serves at Catholic Social Services as the AmeriCorps Seniors, Senior Companion Program Volunteer Coordinator in Franklin and Delaware County. Margo earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs with a specialization in Community Organization and Civic Engagement from The Ohio State University. Since earning her degree, she has served at various non-profits, started a business, and even become an AmeriCorps Alumna. In her free time, Margo enjoys dancing, spending time with her family, and helping people from all backgrounds discover the power that they have collectively and individually to change the world.


Save the date! The 2022 Ohio Conference on Service and Volunteerism will be November 3rd, 2022. The conference will he held in-person at Quest Conference Center in Columbus.


Our website is now listing job postings in central Ohio! If you're a VAN Central Ohio member looking for a position working with volunteers, you can click here to access the page. There are many local openings including positions at Lifecare Alliance, BESA, The American Heart Association, and MORE! Postings are updated throughout the month, so log in and check back often!

Is your organization looking for volunteer administration? Contact us so we can get the word out!