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VANtage: September 2022

Galen Roth | Published on 9/14/2022

Greetings Members and Member Organizations,

Every day we are moving more toward normal. And yet it seems like Covid is going to be with us for a while longer. I know our guidance at work seems to change almost every week. I have learned like many others that resilience is the key not only to surviving major disruptions but the key to surviving and thriving during minor disruptions. Nurturing volunteer resilience is necessary, regardless of a pandemic or a change in policy. So, going forward, what I have learned from this experience?
Make change normal: Our company is adapting and learning to navigate the changes we must make to grow, but we never lose sight of our mission which is the foundation on which we operate.
Present change as an opportunity: I try to present change in a positive light by encouraging volunteers to think about new opportunities. Change is received more readily when volunteers are part of the change process.
Reflection is key to navigating change. Reflection is a way to embrace the difficulties, to acknowledge the loss of the status quo. Reflection is nonjudgmental and healing and allows for the expression of our frustrations.
In the coming few months VAN we have some very dynamic speakers for our Professional Development series. On September 15th we are very lucky to have Ms. Michelle Harper Kowalczyk talking to us about cultural humility and frameworks for developing an inclusive culture, especially with one-time volunteers.

Gerlinde Higginbotham
VAN President

VAN Professional Development Meeting
Topic: Cultural Humility and Service with Michelle Harper Kowalczyk
Time: Thursday, September 15th 9:00 - 10:30 AM (this presentation is 90 minutes!)
In our role as volunteer administrators, we often provide opportunities for volunteers and community members to build bridges across lines of difference. However, it can be challenging to establish a common understanding of inclusive practices among community members, volunteers, and other stakeholders.  Cultural humility provides an accessible entry into discussions of privilege and inclusion, while also providing a complexity that can benefit individuals with more experience and exposure to equity work. Participants will explore the cultural humility framework and leave with practical tools for engaging stakeholders around topics of oppression, exclusion, and inclusion.

Michelle Harper Kowalczyk has over a decade of experience in K-16 education, curriculum development, and volunteer management. She has a broad range of experiences in volunteer administration. She developed and implemented training curricula for two AmeriCorps programs and education volunteers in Peace Corps South Africa. She partnered with community organizations to coordinate one-time service events with the Center for Service & Leadership at the University of Washington Tacoma. Currently, she serves as the Learning & Development Director for City Year Cleveland and an educational consultant for The Mountaineers in the greater Seattle, WA area.

This month's meeting is VIRTUAL ONLY! We hope to get back to in-person meetings next month!

See your VANtage newsletter for new Zoom information.

We are accepting applications for new board members for 2023! You'll notice that many positions are co-chairs, which means you'll have help! Open positions that will need to be filled are
Vice President
Professional Development Co-Chair

Membership Co-Chair
Web Coordinator

Please email your resume to President Gerlinde Higginbotham,

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. The Volunteer Administrators' Network of Central Ohio will hold a pre-conference get-together at Olentangy River Brewery the night before! Please register for the free event here!

The Columbus Blue Jackets are offering ticket deals for volunteers in central Ohio! Click here for more details.


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 The Reeb Center, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Lifecare Alliance, BESA,  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!