Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Volunteering Changed My Life

Written by: Vincent Holloway, MCCOY Board Member (youth representative)
When my older brother, Trevor, and I sat together in our garage every now and then, we would talk about random things. On one particular night, I remember him and I talking about the importance of volunteering.

It wasn’t that blatant. We were talking about what he and I did, and we got to the subject of him working with MCCOY. He told me about how he got connected with MCCOY, what he had been doing for the organization, and what he got out of the experience. He really pressed me to get involved with a non-profit like MCCOY where I could help the community.

After that conversation, I thought for a while about how I would start helping out. I applied to and was accepted into a Youth Leadership Initiative, designed to teach high school students the skills to serve as a youth board member for a non-profit organization. As part of the requirements, I interviewed a leader in the community about the needs in Indianapolis. That person was John Brandon, the Executive Director at MCCOY. From our interview and his answers, I decided I wanted to get involved with MCCOY.

Since then I have tried to help MCCOY achieve their goals with the few ways I can:
-Serve on a committee (currently Fund Development)
-Go to MCCOY events (like the Art of Youth, an annual fund raiser for MCCOY)
-Video coverage of events (I’m getting a website together for making videos and doing photography at www.hibachistudios.com)
-Being a youth board member

As a board member and MCCOY volunteer, I discovered a few things for myself:
1.      I didn’t need to know everything: I was guided along the way
2.      People appreciate when you volunteer in any capacity
3.      It’s not hard to volunteer! When you see a date on which you can volunteer, put it in your calendar immediately and treat it as an important business meeting.

I look at a lot of the non-volunteer activities I have done, but I know that a lot of what I do has been influenced by my volunteerism. It has opened my eyes to a whole new perspective of the community. I think that any community functions in its entirety, but when you look closer, there are many institutions, groups, organizations, and non-profits whose work allows the community to function. Without the infrastructure that many groups provide or services rendered like the Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Indiana (I have been a Little Brother for many years), much community need would go unmet.

One last thought. I have mentioned “the need in the community” and that I work with MCCOY. At times I feel like I do a lot of volunteering. To put it in perspective (which is good to do sometimes), I am one person working with one organization, which performs certain functions. There are many other organizations that perform different functions, and they need volunteers, too!

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