First, a message from Alexandra Howard, Volunteer Experience Manager at Volunteer Odyssey:
“I sometimes think people view volunteerism like I view going to the gym; It’s nice to do when I can but it is by no means prioritized in my life. Because of this, many people volunteer about as often as I make my yearly gym visits—right before or right after the holiday season.
Despite what we’d like to think, volunteerism does have a seasonal element to it. Nonprofits see a large influx of volunteers around November and December—but when January arrives, many peoples’ priorities shift back to their day-to-day lives while nonprofits’ needs stay the same. So what’s the solution?”
At Volunteer Odyssey, we aim to help folks keep volunteerism at the forefront of their minds year-round. We spoke to someone who agrees, and we hope he inspires you to shift your thinking too.
Trey Thacher, Memphian and Volunteer Odyssey volunteer, has taken a new approach to volunteering that you might find handy as you forge your new year. Amid reevaluating his priorities and values in life, he realized he wanted to spend more time making a difference in his community—so he set a service goal to complete by the end of the year and is well on his way to completing it.
“Here’s an opportunity to really make an impact– a meaningful change,” said Trey.
Setting a goal for volunteering is a win-win scenario; it can motivate you to make time to give back—and if for some reason you don’t reach your goal, you’ve still donated valuable hours of volunteer work on your way!
We talked with Trey and asked him if he could share one thing with people who were on the fence about volunteering, what would it be?
He shared, “Take that first step and you’ll see that you can make incremental changes. Those small changes matter, and can easily grow into something more.”
We at Volunteer Odyssey challenge you to join the ranks of fellow Memphians who are setting service goals! Here are some opportunities to get you going:
- Catholic Charities of West TN, Weekly Service Opportunities
- Memphis Rox, Weekly Opportunities (upcoming MLK Day of Service Community Clean-Up)
- Memphis Animal Services, Daily Service Opportunities (Orientation required first)
- WYXR 91.7 FM, Monthly Events
- Pinecrest Camp and Retreat Center, Winter Work Volunteer (it’s worth the drive!)
- Just City, Weekly Court Watch Program (Orientation required first)
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Weekly Service Opportunities (Orientation required first)
- St. Vincent de Paul, Daily Food Mission Volunteer
- Carpenter Art Garden, Weekly Community Bike Ride Volunteer
- Cooper-Young Farmers Market, Saturday Vendor Helper