Local nonprofit leaders are sharing how valuable volunteers are to their organization in honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week.
Each April, a week is set aside the recognize the people who donate to nonprofits in the form of their time. National Volunteer Appreciation Week for 2021 began on Monday and ends tomorrow.
Steve Mickens, chief executive officer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier, shared that volunteers play an integral part in making the nonprofit function.
“They mean everything to us, they're very instrumental…they help supplement programs, they bring in their roles, their careers,” said Mickens. “With members, they provide, obviously vital manpower and materials that typically we would have to pay for, so it really saves us on cost.”
Mickens added that having people from the community volunteer with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier exposes the club members to professional skills and advice for the future.
“They've given us an opportunity for our members to interact with those volunteers in the community, and get to know their professions, to ask questions, and work directly with people,” Mickens said. “This kind of builds the civil kind of mindset with our youth, which we need to do that early on, the purpose of giving back and the importance of it.”
Jamie Reynolds, executive director for Sisu Integrated Early Learning, echoed Mickens sentiment that volunteers play a vital role at the pre-school.
“We appreciate their energy. We appreciate their enthusiasm. And they make a difference. They make a profound difference to our bottom line,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds said that the COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately prevented volunteers from coming to Sisu. In a normal year, volunteers will come to the school to learn more about its purpose and model, then take what they learn to other communities.
“When we invite volunteers, what we're doing is we're showing them the power of the mission here at Sisu and they can take that that mission back to their state back to their region,” said Reynolds. “They can say, ‘I've seen this done, and I can see how it how it works,’…that's kind of the bigger visionary picture, we love volunteers. Because they really come and see what we do.”
Reynolds said Sisu provides an amazing opportunity for medical students to volunteer and learn more about caring for children.
“We feel like we're an environment, if somebody is interested, potentially, in being a nurse or being an occupational therapist, or being a physical therapist or speech therapist, they can come and see how it works in a school setting,” said Reynolds.
Both Mickens and Reynolds said that plans are in place to do something special for their volunteers in the near future.
In the meantime, they both plan to continue recognizing and appreciating their volunteers as though every week is National Volunteer Appreciation Week.
“Even though [volunteer] week is ending this week, we're still in the process of doing some more things with our volunteers because we thank them and we can't thank them enough when you're here,” said Mickens.
“Here at Sisu, every day and every week is National Volunteer Day, so we make an effort to really value their time,” said Reynolds.