October 2022: CEO Corner
We are known as the “Senior Volunteer People” which will never change. We are also embracing this moment to bring people of all generations together to serve. It’s an opportunity to celebrate and learn from the unique life experiences, talents, and perspectives each person brings.
Honoring what makes a volunteer unique is our specialty. It’s the driving influence that makes us successful at placing volunteers into the service opportunities of their dreams. When we consider the cultures, backgrounds, skills, and personalities of our volunteers and help them find a service opportunity where they can be their authentic selves, they serve in those positions for 5, 10, even 20 years because it feels like home.
Why stop there? We are digging deeper to intentionally train our team to implement services that are more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. In July, our staff trained on knowing ourselves better to enable us to listen and empathize better to understand the communities we serve.
We’re also honored to be selected for the inaugural 2022 cohort of the Tampa Bay Equity Incubator through the Pinellas Community Foundation and Inclusivity, LLC. Our participation will move us from talking to doing as we evaluate policies and procedures, learn through workshops and collaboration with others, and engage in focus groups with volunteers, staff, and board members.
What is equity you ask? How is it different from equality? Take our Operation: Veteran Connect for example. Veterans have a distinct lived experience with its own vocabulary, knowledge base and tone. And, unfortunately, Veterans account for 11% of adults experiencing homelessness in the US. To serve Veterans effectively, our staff and volunteers must speak that language, know that history, and listen with a compassionate ear to provide assistance. That’s equity.
The more we listen and learn, the more we can effectively mobilize highly-trained, culturally-conscious volunteers to combat inequities. Imagine a world where everyone thrives due to embracing one another’s unique differences. If we all stay curious about what we don’t know and what we can learn about one another, we can stay true to our values, and keep growing. Thank you for being on this journey with us.
-Robin Ingles, CEO