Have you ever wondered how the Children’s Dyslexia Center can accomplish so many incredible things? I’ll let you in on a little secret……..
VOLUNTEERS!!! Without them, we could not do most of what we do. We rely on volunteers to help provide support in as many ways as there are colors in an evening sunset sky. If you’ve read other posts, you’ve heard me talk about time, talent, and treasures, and how we rely on all of those things in order to operate successfully. Volunteers provide all of those things and them some but today their time is invaluable!
Some of our volunteers are at the Center on a regular basis with their children while others provide support for specifics occasions or events. Either way, their service means that we are able to accomplish more. It is not at all unusual for families to walk into our center and ask what they can help with while they are there. One of the most common ways they help is with general office tasks and event preparation. Recently while two family members were helping write birthday cards to be sent to students and staff of the Center, they were asked why they felt compelled to help. Kathleen stated proudly “This is an amazing place! This changed my daughter’s attitude, and it is fun and easy work. The Center is doing the hard work, we can help out.” Little does she realize how much her time and work really do help! By having volunteers like Kathleen and Mary to do some of the “support” work, we are able to focus of the big picture and accomplish even more.
While helping with a project Mary suggested that “This has been so helpful for my grandson; there is a need for payback.” While we don’t expect any sort of payback, individuals who give of their time, talents, and treasures certainly support kindness and generosity, and we are grateful. Both Kathleen and Mary, among other families, always come in excited and looking to help. Mary shared “Getting to know the Center is great! I don’t care what the duty is”. This is a testament to the commitment our volunteers have.
Part of what grows from volunteering on projects together at the Center is the friendships that develop among families. For example, two weeks ago while Kathleen and Mary were working on the birthday card project, they were also conspiring on ways to make sure they were able to continue to work on the project together during their next visit. They were creative in figuring out how to continue the project together.
Not all of our amazing volunteers come from families associated with the center though. Students from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC), the Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC), and community often reach out to us in pursuit of opportunities not available elsewhere. Volunteering for a nonprofit organization provides a rich abundance of prospective projects and experiences. Kristina, a student from UWEC, reached out to us in hopes of identifying a project that would allow her to grow her skills and experience while providing us with creative marketing materials. When asked about why she reached out to us to volunteer, Kristina stated “I thought this was a great way to serve the community in a meaningful way. As I’ve gotten to know you and more about the Center, I’ve found out how great the impact is; not just for students, but for their parents and tutors as well.” Kristina’s mom is a reading specialist in the Twin Cities, and she felt connected to our mission through her mom. She shared that what she has learned at our Center has helped her to better understand her mom’s impact on kids as well. Kristina shared that she talks to her mom differently and is more interested now because the little stories her mom shares are more vivid and real. Volunteering allows for growth in a lot of ways.
The best part in talking with Kristina was hearing her say “I love working among staff and the community that is here at the Dyslexia Center. There is a great sense of community.” She is right! The sense of community comes from everyone working together toward a greater goal and greater good! I am grateful for the volunteers who support our mission by contributing in whatever ways they are able – whether it is employees from Kohl’s sharing a fun day walking around downtown Eau Claire to distribute posters, a group of university students hosting a table event on campus to recruit volunteers to work at events, or families organizing cards in the phoneme card decks that tutors will use with their students, every second of every minute of every hour of every job helps us to better serve children! So upon the words of recommendation from Kristina, “Don’t be afraid to ask how to help because the staff at the Center are good for advice and feedback on any work.”
Volunteers help to make our mission possible! No matter what your time, talent, and treasures consist of, share them generously with us or other worthy causes! You won’t regret it and we’ll be ever grateful!