Why We Love Our Volunteers

The East Side Learning Center runs on a core of committed volunteers; they make it possible for us to reach more kids and they love to tell their friends and family about the great work we’re doing. That’s reason enough to love volunteers, but ours sweeten the pot by being extra engaged, loving, and warm. The ESLC is lucky to have a group of volunteers who believe in our mission of “unlocking each child’s potential through the foundation of reading”.

According to Independent Sector, a network for nonprofits and foundations, the value of volunteer time in 2011 was estimated to be $21.79 per hour. Considering that last year 235 volunteers served 6,074 hours, our volunteers have given us a tremendous gift! When you donate your time to East Side Learning Center, you’re sending a clear message about your commitment to what we do - and your passion for our mission.

The value of a volunteer can’t be measured in numbers alone, though. So, what else makes us here at ESLC appreciate our volunteers?

They Care: many volunteer experiences are one-off events where people go once a year to lend a hand. This is a great way for busy people to give back to the community, but it doesn’t really allow for a deep connection between volunteer and organization. At ESLC we ask our volunteers to take on much more responsibility than is normally asked of volunteers. Our work cannot be done by “warm body” volunteers - those who fill a volunteer position that requires relatively little commitment or skill - it requires a level of dedication that we understand can be hard to muster on a weekly basis. But our volunteers consistently come through, expressing their passion for literacy and their love of children by continuing to chose to spend their time in a  meaningful way. Make no mistake, if you volunteer with ESLC you do make a difference.

They’re reliable: This is probably a byproduct of the above-mentioned commitment, but it deserves it’s own heading. We are so lucky to serve with a group of volunteers who can be relied on to be there almost no matter what. Though snow and ice are an understandable and annoying deterrent to our tutors, apathy is not an issue we worry about. Working within schools can sometimes be unpredictable, so it’s nice to be able to rely on something in times of change and flux. Our volunteers give us that.

They’re fun: Most of our volunteers know how to have fun and they bring that sense of joy and humor with them when they come to tutor.  When working in the everyday nuts and bolts operations of an organization it can be hard to remember that we should be having some fun. We work with kids after all, and if we can’t let their humor infect us sometimes, then we’re doing something wrong. Volunteers help us remember the fun of what we do. And that might be the greatest value they add.