As people living together in a community, there are few things we can do to serve that community better than offer our time and abilities by volunteering. Not only does it help to improve the lives of others less fortunate than us; it increases our connection to the community, and makes it a better place for everyone in it.
Performing community service may benefit you even more directly than you’d guess. Studies (like this one) show that volunteering for the benefit of others can lead to more than an 8% increase in mental health, and an 11% increase in social well-being for the volunteer.
At the Young Women’s Alliance, we strive to give back and to help support a thriving Austin. Community service is a huge part of that. In fact, it’s one of the four pillars our mission is supported on.
We asked our VP of Community Service, Becky Poster, a few questions about getting involved and volunteering with YWA. Here’s what she shared.
Are YWA members required to reach a certain number of volunteer hours each year?
No. There are no requirements for YWA membership, including volunteer hours. You can volunteer as much or as little as you’re able. However, we do encourage all members to volunteer at least ten hours per year. This helps further our mission to give back to the Austin community through community service projects and events with partner organizations.
How many volunteer events does YWA hold in an average year?
We schedule about 40 volunteer events in an average year (that’s about 3-4 per month). Not only does this allow us to serve a variety of causes and organizations, but it helps to ensure that most members will be able to find something to fit their schedule should they want to join in!
What kinds of opportunities are there?
Right now, we’re scheduling both in-person and virtual volunteer events each month. All in-person events are with organizations that are following and enforcing safe COVID practices. Opportunities can range from writing “Relatable Role Model” letters for the Girls Empowerment Network, to landscaping work at the Wildflower Center, to helping out in the warehouse of the Central Texas Food Bank – and more.
Can you count hours volunteering outside of YWA events?
Yes! We encourage all of our members to give back to the Austin community in a way that is meaningful to them. This can be through YWA volunteer events, and also opportunities provided by other organizations. Definitely log any and all volunteer hours, wherever you earned them!
What do you enjoy most about being a part of the community service committee?
Community service is one of the four pillars of YWA. Being able to help the organization and our members grow and contribute through community service is extremely important and fulfilling to me.
How would you suggest members reach their personal community service goals in 2021?
In addition to signing up for and attending YWA volunteer events, I’d encourage people to find additional opportunities elsewhere. Look for other nonprofits that have missions that you identify with and care about. Austin has more organizations per capita than any other city in the Southwest, so there is something for everyone. https://www.volunteermatch.org/ is an amazing search tool for volunteer opportunities!
Ready to get involved? YWA members can check the InfoHub event calendar to view and register for currently scheduled volunteering events. Have more questions? Reach out to the Community Service board: email@example.com.