Sandy Scott: Volunteers Make Arcata’s World Go ‘Round

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Volunteering means so very much to so many. Volunteers are dedicated, passionate and selfless. Non-profits can track volunteer hours that then become a vital statistic when requesting monies from grantors supporting how much the community values an organization and the work that they accomplish.

In California, a volunteer’s time is valued at $24.18 an hour. That amount is what an organization would have to spend to hire an employee and provide benefits.

Few volunteers know that if they accurately track their mileage that it is a valid tax deduction. You can plan an entire vacation around volunteer opportunities in third world countries.

Other than locally my favorite place to give back is Nepal. Volunteers do so much more than provide food for the hungry… they provide emotional and physical support and are encouragers to the staff and those they serve. They give hope.

One often thinks that a volunteer is someone who stuffs envelopes, serves food, gives patient care through Hospice and serves in myriad other areas, but there are also service clubs in our community who raise funds that are then directed back into the community to support non-profits; Boards of Directors who serve untold hours to make sure the various non-profits we know and love survive and stay on track; Boy and Girl Scouts who do so much for their local communities and become model citizens along the way.

An excellent example of volunteers coming together to reach a common goal and support an organization as well as raise funds is the recent Annual Membership Dinner held by the Arcata Chamber of Commerce. This event was successful due in large part to of the generosity of the volunteer efforts of the community served by the Chamber.

Thank you for helping us to honor local businesses and Robert Goodman, Business Leader of the Year. Thank you to the committee of past recipients of the Business Leader of the Year for your dedication in selecting this year’s honoree.

The City and other local officials helped in honoring award recipients. Your attendance, decorating tables, donating to the Silent Auction and encouragement all added to the fun of the evening. Thanks to Riverbend Cellars, Lost Coast, Mad River and Redwood Curtain Breweries, volunteer bartenders, those who set-up and cleaned-up.

Thanks to Brett Shuler Fine Catering for your generosity, thoughtfulness and delicious meal and to Alex Stillman for obtaining wine glasses for the evening. Thank you to the Annual Membership Committee and staff.

Thanks to Gala Beleza Weddings and Events, Scrapper’s Edge and last but certainly not least to our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Rollin Richmond.

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. There is no need to wait until you retire to begin the adventure of volunteering; any age is an ideal age. Service learning projects have become the norm for many graduating high school seniors.

Humboldt State University can proudly boast that it is number one in medium-sized schools in California for students joining the Peace Corps and sixteenth in the nation in the 3,000 schools surveyed. Humboldt County obviously understands and teaches the concept of giving back to the local community and as well as volunteering globally.

The Chamber is proud to serve the Arcata business and non-profit community and through the California Welcome Center Humboldt County. Come volunteer with us or let us help you find the perfect place to put your skills to good use.

Sandy Scott is executive director of the Arcata Chamber of Commerce.