Robin Clark (center) with fellow Blue Crew volunteers at Bartram Gardens.
Volunteering is something I’ve loved for a long time. I’ve always participated in service events with friends and family, and I even held a seat on the Volunteer Council of my previous employer. But as a new employee at Independence Blue Cross four years ago, I didn’t know how to get involved — I was starting from scratch. All I knew was that I was anxious to continue my service.
Of course, part of being a new employee at any company is training, and I spent hours in sessions to learn about the company and my new role. During these sessions I heard about the company’s Blue Crew volunteer organization and immediately signed up. Within a few days I received a welcome email with a list of upcoming events. That was half of the battle — but I didn’t know anyone I could volunteer with.
All It Takes Is One Invitation
Not too long after I signed up for the Blue Crew, I met Angela Harris. She introduced herself and told me about a group called Women of Independence. I was so grateful she reached out to me, and I was thrilled to join this group because I immediately met so many great women, including Helen Furlow.
Helen was leading an upcoming Color Run event to support the nonprofit organization Back on My Feet, and she invited me to volunteer. This was just the invitation I was waiting for!
From Newbie to Seasoned Volunteer
Now that I had gotten my feet wet, I was ready to do more and signed up for Philadelphia Reads, which is still one of my most memorable volunteer experiences. I was matched with a little girl who said she didn’t like reading. But by the end of the program, she was absolutely loving it.
I am proud to be a part of an organization that participates in this program, and I think it’s awesome that the kids can get out of their classroom and come to a tall building in the city to learn to read. And in the end, the little girl I was matched with helped me just as much as I helped her — she helped me with time management, patience, and keeping my word.
Needless to say, I have since become a seasoned volunteer because of these great experiences and all the welcoming members of the Blue Crew. Recently, I’ve even lead several volunteer events at Bartram Gardens, which gave me a new perspective as an event organizer.
Sharing Is Caring, Even When It Comes to Volunteer Opportunities
Knowing how much I’ve gained from the Blue Crew, I make it a point to openly share my volunteer experiences with other employees, especially those who are new to the company. I know there’s someone out there like me who wants to help and is just waiting for someone to reach out.
You may not have a group like the Blue Crew to organize volunteer opportunities for you — but don’t get discouraged! If you live in the Greater Philadelphia area, there are some great resources to help you find the right group to donate your time to.
You can get started by checking out Serve Philadelphia, an initiative of the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service. Their website lists hundreds of local volunteer opportunities for a wide variety of organizations and skillsets. And if you decide to sign up for one of the volunteer events, make sure to invite a friend or family member to join you!