When Nathan and I moved to Rochester, I knew next to nothing about Rochester. However, it didn’t take that long for me to start looking around for places I could volunteer some of my time and skills to learn new things and contribute to the community.
So I started contacting local organizations I wanted to support that I thought I had some decent skills to offer and really hoped I could learn a lot from.
I contacted a local coffee shop that employed and empowered women recovering from substance abuse and sold fair trade coffee.
I filled out the volunteer application for our local food co-op that Nathan and I were shareholders for.
I visited a few local bakeries in person to show that I wasn’t some random creep.
And then I followed up when I didn’t hear anything in a week. Then I followed up again when I didn’t hear anything two weeks after that. Then I followed up months after that.
And you know what I heard back? Nothing. Absolutely.
No wait, I did hear back from the coffee shop who told me about a volunteer meeting that was happening just a few days later. This was about one and a half years AFTER my initial contact. I couldn’t make it to the volunteer meeting and wasn’t sure I wanted to volunteer for that place anymore anyway.
I mean, I try to give places the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they’re just super swamped and busy. But at the same time…isn’t that all the more reason to get back to me? Or maybe they just don’t need any help? I doubt it.
Why is it so hard to volunteer somewhere?! You’d think businesses would want my free labor.