Why Should Dialogue Groups Do Community Service?
Instead of meeting, say, six times for dialogue, and then trying to make the transition to action, why not try adding a community service activity to your dialogue program's schedule?
This revised format could benefit your dialogue group in several ways. A community service session could:
" temporarily satisfy participants' need for action
Any one-time community service activity which requires little preparation and which will allow the members of your dialogue group to work together (with or without additional volunteers) would be ideal. Some examples of such projects are:
" building renovations (painting, spackling, putting up drywall, etc.)
There are organizations in every community which are in need of volunteers. Finding an organization that can provide a one-time service activity for a group around a particular date, however, can be tricky. The following organizations are more likely than most to be able to accommodate your needs.
- AmeriCorps and other National Service programs
Chances are, there are national service programs running in your community. Contact your states Commission on National and Community Service to find out how to get in touch with AmeriCorps programs near you, or your Corporation for National Service state office for VISTA or Senior Corps programs. Tell them that you have a small group which wants to work together on a one-time service project, and that the group will most likely be taking more action in the community later.
From this page on the Corporation for National Service web site, you can get to a listing of CNS state offices basic contact information and links to state commissions web sites.
- Habitat for Humanity International
HFH has local affiliates all across the country, most of which would probably be open to offering your group a one-time service project. Habitat volunteers help renovate or build homes for low-income families who might not otherwise be able to own a home. Often alongside the future homeowners, volunteers paint, spackle, knock down walls, and so on.
Habitats web site lists most of its local affiliates, but you can also call 912-924-6935 to find out where the closest affiliate is to you. Or try looking for it in the phone book.
- Meals on Wheels
Although Meals on Wheels, which delivers hot, healthy meals to home-bound people, usually needs deliverers more urgently, volunteers are needed for food preparation as well. Contact your local Meals on Wheels to see if they can accommodate your group for a one-time service project, letting them know that some of the volunteers could decide to help them out on a regular basis. Look in your local phone book, or call 1-800-677-1116 for a location near you.
- United Way of America
The United Way has offices across the country, many of which offer volunteer placement services. Your local United Way is a great resource that everyone in your dialogue group should be familiar with and know how to utilize. Tell your United Way that your group is looking for a one-time service project, but make sure they know how dialogue tends to lead to community action. You may inspire them to get their organization involved in local dialogue efforts.
Check the web site for United Ways near you. Or call 1-800-411-UWAY (8929).
- Other Opportunities
You can also utilize these online databases of volunteer opportunities:
|The Dialogue to Action Initiative and www.Thataway.org are ?2001 by Sandy Heierbacher and Andy Fluke.||?|
|Last changes added on Saturday, December 29, 2001 6:31 PM||?|