THE volunteer placement coordinators
Story by Charli Depner (2017)
“Its all about connections and possibilities,” says Holly Brownscombe, who co-chairs Ashby Village’s Volunteer Placement Team with her friend, Gloria Bayne. Well-trained, qualified volunteers are the engine that drives Ashby Village’s wide range of services to members, including social and cultural events, healthy living activities, care teams, communications, and a burgeoning program inspired by new ideas generated by members. The Volunteer Placement Team connects volunteers to assignments that use their talents; and new possibilities keep developing.
Volunteers include Village members, prospective members who want to get to know Ashby Village better, college students, people returning to school or considering a new occupation, retired folks and people who have an expertise they want to put to good use through community volunteering.
You don’t need a car to be a volunteer, since driving members who can no longer drive themselves is only one of the very-appreciated services that volunteers provide. They also assist with events, provide computer support, help in the office, gather and analyze data, write grants, create information brochures and packets, garden, handyperson, make social calls, walk dogs, provide information at street fairs, work on the Ashby Village Facebook pages, help with the newsletter and website, take photos, make video recordings, and serve as Med Pals accompanying members to medical visits.
Co-chair Holly Brownscombe, semi-retired from a career in Human Resources, put her skills to good use when she took on Ashby Village’s Volunteer Placement assignment. Holly’s first placement was a co-chair, her friend Gloria Bayne, who also has a background in Human Resources.
Placing the right volunteers for these assignments is the mission of Co-Chairs Holly Brownscombe and Gloria Bayne, who are putting their professional backgrounds in Human Resources to good use. “There’s a lot going on here!” Holly remembers thinking when she took the assignment. “How can we make volunteer placement even better?” Together they applied their professional lens to take a fresh look at Ashby Village’s volunteer matching process. “We knew that the volunteer training is recognized as excellent, designed to prepare volunteers for every aspect of their responsibilities. Each volunteer also leaves with a comprehensive handbook to consult as reference. We still debrief after every training to think about new ways to make sure volunteers feel comfortable and confident about what they are doing.”
The Placement Team moved on to a new challenge. “How can we build momentum by creating a path from training to personally meaningful assignments?” The solution was to work closely with Ashby Village staff and committee leaders to maintain a list of high priority volunteer assignments, ready to fill. If the team spots a good match, they can schedule a meeting at the training. “Volunteers can do as much or as little as they want.” Holly explains, “The important thing is to give it a try.”
“I like the feeling that I have about the village.” Holly observes, “People are always creating new activities, and new volunteers are always coming in; but we also want to circle back to trained volunteers to help them find their niche. We want to make sure that volunteers know about new options. We see it as connecting talent to community needs.”
UPDATE: Since 2018 Gloria has retired from the Placement Team and spends her time collaborating with the Member Support Team working on creating an up-to-date resource guide for members who need a hand.
If you are interested in volunteering, click the link for a Volunteer Application.