With the launch of the Potomac Highlands Volunteer Center, Tucker Community Foundation’s aims to match volunteers and organizations in need of service. This new program is run on an online platform, WVVolunteers.com.
On the platform, volunteers can browse the needs of local organizations in order to choose a need that fits their specific interests. Volunteers can also build a volunteer resume.
“It’s an easy way to keep track of their service, for volunteer hours, scholarship requirements, or for work or court mandated volunteer hours,” Volunteer Center Coordinator Casey Gilbert said. “This is a way for anyone to see what they’ve done to keep it all in one place.
The volunteer center serves as an avenue for organizations to keep their relationships with volunteers organized and streamlined. “Through the website, organizations have the ability to post and share volunteer opportunities and events, access valuable data and reach potential volunteers across the entire Potomac Highlands region,” Gilbert said in a press release.
“I think one of the biggest benefits is organizations will have access to all of this data, such as how many volunteer hours are completed. There is the monetary feature as well, that converts volunteer hours to how much their contributing economically,” Gilbert said. This monetary feature can prove useful for grant proposals Gilbert said.
The website lowers the stress and hassle organizations often face when it comes to finding volunteers, which makes recruiting and connecting with volunteers easier, the press release stated.
After a volunteer responds to a need, the organization is notified of the filled request.
“The Volunteer Center will help foster these connections to improve volunteer retention and community impact,” the press release stated.
Volunteer opportunities will be available throughout the Foundation’s service area, including Barbour, Grant, Mineral, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, and Tucker counties. Their service area also includes Garrett County, Maryland.
Organizations such as The Friends of the Blackwater, Elkins Depot Welcome Center, and the Elkins-Randolph County Public Library already posted their needs on the platform.
The program began with funding from Volunteer West Virginia. The Foundation was one of eight recipients of Volunteer Generation Funding to promote the “Be Kind, #VolunteerWV” initiative. The campaign aims to spread kindness and volunteerism across the state.
The volunteer center plans to offer special workshops and training sessions in the future. There are also plans to coordinate a volunteer-tourism reach with the Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Maybe visitors can spend an hour or two of their stay planting flowers on the sidewalk, that may help them want to come back,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan. She was hired in June to begin work on the volunteer center. She is also working for the City of Buckhannon as their Volunteer Center Coordinator.