(Chelsea Update would like to thank Amy Heydlauff for the information in this story.)
In 2011, more than 64 million Americans volunteered. You were probably one of them. We volunteer in our schools, religious institutions, officially as business and government leaders and unofficially when we lend a hand to help a neighbor.
We volunteer through service organizations like Rotary, as a 4-H, girl scouts, boy scouts or other youth leader, as a coach, honor guard for military funerals, in political campaigns and so many other ways.
Often we’re volunteering without even thinking of ourselves as volunteers – like joining with others to deliver meals to a family in crisis.
Potential volunteers in Chelsea, and the organizations they serve, have a new opportunity to connect. That’s right connect. As in the Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation’s vision element: “Residents of our service area will connect with others in healthy ways.”
Chelsea now has a web-based clearinghouse for local volunteers and organizations seeking volunteer assistance. The project paves the way for volunteer matching with far less effort than in the past.
Here’s how it works. Go to www.chelseamich.com, Chelsea’s very comprehensive website for residents and visitors, alike. On the toolbar across the top click on Community. Then click on Volunteer opportunities.
Chelsea District Library’s Assistant Director Linda Ballard tells us “It’s really quite easy to navigate. We worked to make it easy.”
Once you get there, you’ll have an opportunity to identify the kind volunteering you’d like to do. The site will help you sort so you only have to look at those opportunities that appeal to you. You can select your areas of interest from a lengthy list of options like youth, arts, health, transportation and others.
And, there will be a Volunteer Portal ribbon cutting during the Chelsea Spring Expo on Saturday, April 13. The official ceremony begins at 1 p.m. at the Washington Street Education Center.
There, attendees will have an opportunity to test drive the portal and enjoy some refreshments.
If you’re already involved with a Chelsea service group or non-profit that hasn’t posted their opportunities in the volunteer portal, we hope you’ll encourage them to do so.
Thanks to the Chelsea Senior Center, Chelsea District Library, Silver Maples of Chelsea, the Chamber of Commerce and the Chelsea Wellness Coalition for the idea, development and implementation of this important project as part of their 5H Comprehensive Wellness Plan.
One last thing about volunteering. Those age 55 and older who volunteer or would like to volunteer can become members of a Washtenaw County group called RSVP, or Senior Volunteer Program. Even if you are already volunteering and aren’t interested in any more commitments or plan to connect through the Chelseamich volunteer portal, you can benefit from being a member.
RSVP provides accident & liability insurance for volunteers who are on the job. The program also offers training opportunities, service recognition and newsletters. They are interested in keeping track of the hours volunteers serve, as well. You can connect with RSVP by calling 734-712-3625.