Nov 18, 2015
by Mel Monkelis
These days, with social media and texting, it's a wonder some folks have time for anything else. I often hear comments that today's young crowd cannot even socialize face-to-face, and would rather spend the evening at home in front of their own personal 60 inch wide monitor playing some mindless (War Lords, Witchcraft, etc.) video game. I'm here to tell you that I've run into different youth. Youth that are invested in their future, invested in social change, invested in being part of the solution and not simply complaining about the problems. We're involved with a group of students from the local colleges, Middle Schools and High Schools, who are fascinated by this new way to look at volunteering.
This is the second year now that the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County will be offering a Dream-Design-Create program. This program encourages youth to dream up a volunteer project that is not being done right now. Design this project around some focus issues, and then go out and actually create it with colleagues and friends. The Dream-Design-Create program looks at volunteerism in a different light than what we're used to. For the past 100 plus years, the volunteer model has been to let staff at a non-profit put out a list of tasks that need to be completed, then recruit people who want to do those tasks. This model works and is in use everywhere. But there might be another model out there…
A different approach to volunteerism is this: Ask a person what they would do if they could change something that needed attention, like a community need around an issue (i.e., homelessness, tutoring, and more….). The Dreamer plans out their project, creates something that can be accomplished in 2-6 months. That person also recruits friends and others to be a part of this endeavor. Someone else supplies the funds for the materials. This is exactly what the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County is proposing for a second year in a row. Last year, we gave out $5,000 and the results were outstanding, and can be seen here: www.WhatcomVolunteer.org/Dream
This year, we are giving away over $9,000.00. In addition, there are community needs that have been identified that are the new focus areas of the program. We think folks can still dream….just dream within the boundaries of community needs.
These focus areas are:
The whole point of this program is to deliver a message that young people have fantastic ideas, and if we simply let them implement these ideas, we will be well on our way to seeing these young adults turn into the future leaders of this country. Help this dream become a reality by sharing this with your sons, daughters, grandkids, neighbors, and anyone else you can think of.
Go to: www.WhatcomVolunteer.org/Dream and submit your idea. Deadline to submit ideas is January 1, 2016.
----- Mel Monkelis, Volunteer Center of Whatcom County