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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday In the Life - Volunteer!

Volunteer – meet new people, build stronger communities.

Is life just about going to work and then going home and sitting in front of the TV?  With the economy being what it is – not good – there is a lot of negative talk every where.  People want to blame someone, something, but don’t seem to want to do anything to change it.

So why not do something positive and volunteer? I have yet to find an organization that says that they have too many volunteers.  The MN Literacy Council has pre-service training for ESL tutors twice a month, I was told that they average about 30 students for each class, and they still wish that they had more volunteers.

Not sure what you could volunteer for?  Check out volunteer opportunities on the internet.   

I looked at and found 1716 volunteer opportunities within a 20 mile radius of Minneapolis.  They range from giving manicures to senior residents, letter writing , bingo assistants, Wii gaming experts, sewers to help mend clothes, it seems whatever your skills there is something that you can help with.

It is even more important now when services are being cut due to lack of funding that people get out and get more involved in their communities.  If you have children get them involved too. 

My daughter volunteered at the MN Historical Society* when she was in high school.  She did activities for small children, cataloging & organizing artifacts and other projects. They had a family weekend where we sorted documents from WWI. By volunteering she was able to do go to the exhibits and learn how important volunteers are to organizations like this and got an idea of some of the things that go on behind the scenes in a museum.
VOLUNTEER, have fun, share your skills.
*The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution created by the Territorial Legislature in 1849 as one of its first acts, even before statehood. Its essence is to illuminate the past as a way to shed light on the future. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. 
The Minnesota Historical Society preserves collections that tell the story of Minnesota through the ages. Some artifacts are thousands of years old. Many items predate the history of the state itself. Included are:
  • 176,712 Books
  • 70,369 Periodicals
  • 166,700 Pamphlets
  • 353,178 Photographs
  • 1,437 Sound Recordings
  • 1,114 Films and Videos
  • 19,277 Maps and 2,027 Atlases
  • 6,072 Art Works
  • 1,783 Oral History Interviews
  • 4,139 Newspaper Titles; Newspapers are on 69,484 Microfilm Reels
  • 36,538 cubic feet of Manuscripts, 5,922 Microfilm Reels
  • 54,743 cubic feet of State Archives, 11,853 Microfilm Reels
  • 232,456 Historical Objects
  • 1,152,504 Archeological Artifacts
Since 2001, the Society's budget has been reduced by about $5 million per year, or approximately 18%. (In FY 2003, the state appropriation for MHS was $27,395,000. In FY 2005, that appropriation was $22,280,000.)
In 2010 more than 2,300 volunteers contributed 48,335 hours in 32 programs with 129 staff coordinating volunteers.  For the first time, the value of volunteer contributions exceeded $1 million, equivalent to 23 full-time employees. This value is calculated using data developed by the Independent Sector

If you are in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and have never visited the MN Historical Society I urge you to check it out.  It might be more interesting then you think!  Really!  I am not a big museum goer and I enjoyed it.  I even got to see Prince's purple coat!

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