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5 Volunteering Tips from Carlisle’s CommServ Leading Ladies

On March 1, 2017, Dickinson hosted four local women who lead Carlisle-area Non-Profits. Present were Trinette Ream of the the Carlisle Salvation Army, Elaine Livas of Project SHARE, Robin Scaer of the YWCA of Carlisle and Safronia Perry of Hope Station. Each woman related the work that her organization does and shared her personal story. They made the following points about their experiences serving the community and their advice for college students looking to get involved with community service.

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 “People are starving to be heard” -Elain Livas (Project SHARE)

All of the women speaking at the event were emphatic about the value of listening to the people you are trying to serve, rather than jumping in with a ‘solution’ that doesn’t actually address their problems. They suggested trying to learn what the community needs, and then figuring out a relevant solution. Additionally, they reminded that it is often more efficient to partner with an existing organization that addresses the cause you are passionate about, instead of creating an overlapping program that potentially competes with community members who are already trying to tackle the issue.

 

“Consistency is the big thing” -Safronia Perry, Hope Station

Consistency is essential when serving the community. Ms. Perry, whose work deals primarily with providing education, food, and programming for Carlisle’s youth, emphasized how damaging fleeting ‘help’ can be to the kids’ ability to trust. She explained that long-lasting results come from long-lasting commitment. Ms. Scaer identified a similar issue: when volunteers or community organizers lose interest after a few months of trying to help the community. “It’s not a quick fix,” she reminded.

 

“Do not underestimate contacts” -Robin Scaer, YWCA Carlisle

As the women walked students though their career paths in the non-profit sector, a common theme became clear- the importance of creating and maintaining connections. Ms. Perry recounted how meaningfully interacting with the community helped land her a job at Hope Station.  Additionally, these women pointed out the value of internships and study abroad experiences as means of developing passions.

 

“Follow the [application] directions” -Trinette Ream, Salvation Army

Ms. Ream said that when hiring for The Salvation Army, she narrows down the applicant pool by who did and who didn’t follow all of the application instructions. When asked about what they look for in job candidates, each of the women echoed that they wanted employees who engage with the world, pay attention to detail, and are passionate about the job at hand. “I ask you what the last book you read is,” Ms. Livas mentioned, saying how she looks for creativity and involvement. They highlighted the importance of cover letters and thank you notes when applying for jobs as well as the ability to enthusiastically connect and build relationships.

 

“There is a special place in Hell for women who do not help other women.” -Madeline Albright

Ms. Scaer quoted Madeline Albright, former US Secretary of State, and encouraged women to look out for one another in all aspects of life. As all collegiettes know, it’s important to stand by one another. These Carlisle leaders reiterated how important it is to build each other up rather than tearing one another down.

 

The Dickinson students in attendance at the “Non-Profit Leadership: Lessons from the Community” event were fortunate to hear from such inspiring mentors. To learn more about the organization these women lead, check out the following websites:

Carlisle YWCA: http://www.ywcacarlisle.org/

Hope Station: http://www.hopestationcarlisle.org/

Project Share: https://projectsharepa.org/

The Salvation Army Carlisle: http://pa.salvationarmy.org/Carlisle

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