BVN’s October event was a Community Conversation at the Literacy Network on October 8th. BVN Members began with an engagement activity of writing thank you cards to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County (BBBS) volunteer mentors. They each wrote a handful of cards thanking the volunteers for being a mentor to their littles.

A panel of Dane County Nonprofit Agencies presented to the group on the impact of ongoing and long-term volunteer opportunities. Dedra Hafner from the Alumni Resource Center After College presented on their focus on helping kids with disabilities through college. She brought along three participants who have benefited from the program. They are looking for alumni mentors.

Sandy Morales, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters presented next. BBBS focuses on helping kids from low income, single parent households, foster care or who are facing instability. There are opportunities to become mentors for over 200 kids on the waitlist. There is also the need for volunteers to help in elementary and middle schools during the lunch hour or after school.

Kathleen Callen, coordinator at Americorps/Schools of Hope,  presented on how Schools of Hope focuses on literacy among elementary students. They help children with everything from learning their letters to reading comprehension. They are looking for volunteers to spend 1 hour a week working with students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Last up was Shawn Steen from Literacy Network. They are looking for tutors for one semester time commitments, but most stay longer. Literacy Network teaches reading, writing, communication and computer skills to Dane County adults. There is no need to know multiple languages as all tutoring is done in English. She ended the evening with sharing that, “when you volunteer you are not just changing someone else’s life…you are also changing your own.”

It was really great to hear from these different organizations and to hear of all the opportunities there are in our community to volunteer.