The Rapidian

Volunteering Enhances Communities and Connections

Volunteers, residents, and communities come together to beautify places and meet new faces at volunteer functions.
A group of volunteers from GMB Engineering and Architects celebrate after Property Days at Grandville Homes in SW GR.

A group of volunteers from GMB Engineering and Architects celebrate after Property Days at Grandville Homes in SW GR.

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Celebrate volunteers at "Giving is Growing" appreciation event!

"Work for a cause, not for applause" is a phrase that has long been used to describe the importance of volunteering. But this summer, Dwelling Place volunteers are in fact applauded for their work at a celebration called "Giving Is Growing" on Thursday, August 8th from 5:30 to 8:00pm. The event will take place at St. James Apartments and Townhomes, 750 1st Street NW. The theme the event comes from the gardens and landscapes that volunteers beautify. Their work enriches the lives of hundreds of Dwelling Place residents! Check out the event on Facebook and RSVP by emailing [email protected].

DP Volunteer Coordinator Amy Henderson and DP Property Manager Roslyn Shackelford after Property Days at Reflections Apartments.

DP Volunteer Coordinator Amy Henderson and DP Property Manager Roslyn Shackelford after Property Days at Reflections Apartments.

Volunteers from Bike and Build clean out Ferguson Apartments during Property Days so the building can undergo renovations.

Volunteers from Bike and Build clean out Ferguson Apartments during Property Days so the building can undergo renovations.

“Being a volunteer feels like you are something bigger than yourself," shares Grace, community member and recent Dwelling Place volunteer while reflecting on her experiences as part of a community improvement volunteer event at St. James Apartments on the west side of Grand Rapids. As Volunteer Coordinator at City Built Brewing Company, Grace recognizes the impact of volunteering on the community and the volunteers themeselves. Volunteer projects open doors and, she adds, "by influencing other people, we help them find something they would love.” Dwelling Place volunteers leave a mark on the residents and staff that they work alongside during volunteer projects. 

Volunteering with Dwelling Place has helped residents in many positive ways beyond supporting property improvements. "Volunteering has created friendships. The volunteers are easy to talk to and they are approachable, " says Romana, a Dwelling Place resident. "I like to talk to them and let them know what’s happening.”  Ramona is just one of the many residents who believes it is important for residents to connect with volunteers because it encourages them to try something new. When residents and volunteers step out of their comfort zones and interact, the impact dives to a much deeper level. Both have the opportunity to connect with people outside of their personal network and build relationships in communities. 

Volunteers help support Dwelling Place staff by working at various properties to complete beautification projects, making a tangible difference in the community. Amy Henderson, Volunteer Coordinator at Dwelling Place, has launched a full-scale volunteer program, open to residents and community members. Henderson saw the need for extra hands as an opportunity to have volunteers give back to Dwelling Place communities and make new connections with residents. 

Two residents from Villa Esperanza, a Dwelling Place community in Wyoming, met for the first time during a volunteer event and said they made “life-long friends.” Sarah, one of the residents, remarked, “what the volunteers are doing is amazing, and the overall concept of volunteerism is about connecting with other people and seeing the kindness that is given to you.”

If you are ever hesitant to go out and volunteer, Dwelling Place volunteer Jake offers words of encouragement: “Just do it! People who want to volunteer are all good people. There is no reason to be afraid to try something out of your comfort zone.” Volunteering not only for Dwelling Place but for any organization or cause; it can offer a sense of personal satisfaction. There is so much pride in finding purpose in the community!  If you want to start volunteering or find a new place to express your skills and interests, Dwelling Place is always looking for new faces! Here is some inspirational food for thought from Dwelling Place’s Volunteer desk: "Live life to express, not to impress."

With a mission to improve the lives of people by creating quality affordable housing, providing essential support services and serving as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization, Dwelling Place serves families and people in 4 counties across West Michigan. Dwelling Place is powered by volunteers and numerous staff persons; guest writers create our Rapidian content. Special thanks to Hannah Rice for her contribution of this piece. Hannah is a Volunteer Coordinator Intern at Dwelling Place. She is a senior at the University of Dayton and studies Sociology with a Social Work minor.

 

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