Introducing the Barrington Area Volunteer Connection, a match-making system where you can find your passion and make a difference in the lives of others, as well as your own, with a nearly limitless source of local volunteer opportunities.
Be the Change
The Barrington Area Development Council (BADC) is a nonprofit civic organization that has helped identify needs and assisted in the formation of numerous community initiatives since 1966. BADC Director Bob Lee had been nurturing an idea about making it easier and more efficient to help citizens in the greater Barrington area connect with the numerous nonprofits and service
“Seventeen percent of people who meet online end up getting married,” Bob Lee said. “The personal connections are made quicker, and last longer,” he said about the function of online dating sites for making connections. “If we take the format of how people meet people today, online, can we relate that to connecting potential volunteers and nonprofits together?” Lee believes it will work and gathered support to make the Barrington Area Volunteer Connection (BAVC) a reality. A vibrant committee has been working all year with success on its launch.
The Year That Changed Us
The year 2020 was about flattening the curve, but the result of heavy restrictions in gatherings of any kind also flattened the social fabric and activity of our community, especially for the nonprofits. Gala fundraisers, committee meetings, and service hours were canceled or leveled. Innovative and creative workarounds popped up to meet and keep the vital services of nonprofits happening. Giving volunteers and nonprofits access to the BAVC platform, which is hosted and maintained by the Barrington Area Library, could not have arrived at a better time to help rebuild and facilitate volunteer connections that are vital to everyone’s quality of life.
BAVC is built on an existing software program to foster connections. But is not just a searchable database of organizations that volunteers can use to pinpoint their interests and personal passions. The program—for which more than 70 vital local charities have already signed up for and been trained on—offers much more. For some charities, BAVC offers a “back office” functionality for easy record-keeping of volunteer hours accrued. In additional to the outreach functions available, the BAVC program can aid groups in seeking new board members, reach a much wider audience, offer shift reminders and other touchpoint communications, and bring visibility to nonprofits. Cross-pollination of leadership methods and knowledge will be a bonus.
The BAVC committee has worked diligently since January 2020 to develop the idea and test the waters with local nonprofits to gauge their member’s interest. The response has been universally positive, and the database is filling with a remarkable variety of service opportunities for the public and high school students (13 and up) who benefit from gaining service hour credits. A mobile app is available to make connecting easier.
Local Ambassadors have been fostering the adoption of BAVC with volunteers and members of the Barrington area nonprofit community. Ambassadors will use tools such as social media and the BAVC website to encourage volunteers to connect. They will also assist with training for the nonprofits to help them learn the software and its functionality.
Perhaps the best benefit in this ambitious initiative is the improved health that volunteers receive when they engage, connect, and find something that works for them. Bob Lee is as passionate about this known aspect of volunteering as he is about launching BAVC. “Studies show that people feel and function better physically and mentally, and even lengthen their lifespan, when they find something special to do that they are passionate about,” he said.
BAVC offers a model that creates value for the volunteers, charitable and service groups, and the recipients of those heartfelt services—whether it be an elderly person, a family in need, creating opportunities for children, protecting animal welfare, providing youth education, special needs support, or environmental best practices for Mother Nature. Here, everybody wins.
You are encouraged to participate as a volunteer in the community by going to thebavc.org to register as a volunteer. See what inspires you to get involved!
Read the full article here.
Published January 2021 by Quintessential Barrington in Barrington, Illinois.