BUCKHANNON — Forget speed dating. The Buckhannon Volunteer Center’s Speed Volunteering event is the best way to find your perfect match. You get the perks of engaging with like-minded individuals without the pressure to buy chocolates and flowers.
The networking event will match local organizations with individuals in the community who might have an interest in volunteering. From 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, folks can mingle in a laid-back atmosphere at the Public Safety Complex.
“We wanted to make it engaging, so it’ll be a ‘speed dating’ style event, where each organization is stationed at their table, and the attendees will have five minutes to meet with the organization representatives, ask questions, learn what they’re all about and see if they think they’d be a good fit as a volunteer,” explained Casey Gilbert, the volunteer center’s coordinator. “They’ll make their way through each table until they’ve met with all organizations.”
Ultimately, the event’s objective is for organizations to obtain more volunteer help, but it’ll also be good for attendees to get together and learn about volunteering in the B-U community, Gilbert said.
The idea of Speed Volunteering initially came from former BVC coordinator Sarah Campbell.
“No concrete plans had been made when I took over, but I thought it was a great idea and wanted to go through with it. Callie Cronin-Sams, our WVWC Service Scholar Elizabeth Stover and I have been putting all of the details in place,” Gilbert said.
Participants can expect to learn a lot about the volunteer work that goes on every day in the community. The list of organizations currently registered includes LUV 4 Animals, American Red Cross, Upshur County Public Library, Literacy Volunteers of Upshur County, United Way of Gilmer, Lewis and Upshur, Buckhannon Community Garden, Buckhannon City Police VIPS, St. Joseph Hospital Auxiliary, West Virginia Wesleyan College WE LEAD Poverty Reduction Team and Upshur County Relay for Life.
Throughout the event, each organization will talk about what their volunteers do and how they help the community.
“So whether a participant is interested in tutoring, dog-walking, gardening, one-time opportunities or a long-term commitment, they should be able to find a good match,” Gilbert said. “It will also, hopefully, remove some of the intimidation that comes with not knowing how or where to start, especially if you’re new to the community.”
Overall, Gilbert said she hopes the organizations leave with new volunteers.
“But if not, I hope the participants leave with an appreciation for the work being done by these organizations, a clearer understanding of what it means to be one of their volunteers, and the desire to get involved in some way,” she added.
The event is completely free. There is still plenty of space, and people can RSVP at this link: https://buckhannonwv.galaxydigital.com/event/detail/?event_id=53647.
When folks RSVP, they will be asked what interests they have and causes they care about. With that information, Gilbert said she can point them in the right direction.
“Even if there’s not an organization represented at the event that works for them, I guarantee there is something they’d enjoy doing as a volunteer in the community,” she said.
If an organization is in need of volunteers, they can register at this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdXjLV4U6WvBbksz9B7pwRV3ucb5wTOIDIHd6S1GN0WUSVyhw/viewform?usp=sf_link
By attending Speed Volunteering, Gilbert said participants are not committing to any particular volunteer opportunity.
“This event is for them to learn about our local organizations and see what opportunities are available,” she said. “If someone can find a placement that they’re actually passionate about or allows them to share their talents, all parties will benefit. Volunteering can be a great resume builder, helps you meet new friends and strengthens the community as a whole.”