Tuesday, January 11, 2011

You Could be the next Educational Program Assistant at the Women's Center

As many of you know, and more will find out tonight at CVN's Monthly Meetup, I am leaving my position as the County Liaison for Community Volunteer Network.  My last day is January 21st.  Not only am I leaving CVN and Volunteer Arlington, but I am leaving the area, to take a year long volunteer road trip, so I must give up my own volunteer commitments as well.  One of those commitments is as a volunteer for the Women's Center in Vienna, VA.  I have volunteered for them as an Educational Program Assistant for a few months now and have really enjoyed the position.  It is the perfect volunteer role for someone that enjoys learning new things and having an independent volunteer role.  This could be you!


As an Educational Program Assistant, I would arrive 30 minutes before the training to prepare the room, welcome the presenter, and register attendees.  The Women's Center offers regular trainings on many different topics from resume building to preparing for a divorce.  The trainings are held in theevenings or on weekends in a few different locations around northern Virginia (particularly in Vienna, Manassas, McLean, Arlington, Fairfax, and Sterling).  Most are 2-3 hours, so the volunteer commitment is 3-4 hours.


Online Volunteer Connection logoI found this volunteer opportunity through Volunteer Arlington's Online Volunteer Connection (OVC) and contacted the Volunteer Coordinator using the OVC.  Check out the listing.   She then sent me an application and asked me to return it with a resume.  I met with her for a short interview and then reviewed the list of upcoming classes to see which ones were a good match for my schedule.


I enjoyed this experience because it was a chance for me to learn about a long-standing successful non-profit as well as attend classes for free.  I chose to volunteer for classes that interested me, such as Beating the Sugar Blues and Successful Resume Essentials.  These are classes I would not have taken otherwise, but I always learned something new.  The class participants were very engaged in the topics and the small intimate classroom setting allowed for a lot of discussion.

Two challenges I experienced were traffic and turnover.  The Women's Center building in Vienna is located right in the heart of Vienna, which can be a nightmare during rush hour.  The best work around was when it was warmer out I biked to the training using the WO&D trail which runs 1 block away from the center.  The second challenge was that soon after I started volunteering, the Volunteer Coordinator position changed hands.  Since I volunteer after hours, I have never had a chance to meet the new volunteer coordinator.  The transition was smooth in terms of getting the support that I needed (they prepare a folder ahead of time for you), but I feel a bit disconnected.

Check out a previous blog post, Lifelong Learner: A Volunteer Vocation, from September 2010 about volunteering at the Women's Center.

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