National Volunteer Week is April 7-13, 2019. We here at the YMCA of Greater Richmond wanted to take this time to highlight some of our amazing volunteers.
We spoke with John Rolfe Family YMCA Committee Member, Glenn Wilson, who shared his Volunteer Story with us.
Glenn Wilson – John Rolfe Family YMCA Togetherhood Committee Member
Q: Can you tell us about yourself?
A: I have lived in Richmond off and on since 1973, while living in Chicago for a few years as well. We moved into the West End area and still live there today. In 1960 I married the love of my life and have been happily married since. We have three sons, one of which has passed due to his service as a Lieutenant in the Navy and Commander of Seal Team 2. We have 6 grandchildren and I’m an active member of many community groups, especially though my church, Reveille United Methodist.
Q: How did you come to volunteer at the Y?
A: I was a member at the John Rolfe Y and then I joined the Togetherhood committee. Our team wanted to connect more with churches and organizations that were already doing something that the Y could supplement, rather than us going out and creating something new. We heard through a local church about a day where they were giving away Christmas trees to families in the area who may need help and we thought it was a great opportunity to get involved. Our Y members also got involved by donating ornaments. Now we’ve decided we’d like to participate in this event every year. Our Togetherhood committee has also worked with our members to provide food for a local high school’s food closet.
Q: What makes your Y volunteer opportunity special?
A: It’s the personal touch that it has and that you’re able to get closely involved in assisting the community. You see the benefits of what you’re doing, and you see it quick. You’re helping people in your own backyard.
Q: What’s something you hope individuals you interact with at the Y take away from this experience?
A: There are so many good people in our community and once they recognize the need, they’re very willing to jump in and help. So many people think that because the West End area is more affluent that means our community doesn’t need anything, but it’s not true. There are people in every community that need help.
People view the Y as a workout facility, and they come to work out and don’t even realize that the Y is doing so much more. Our big challenge is to get people to recognize all of the programs that our Y is doing to get involved in our community and it’s fun when I get to see people connect to the bigger mission.
Q: What’s something you’re taking away from this volunteer experience?
A: The gratification and satisfaction of seeing change so quickly. It’s amazing to see how many people are willing to help.
Q: What would you say to people interested in volunteering for the Y?
A: Call. There’s always a need. You can do a lot of things without a whole lot of time or a whole lot of money of money. You don’t have to have thousands of dollars or weeks of free time, you just need to step in when your community needs you. Once you’re involved a little bit you begin thinking of bigger things we can be doing, and it doesn’t take a lot. If we just get five more people to help, those people can touch five others and then we’ll start to see big changes.
National Volunteer Week is April 7-13, 2019. Consider celebrating with one of our many opportunities at the YMCA. Find the perfect opportunity for you here.