If you are new to the area or simply wondering how you might go about volunteering within our community, then you will want to check out the new website www.voluntersoffishers.org.
Jennifer Kehl, director of the organization, says it was started to “help other community events or not-for-profit organizations with volunteers who might be moving in or who are in the area match with prospective organizations that need volunteers.”
“People tend to call the town center, parks department or the chamber so the need to streamline into a central place was recognized,” she said.
The Mission of Volunteers of Fishers is to actively work and partner with individuals and organizations in the community in an effort to enrich and make a significant impact on the lives of our citizens and the success of our businesses.
Here’s how the website works: Potential volunteers can fill out a profile indicating how they would like to help out. Organizations also may fill out a profile listing the types of volunteers they are seeking. Organizations need to make a request at least 30 days ahead of when they need the volunteers, Kehl said.
Right now, the volunteer profile must be printed out and mailed or emailed to the website. Organizers are hoping this can be completed totally online soon, making the Volunteers of Fishers a mutual place for volunteers to connect with organizations in need.
One of the main objectives is to show a calendar of all of the organizations and the events or fundraisers in need of volunteers in one centralized place. The website also offers a feedback form so organizations can let Volunteers of Fishers know how they felt about the volunteer who was referred.
When we think of volunteering in Fishers, we automatically think of the Fishers Freedom Festival; however, there are many other local organizations in need of volunteers. For a non-profit organization or business (if 80 percent or more of the funding goes to a not-for-profit or charity in the state), using volunteers is a great resource.
It is important for both the volunteer and the organization needing volunteers to read the list of guidelines on the website. One such guideline states that it is the user’s responsiblity to conduct background checks if one is required. Unfortunately, we live in a time that dictates the use of background checks for many volunteer positions, so it is vital for the organization or company to do this on their own.
Also on the website is the opportunity to nominate a volunteer for the “William D. Kehl Jr. Volunteer of the Year” award. This award has great meaning because the namesake, Bill, was a part of the festival family. He was tragically killed in a car accident on Dec.13, 2006. Bill was Jennifer’s nephew. He was also her inspiration to link people together within the community.
Bill gave a tremendous amount of dedication to the Town of Fishers and the Fishers Freedom Festival. Bill had just turned 30 in November, and he left a young family behind with a wife and a son.
Volunteers of Fishers is looking for a volunteer that really projects the qualities that Bill demonstrated throughout his life. It should be a child or student who makes a difference in a not-for-profit organization and embodies the spirit of William, who “lived every day to the fullest, had a sense of humor, wanted to be the best at everything and had dedication to this community.”
Nominations for the award are due by May 1. A committee will determine who the recipient will be and will present the award during opening ceremonies of the Freedom Festival.
Looking at the website, you will be reminded of what Rev. Martin Luther King once said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’” Volunteers of Fishers is striving to do just that by building a stronger community and connecting volunteers with organizations in need.
For more information, visit www.volunteersoffishers.org or call the organization at 595-3195.