Last summer I met Kristy and spent time getting to know her. We talked about her goals for the future. Kristy wants to move into an apartment with a roommate. She enjoys spending time with her friends and watching wrestling. Kristy would like to get a job. Working in an office appeals to her, as does news reporting. She is a big fan of Channel 3 news. After learning more about Kristy, we worked together to find places in the community where she could get more involved based on her interests. Last fall, Kristy started volunteering for two different organizations. One day a week she goes to the Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run office. Another day each week, she goes to the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan office to volunteer. I recently sat down with Kristy and asked her about her volunteer experiences.
When I asked Kristy how her friends would describe her, she said they would say she is independent. “I can do stuff on my own.” She said her favorite part about volunteering is the people that she works with in the two organizations. She enjoys the works she does, too, such as filing, sorting, and labeling envelopes. “I feel good about it,” Kristy shared with me.
I asked her if she thinks her volunteering experiences will be helpful to her as she looks for paid employment. She believes that her experience using Metro County Connect to go into the community will make it easier for her when she has a job. Kristy occasionally used Metro County Connect before she started volunteering, but over the last nine months, she has taken on the responsibility of scheduling her own rides and making sure she is in the right place at the right time to meet the Metro van every week.
As Kristy is applying for jobs and going for interviews, she will be able to draw on her volunteer experiences as evidence of her strengths and skills. Not only will she be able to tell about the work she has been doing, but she will have strong references from the community who will be able to speak directly to the skills she has to offer an employer. She has expanded her community circles, learned new skills and increased her confidence. Kristy feels good about what she is doing right now, and looks forward to the opportunities that are in her future.