A warm first hello to you!

Spring is here… gardening anyone?

A warm first hello to you!

I am the new Manager, Community Engagement Strategy, for Volunteer MBC.   In the next few months, I would like to share with you some of what I’ve learned in my 14 years of working with volunteers, and how this has impacted my life and contributed to my personal and professional growth. There have been roadblocks (and yes, even failures), but all experiences have been formative in a positive way, and I have never been more passionate about leading volunteers.

I am eager to get to know you face-to-face, but in the meantime I thought I would share with you something I enjoy very much—gardening! Planting my own vegetables, herbs and flowers is something I enjoy very much. Spring has sprung and I am preparing to work in my community garden plot; this made me think about how leading volunteers relates to gardening. 

When creating a garden we need good soil to start with. We carefully choose our vegetables or flowers, and make sure that the seeds are planted at the right time. We water them, tend to them, and keep the weeds under control. Finally, we get to the best part—the harvest. And then we celebrate!

“As leaders we need to be more like gardeners than manufacturers. We need to grow, instead of make, people.  When we want to grow tomatoes, we plant tomatoes, we plant tomato seeds, carefully choose the right soil and place and then we take good care of them. We don’t make tomatoes, we allow them to grow.” (Author unknown)

As volunteer leaders, we are called to be people-growers. We are called to enable volunteers not only to participate but to succeed. To “enable” means having confidence in a volunteer’s potential. It means sharing knowledge, information, and expectations. It means supporting volunteers and caring enough to provide them with honest feedback—to help them grow, as in the garden.

In my years of working with volunteers, helping them to grow in their capacity to contribute to their community has been one of my most fulfilling accomplishments.

Are you a people grower?

Stay tuned... we will soon explore the topic of screening— mastering interviewing skills (or how to pick the right seeds for the garden).

Whenever we lead volunteers, we are called to enable them to grow and contribute. It’s a challenging but extremely rewarding role. According to Marlene Wilson; “We are responsible for the world’s most precious resource- people power!”

Please feel free to reach out to me at any time to chat, discuss any topic or ask any questions. You can find me at 902 238 2622ext 224 or jdepaz@volunteermbc.org .

- Writer, Julia De Paz , Manager, Community Engagement Strategy