How do we say thank you for this year?
Every year our hard working volunteer coordinator (Curt) looks for creative solutions to recognize volunteers during volunteer appreciation week, and this year we landed a little late as the added challenges of the pandemic have impacted our program and volunteers in many ways, meaning, we have to rethink everything we do, including recognizing the people who are working with us in new and different ways.
How do we say thank you in a year like this? I honestly would not know where to begin. However, I think what might be a very good place is to share with you some of the very powerful math we gathered this year, regarding the volunteer contribution at Klinic to our crisis services, where our volunteers began. With pandemic restrictions in place regarding social distancing impacting our ability to have volunteers on site for both training and shifts, our volunteer resources in 2020 fell to an all time low that we know will take several years to rebuild. However, we also know we will rebuild, as recovery is a part of this journey that we are on together.
What did we learn? A volunteer that volunteers for a full year on the crisis lines (52 weeks) at 4 hours per week (average) contributes almost $10,000 per year to Klinic in time. Pre-Covid our volunteer contingent was 168 people which equaled an approximate volunteer contribution of $1,584,744 to Klinic’s crisis line services annually. That is an incredible contribution. I also know these numbers are nothing compared to the lives that they change by being here. They tell only one part of the story of compassion and dedication we see here at Klinic. In the coming months we will be working hard with some of the new resources we have been able to garner to ensure this continues to be a critical part of Klinic crisis services.
We also have had the chance to learn whole new areas where volunteers can make a difference with Welcome Volunteers joining our team!! Our Welcome Volunteers offer support and assistance in providing connection, screening, and resources to visitors, clients, and community members who visit our building, enabling us to continue to provide care to people who visit us for in-person care and access other services. This includes emergency food and clothing supplies, harm reduction items, a kind hello, and a friendly face (behind a medical mask and protective eye shield). These volunteers enthusiastically and gladly embrace their role (while wearing extremely warm PPE) and are changing how Klinic works every day, and we are so extremely grateful.
In my time at Klinic one of the most inspiring experiences I have been able to be a part of, quite regularly, is introducing myself to someone new and then hearing in response, ‘I used to volunteer at Klinic!’ Always with enthusiasm. It reminds me that this place that we are in, is filled with a history of warmth and generosity. This is especially important right now, as this time we are in has challenged us all to continue to find these things everyday (for ourselves and others). We all need very basic human compassion and systems of care that offer us help when we need it.
Thank you to all of you that help Klinic be a part of that offering, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.