“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Ghandi
So many of us arrive in St. Petersburg, later in life, having left the security of a profession, as well as, the support of family and friends, behind, in search of…a purpose, our passion, or a party. For many, OLLI @ Eckerd College has provided all three. In my first two years as the Logistics/Volunteer Coordinator, I have been told over and over again what a difference OLLI has made in our member’s lives. And it just so happens that those who speak of it most are members who have chosen to become OLLI volunteers.
There are many ways to volunteer within the OLLI @ Eckerd College organization. To get a feel for things, a number of individuals choose a day and time in the Call Center. Those volunteers are usually cross-trained to not only man the Call Center, but also take on special roles helping Kay Cole with registration processing or me (Ann Jones) with compiling and reporting the information captured on our OLLI course, trip, or special event Evaluations. Class Assisting and Trip Leading and Assisting are volunteer roles reserved for members only, and require some extra training and shadowing. The amazing volunteers at the Palm Harbor campus have been, and continue to be, key to its daily operations. Committee work and OLLI Advisory Council representation are also reserved for members, and allow those involved to share their special skills and expertise for the good of the organization. A simpler, but vital, activity is distribution of our catalogs several times a year.
In addition, OLLI volunteers are also able to expand their service to a number of other departments on the Eckerd campus. Not only do the volunteers help in other areas with their day-to-day operations such a phone work in the President’s or PEL offices, but we are frequently asked to assist with special events such as the James Center Opening, the ASPEC Gala, and the Eckerd College Graduation festivities every May. We also would like to get more involved with the students on campus, perhaps expanding the administrative work done by a couple of key volunteers for ELS to include interaction with the students on our own Special Programs area.
A new area of involvement for our OLLI volunteers off campus in the past year has included the Titanic Exhibit at the Mahaffey, the Craft Arts Fair in November, and the 3rd annual Homes for Heroes Street Fair in Pass-a-Grille in April. We are hoping to grow this aspect of our volunteer program in the future, and will be actively looking for new opportunities. We also will be looking for new organizations to be of service in mid and north Pinellas County as OLLI expands our programming in those areas.
So, as you can see, there is no shortage when it comes to volunteer opportunities offered by OLLI @ Eckerd College. If you are interested in learning more about them, please contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by dialing 727-864-8912. It may just be the answer in your search for self in your new and beautiful surroundings.