By: Erica Ankney, Venture Outdoors Intern
Why is volunteering important? Why is breathing important – because breathing is a fundamental human process that allows us to take oxygen from the atmosphere around us and adhere that oxygen to our red blood cells so that those red blood cells can deliver energy to our bodies. Like breathing is a vital human process so is volunteering a vital nonprofit process.
I began volunteering the summer before my senior year in high school and continue to volunteer with multiple organizations still. The main reason that I began to volunteer the summer before my senior year of high school was because as part of the graduation requirements all students had to complete 20 hours of community service in correlation with a job shadowing experience of 20 hours. Volunteering only became more important the fall of my senior year in my pursuit of acceptance into a college or university. When I committed to a small, private liberal arts college with a heavy prevalence for Greek life I would start the most enjoyable series of volunteering tasks that I have ever known. As a member of Kappa Alpha Theta each sister is expected to complete four philanthropy hours and six community service hours per semester. Most individuals wonder why there is a distinction between philanthropy and community service if they both just mean volunteering. Well, let me explain; philanthropy is the donation of goods or money whereas community service is the donation of time. Both of these are only two sections of the bigger picture that is volunteering and they’re both very important. We had to volunteer at least 10 hours and choose different organizations, clubs, or causes. Through my involvement with Kappa Alpha Theta I realized that I love to volunteer.
Little did I know that what started out as a check box towards a high school diploma would turn into a journey of helpfulness that would end with an internship in the world of nonprofits. The summer before my junior year in college I was fortunate enough to work as the communications and marketing intern for a local Pittsburgh nonprofit, Venture Outdoors. Working with Venture Outdoors has given me huge insight on different options for volunteering around the greater Pittsburgh area and I can’t wait to bring back this resource to my college campus. Volunteering with Venture Outdoors is rewarding, like all volunteering, and it’s actually so fun that you don’t realize you’re not just on an outing yourself. One experience I had this summer was working a bike tire bowling booth at the Wigle Whiskey Distillery’s annual Tar and Feather Event! This opportunity was my first experience of getting out of the office with Venture Outdoors and my first time really getting to spend time with the other interns from the office. It was a great experience that I know I never would have stumbled upon if it wasn’t for Venture Outdoors. If you’re interested in the outdoors, being active, Pittsburgh culture, or nonprofits in general I suggest you check out Venture Outdoors and some of their partners and see how you can get outside and get involved in your area!