One thing Women’s Service Day volunteers are good at is networking. Maybe it’s because that’s one of the goals for the grassroots event, now in its eighth year. Or maybe because the type of people who volunteer in their community are networkers by nature.
One way Women’s Service Day encourages connection among participants (besides the interaction that occurs among work crews) is during breakfast, where everyone comes together before heading out to their assigned tasks. But this year the connection extended to the virtual world.
While volunteers have always been invited via e-mail to participate in Women’s Service Day, this year the planning crew tapped into social media networks. Now through a group on Facebook (called Women’s Service Day), it’s easier for participants to invite their sisters, mothers, daughters, coworkers, friends, and partners to join the event. And, the planning crew will continue to use this blog to communicate about the event.
Women's Service Day began in 2002 when a few women at Herman Miller--passionate about serving their community--volunteered to work on a Habitat house for a single mother. The group blossomed into a team of 50 women—more than one Habitat house could accommodate. Every year since, the planning crew has organized a day of volunteering specifically for women, establishing the following goals:
--To make a difference in our community—and have a great time doing so
--To increase awareness of issues for women and children in the West Michigan community
--To promote networking among women in our organization and community
While 93 women signed up this year to serve 12 non-profit organizations in West Michigan, one-third of them were caregivers, students, stay-at-home parents, self-employed, or worked for other organizations beyond Herman Miller. Social networking yields results!
The group also raised $1,000, which was donated to Holland Free Health Clinic, an organization that facilitates access to health care for those in need in the Holland-Zeeland community. And they donated a heap of clothing and supplies to Women's Resource Center in Grand Rapids for low-income women embarking on job interviews or reentering the workforce.
Next year, the planning crew hopes to expand its network even further. Do you know some women who would like to participate? Have them sign up online and we'll be sure to send them an e-mail invitation when it's time to register!