CPDC and Communities Together. Growing and Thriving (2011 – Present)
Tribute #20 – Our Volunteer Engagement: Creating Mutually Beneficial Experiences for Volunteers and Communities
Volunteerism became a vital component of CPDC’s engagement strategy following the formalization of the program in 2006. Through the process of carefully recruiting, screening, and training volunteers, CPDC is able to successfully match volunteers (and their diverse set of talents and skills) with the unique needs of each community. Since 2006, CPDC has leveraged over 100,000 hours in volunteer time (valued at more than $2,200,000) and continues to engage over 150 volunteers annually to support initiatives across each of our five impact areas: economic development, education, environment, health and wellness, and resident engagement.
Our volunteer base – two-thirds of which are the residents of CPDC communities – includes youth, seniors, community members and groups, AmeriCorps members, and professionals offering skill-based, pro-bono services.
In communities like Stony Brook in Alexandria, VA, youth volunteers started a series of programs designed to help adults increase their computer skills; foster awareness among residents on promising pest control practices; and raise money for their college education. Likewise, the youth at Mayfair Mansions and Wheeler Terrace, in Washington, DC, have dug into the community gardens and are learning nutrition, horticulture, and the value of hard work while contributing something of value to their communities.
Similarly, senior residents are taking ownership through volunteering in their communities. At The Overlook at Oxon Run, in Washington, DC, students were encouraged to strive for excellence when a group of senior residents at the property organized and held a “Back-to-School Celebration.” The event was designed to connect seniors and families in that community and to encourage the youth to strive for excellence by equipping them with much-needed school supplies. More than twenty families attended the celebration and close to 30 students received backpacks filled with school supplies.
Non-resident also volunteer in our communities, sharing their professional skills and personal passions. At the Residences at Wiley H. Bates, in Annapolis, MD, residents participate in a monthly poetry group facilitated by a former high school English teacher that wanted an opportunity to give back to his community. Likewise, a youth summer camp held at the Cedar Heights community in Washington, DC, included a volunteer-led aquatic program for kids.
Whether it’s young people planting a garden, senior residents hosting a school supply drive, or an English teacher sharing his talents and passions, volunteerism is an important strategy that CPDC uses to engage residents and build stronger communities. By being intentional about selecting and training volunteers; pairing their skills appropriately; and ensuring that residents and volunteers have a positive, mutually beneficial experience, CPDC and volunteers together, grow and thrive.