I had a heated discussion recently about why people “do good” for others. One side believed that the only reason people volunteer or participate to help other people is that it “makes them feel good about themselves.” Challenging this argument is the example of someone rushing into a burning building to save a person or animal. Chances are slim that they are thinking, “If I do this I will feel good about myself.” Something else is operating. This is an extreme example but people obviously do sometimes help others without a big personal payback in sight.
Giving something back is a big reason people volunteer. To believe in “Giving back” you have to believe that you personally have gotten something. Maybe the ambulance took your Mom (or you) to the hospital. Maybe the Food bank provided food to you or someone you care about. If you value education and see it has the hope for the future you might volunteer to weed whack at the High School. If you join an organization (or form an organization) that provides service to the community you will of course meet other “good” people which is a perk for sure and you probably will feel good about yourself too. The real motive is gratitude. When you feel fortunate in life it is natural to feel like passing good fortune along to others.
Here in Anderson Valley there are so many groups devoted to serving the community — it is an embarrassment of riches. These same groups also provide a chance to meet and perhaps become friendly with like-minded (although perhaps very different) people. A newcomer could find their way into “the swing of things” by picking a few volunteer opportunities.
Christine Clark whose great grandmother (also a Christine) was the first white child born in Anderson Valley was responsible for plugging me in. I joined the Lion’s Club and I.C.W. or Independent Career Women at her urging. Both have led me to meet many people that I have worked side by side with to benefit AV.
Interestingly the people you meet as a volunteer are not necessarily those you would naturally meet - sort of like when you join the army. This broadens your horizons- the meeting of folks very different that you. The work brings you together and the result is not always smooth and sometimes surprising but energizing and often leads to laughter (what the world needs now).
Following is a list of many volunteer opportunities available right here in Anderson Valley. If you can’t make a connection with the number provided call me and I will make sure you find your way through. Terry 707 671-3332. Most of these organizations have a presence on the Internet so you also can try typing in the name to see what comes up online.
AV Food Bank- distributes food to qualifying families once a month Call Robyn Harper- 831 206-3303.
Senior Center – assist seniors in multiple ways call Renee Lee- 707 621-3843.
Yorkville Community Benefits Association fund raises for the Yorkville Fire Department in numerous highly creative ways culminating with the Ice Cream Social/ Book Sale over Labor Day- can use lots of volunteers and a guaranteed fun time call Lisa Bauer 510 7224.
AV Volunteer Fire Department – protect our valley and aid in medical emergencies call Angela Dewitt 707 272-7477.
AV Ambulance assist in Medical Emergencies. Call Clay Eubanks, 707 895-2020.
Future Farmer’s of America, assist agriculture teacher Beth Swelha with long established youth program- 707 895-2959.
AV Arts- supporting Arts in AV call Paula Gray 707 894-9228.
American Legion- Veterans engaged in community support call Kirk Wilder 707 234-9593.
AV Community Park- improvement and maintenance call Elizabeth Jensen 415 713-3833.
AV Grange- monthly pancake breakfast, hall rental and community entertainment call Laura Baynham Sec. 707 895-3249.
Historical Society Museum docents needed call Sandra Nimmons 707 895-9020.
AV Community Library- call head librarian Liz Dusenberry 707 895-2847.
Boonville Fair- Fair could not run without volunteers call Gina 707 895-3011.
AV Recreation Committee call Kathleen McKenna 707 895-9119.
High School Boosters call Palma Toohey 707 489-1088.
School Volunteer program call Louise Simson 707 895-3774.
AV Artists Guild call Rebecca Johnson 707 895-9205.
Sueno Latino health and housing for Latino agricultural workers call Donna Pierson-Pugh 707 684-0325.
Unity Club- women’s service club call Janet Lombard 707 895-2718.
AV Housing Association- affordable housing advocates, call 707 895-3525.
AV Watershed protect our waterways - call Linda MacElwee 707 895-9119.
Education Foundation for youth www.avpanthers.org/avef.
Food Shed and Boonville Farmer’s Market call Julie Apostolu 707 357-6035.
Coming in October a job fair style event at the Health Center’s Wellness Fair featuring groups who need volunteers and also in January another forum for volunteer organizations call the Village- Annika 707 684-9829.
If you know of a group that needs volunteers that has not been mentioned or if you have corrections or additions contact me Terry 707 681-3332. The one who gives the most always gets the most. In the end self-interest will be served!
Very nice. Community spirt, alive and well in Anderson Valley, but, sadly, on the wane in too much of this county.