A Passion for Volunteer Service

I have immense respect for teachers. Personally and professionally, I have been around teachers for many years. I see how hard they work to help their students reach an academic or personal goal. When I hear the stories about how a student finally mastered a task, I always think to myself that in my next life, I want to be a teacher and have that same impact on my own students.

I got my first taste of teaching as a volunteer with Junior Achievement, where I taught a five-week course called Our City at a local elementary school. Week-after-week, as I stood in front of the third-grade class teaching lessons on careers, city planning and the role of the media, all I could think was “I hope I don’t give out bad information,” and “Please don’t let these kids ask me any questions that I can’t answer.” I have worked with kids before in other volunteer capacities, but standing in front of 20 students every week was a completely different experience. As nervous as I was to be a teacher, even for an hour a week, it was such a meaningful opportunity for me to build a relationship with those students. While the focus of my volunteer time has shifted out of the classroom and into the JA Girl$ program, the time I spent with those students motivates me to continue to support the organization.

Volunteering is an incredibly rich and rewarding experience for me. I get to meet and interact with new people; try my hand at a new skill; offer a new solution to a seemingly old problem; and most importantly, help define the type of community I want to live in.

From learning how to build consensus through JCCI Forward’s leadership development program to leading a team of volunteers to renovate an entire school, all of my volunteer experience has been a learning opportunity that has shaped my perspective both personally and professionally. I consider the staff, volunteers and community members in the organizations where I volunteer among my friends, mentors and colleagues who inspire and encourage me to think and act beyond the “expected.” The skills, relationships and expertise I have gained in volunteer projects can often be applied to situations at home and at work.

At ruckus. we are fortunate to make contributions that are helping to positively define our community. For me, it is immensely rewarding to be able to combine my personal passion for volunteer service in a professional culture that encourages active community involvement. Visit Empowerment Resources, HandsOn NetworkJacksonville Community Council Inc., Jacksonville Public Education Fund, Junior Achievement, Teach for America and Theatre Jacksonville for information about some of my favorite nonprofits in our community.

Contributed by Jacquelyn Lowe, account executive, ruckus. advertising + public relations



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