Guest blog by Karen Smith, National Community Service Committee Member
American Legion Auxiliary members can be a committed and credible part of their communities by volunteering to serve on local community boards and committees. Whether it be in a metro or rural area, we can be a positive voice. Our units already work community service throughout the departments, but do we take another step to be a decisive voice on issues that partner with the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary?
Some boards to consider may be college and district schools. Do we want to be part of the educational process and learn what the educational community is facing with teacher and budget cuts and how your unit can fill voids with volunteers, needed supplies, or mentors?
Your city council itself makes decisions in your community. Are there issues that a member could assist with that may align with the ALA mission, especially those that impact our veterans and military? Perhaps we need to begin by coaching sports, helping out at libraries or perhaps at events like Special Olympics, Relay for Life, or other sponsored walks.
BoardSource is an excellent resource to help you find a nonprofit board that will help you make a difference in your community. On their website, there is information that can help you find a board that supports a cause you care about. Volunteers serving on boards have the opportunity to develop and grow leaders (Goal 3) and possibly recruit new members to the American Legion Auxiliary (Goal 1).
Being on a board requires great responsibility and time. Just going to board meetings will not be enough. Before you commit, ask yourself how much time you are willing or able to put into the board’s work. You’ll be expected to serve on committees or fundraise.
Being on a board builds networks in the community and demonstrates the ALA’s commitment to the community and willingness to work for and with others.
Our National President Diane Duscheck has quoted an old proverb that says, “Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” Another Chinese proverb is, “One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.” Thus, as members of the Auxiliary, we can begin in our communities as volunteers and continue by serving on committees or boards and be a viable representative of this organization (Goal 5).
What we do today will have a huge difference in what is to come in all areas and programs for the future.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.” Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist
This was originally published as an eBulletin. Read the latest ALA In the Know eBulletins here.