What’s in the ALA Service Not Self Volunteering Toolkit?

Guest blog by Judy Twete, National Community Service Committee Northwestern Division Chairman

The new ALA Service Not Self Volunteering Toolkit provides members with ideas for more volunteer opportunities to support veterans, military, and their families.

Service Not Self.  What does that mean to us as ALA members? Have you ever dissected this short statement and thought about what it means? The meaning of “service” according to Webster’s Dictionary is: the occupation or function of serving and “self” is an individual’s typical character or behavior.

The function of serving is not being concerned about your typical self or behavior, but with someone else’s needs in mind. That is what we, as American Legion Auxiliary members, do best. So, why do we need to have a document from ALA National Headquarters to show us how to do this?

Well, since you have access to all of the great material that ALA National Headquarters shares with members as tools to make our organization even more productive, you know that a kit concerning better volunteering methods/ideas has to be a real bonus for us all!

Over this past year, the impact of ALA members’ mission service exceeded $1.1 billion — the value of our 12.2 million hours of volunteer service plus all the money raised and spent supporting our veterans and outreach programs. That is huge! ALA volunteer hours and dollars matter, indeed! We need to make the most of volunteering.

The new American Legion Auxiliary Service Not Self Volunteering Toolkit provides members with ideas for making our volunteer opportunities to support veterans, military, and their families, much more beneficial.

The topics include:

  • Volunteering at an ALA Girls State event
  • Helping out at American Legion Baseball games
  • Nominating a child in your community for the ALA Youth Hero and Good Deed Award
  • Donating blood
  • Help on how to train for a FEMA – Community Emergency Response Team
  • Recognizing Blue Star Families
  • Making a buddy basket
  • Providing service to veterans
  • Attending a patriotic event
  • Volunteering as a poll worker on Election Day
  • Volunteering for a Voter Registration Drive
  • Helping to organize an ALA Star-Spangled Kids activity
  • Participating in a Walk, Run, and Roll
  • Learning how to make the most when inviting veterans to local schools
  • Welcoming military families to your hometown
  • Assisting in a job fair for veterans or military spouses
  • Improving the home of a veteran
  • Organizing a local Veterans Creative Arts Festival
  • Arranging professional development services for veterans
  • Setting up a benefits briefing for student veterans
  • Volunteering with the VA
  • How to participate in a citizenship and naturalization ceremony
  • Teaching flag etiquette lessons
  • Organizing a “Give 10” school supply drive
  • Distributing poppies
  • Organizing a canned food drive or clothing drive for veterans
  • Visiting veterans at a local senior center or VA home

WOW! Over 25 volunteering items listed that you, as an ALA member, can do on a regular basis, and there are ideas for you to make them even more productive. How can you go wrong with all of this help available at your fingertips? The list shows things that we do regularly and now we have a chance to make the most of our opportunities. Wouldn’t it be great to organize a better blood drive or create a better buddy basket? Here is your chance to check into suggestions to do so.

This toolkit will easily answer questions so we can inspire others to serve! As ALA members, we need to make sure we are telling our story at every level of the organization to highlight who we are, what we do, and why we matter. Be it with our members, The American Legion Family, our community partners, or even Congress, reporting is another way of sharing our service.

Information on the ALA Service Not Self Volunteer Toolkit is available at www.ALAforVeterans.org by searching “ALA Service Not Self Volunteer Toolkit.” Visit the website and share with your unit members!

This was originally published as an eBulletin. 

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