United Way of Greater Lafayette
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Volunteer Needs Column

October 7, 2011


Seven Essential Principles of Neighboring



Last week we introduced the idea of neighboring. It's a place-based approach to community problem solving that focuses on individuals' talents as a resource to improve their neighborhoods.

We've found seven ways that individuals, organizations, and businesses can use when working with communities to engage and empower local volunteers and to build effective partnerships with their community. Whether you're planning a short-term volunteer project or a long-term community initiative, these tips can help bring about real change!


1. Try to understand the language and nature of volunteering

  • Understand the history and culture of the community.
  • Include youth, immigrant communities, seniors, and faith communities.

2. Overcome barriers to volunteering.

  • Understand the community obstacles. What has traditionally kept people from volunteering?
  • Understand the organizational barriers. Have organizations tried to work in the community previously? What made their actions successful?

3. Empower the community.

  • Create space for residents to own their issues and develop solutions.
  • Support residents to witness the benefits of their involvement.
  • Engage residents in the decision-making process.
  • Mobilize residents around issues that impact them directly.
  • Host community meetings and provide examples of success.  

4. Cultivate community members' skills and talents.

  • Acknowledge and build on existing community assets.
  • Help members identify their own skills and talents.
  • Allow residents to have a real role in the partnership.
  • Encourage residents to plan and lead projects.
  • Show the relationship between residents' skills and project outcomes.  

5. Strengthen existing community leadership.

  • Cultivate leadership and the internal capacity of community members to lead and engage in community activities.
  • Help develop leadership and recognize different leadership styles.
  • Identify volunteer leadership development training.
  • Encourage leaders to have a leadership role in the partnership.  

6. Acknowledge that volunteering is an exchange.

  • Offer volunteers something in exchange for the time, talents, and efforts they contribute to bettering their communities. A simple, honest, thank you note is enough to recognize each person's contribution, but you can always do more.
  • Help people see the benefits of the work that has been done, and the work that they can do.
  • Understand that it's okay to receive something in exchange for volunteering.
  • Develop mechanisms by which residents receive tangible outcomes such as tutoring, child care subsidies, and job opportunities.

7. Ensure community readiness.

Participate in building the internal capacity of communities to partner with outside organizations and engage residents in community activities.

  • Be patient; community building and resident involvement takes time.
  • Remember that relationship building is a process.
  • Be flexible; survival issues demand time and attention.
  • Help communities resolve conflict that may be preventing involvement.
  • Set your community up for success but accept if it is not ready.
Have you used neighboring practices in your community? I would love to hear what has worked for you. Contact me at United Way's Volunteer Center at

~article provided by HandsOn


What's New This Week?   


Are you good on the Phone? 

Big Brothers Big Sisters are looking for individuals to answer the telephone and welcome agency guests. Days and hours are flexible. If interested, email or call 765-446-2227.



A Stand Down is a community effort to provide much needed relief to our service members, veterans and military families. Lafayette Stand Down will be held Saturday, November 5th and about 50 volunteers are needed. Great group project! For more information or to sign up email Martina.


B-I-N-G-O is the NameO

Bickford Senior Living are looking for volunteers who love calling Bingo and visiting with their seniors! They have bingo on Thursdays at 1pm and Saturdays at 2:30pm. If you have an hour to have fun then contact Rachel or call 490-6290.

Feed Minds Not Cavities
Bickford Senior Living are asking for gently used books to be donated for their "Books for Treats". Instead of passing out candy this Halloween, they are going to pass out books! If you would like to donate your gently used books, drop off at Bickford: 3633 Regal Valley Drive, Lafayette or call Rachel for details at 490-6290.
If interested in learning about more volunteer opportunities, contact Amy at the United Way Volunteer Center or visit:


Week of Caring


Photo Contest Winners


"Best Use of Tools"  


Best Use of Tools

 Radian Research taking a break at the Ice Cream Social at YWCA - DVIPP program. They received a $100 gift certificate to Arni's!  


Not only were you able to find good use of those spoons but by giving of your time, you gave the women and children a great night of ice cream and fun in a time of  transition!




Check back next week to find out who wins the next category! 


Learn more about the United Way

Do you want to find out more about what the United Way of Greater Lafayette is all about? Visit the website


Please forward this Volunteer Column.
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Now accepting applications for United Way's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Last tax season we were able to assist in over $205,500 in returns to low income families. Now we need your help to ensure this program is a success again. VITA is your opportunity to help low income families in our community. We will provide free training and certification to prepare taxes beginning in January 2012. VITA is a WIN WIN WIN program. Our community wins because tax dollars that are saved can be spent locally to boost the economy. The client wins because taxes are prepared accurately and for free saving an average of $200. As a volunteer you win because this is a great opportunity to give back while also learning how to prepare your own return. To volunteer or for more information about VITA contact Jennifer Million at (756) 742-9077 ext. 227, text (765) 237-2344 or visit our website.

Cha-Ching! Award Winner Up for a Million Dollars
Adam Lowy is a 2011 Do Something Award Winner from Do Something Awards on Vh1. His organization  Move for Hunger picks up food that people would otherwise throw out when they move and then donates it to local food banks.

"Adam's program is competing for up to $1,000,000 in this year's American Giving Awards from Chase. Move For Hunger is going against only 24 other charities, so we figure his chances are pretty good." According toDoSomething.org.  


"$1,000,000 will help us expand on our programs and work with even more young people to fight hunger," Adam told DoSomething.org.


To support Adam and Move For Hunger, you can rally people (over 18)  to vote for his organization on Facebook starting today.



One can pay back the loan of gold, but one dies forever in debt to those who are kind. 

~Malayan Proverb

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*On-Going Volunteer Needs*


Walk and Roll
Walk and Roll along with Wabash Center on October 15th at Market Square. Volunteers are needed for set up at 8am, registration at 9am and on the route from 9:30 - 11:30am, then clean up and out by noon. To sign up, call 765-423-5531 or email
Rhonda today!

Be a Stable Person in a Child's Life  

Sunnyside 5th & 6th graders are in need of some lunchtime mentors and after school homework helpers. The children are no longer elementary but not quite middle school and they are in need of some extra support. Lunch times are between 10:39 am - 1:35pm in four different lunch periods. If you would like to be a stable person in a young person's life contact Debbie Gutwein by email or call 771-6100 x 8429.


Christmas for Everyone

Christmas for Everyone is a community ministry of compassion organized by the Tippecanoe Evangelical Association of Ministers and Ministries and the American Red Cross to provide Christmas gifts for children in need int eh Greater Lafayette area. Volunteers are in need to help with registration and data entry from 9am - 5pm. Shifts vary depending on availability, but ideally done in 4 hour increments. Bi-lingual in Spanish is a plus! For more information or to sign up contact Jennifer by  email or call 742-6975 x 2215.

Keep America Beautiful
Volunteers are needed to assist with a Free E-Waste Recycling event being held at James Cole Elementary on October 29th from 8am - 2pm in 2 hour shifts. Will need to do some heavy lifting. For more information contact

Winter is around the corner...do you have a coat?
The Salvation Army is having their annual Winter Warm Up on November 5th. Winter coats and clothing will be passed out to community families and individuals. If you would like to donate or volunteer please call 742-0006 or email today.

A Child's voice. A child's life. Lifted up. By you. 

Learn how you can be a voice for an abused or neglected child. How you can make a difference. Tippecanoe County CASA is currently recruiting for a training series that will begin on October 25th. Call 765-423-9104 or email today to find out how YOU can make a difference in the life of a child in Tippecanoe County. Act now - a child is waiting for your voice.


Are you Hungry?

Sign up to volunteer to help feed the hungry in our community! St. John's/LUM Food Pantry are looking for people to help pass out food on any of the days, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday mornings from 8:30am - 12pm. Typically once a month. For more information email Jane or call 463-6158.


Are you Cool for Cool School? 

Tippecanoe County Child Care's after school program "Cool School" is looking for volunteers to help children with homework Monday - Thursday from 3:00 - 4:00pm at Miller and Earhart elementary schools. This can be ongoing or once, part or full week and/or all of the hour and a half. If interested in becoming a Cool School helper, email Jennifer or call 765-742-4033 x 119.


Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 

Tippecanoe Villa are looking for a group of 4 volunteers on November 22nd and 23rd from 8 or 9am - 12 or 1pm to set up Christmas trees with the lights only. They need to be set up and ready to decorate before Thanksgiving. If interested, email Judi.