VolunteerSpot powers the good work of volunteers at local community groups, schools and nonprofits. Today, we shine our VolunteerSpotlight on Carmen Freed, coordinator for Reading is Fundamental (RIF) in Peekskill (Westchester County), NY. Since 1966, RIF has been preparing and motivating children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most.
Please tell us a little about yourself and your role as a volunteer leader.
I've been working with RIF for over 15 years. RIF provides books to children who might not otherwise have them. My role is to coordinate the delivery of over 800 books to children in the Westchester County, NY area.
How did you get interested in becoming a volunteer leader?
After working as a volunteer with RIF for many years, I decided to step in as coordinator three years ago when the previous leader moved on. Because I was already familiar with the responsibilities of a volunteer, it was easier to transition over to the role of coordinator.
As a volunteer leader, what are your scheduling and signup needs?
During the months of July and August we need about 32 volunteers to deliver over 800 books to children, at eight different locations within the community. The volunteers are responsible for picking up the books from a central location, setting them up by reading level, then making sure the children (not their parents) select two books each. Then the volunteers count the remaining books, pack them up, and deliver them back to the central location.
What’s one piece of advice you have for volunteers or volunteer leaders out there?
That people need to be reminded about their commitments. I found that I was able to recruit volunteers fairly easily, but then people wouldn’t show up, because they forgot about it. That’s my favorite feature about VolunteerSpot…reminders are sent out automatically. And, the volunteers can easily check the calendar at any time if they want to check on their schedule.
Why did you decide to use VolunteerSpot?
These days, most people are hooked in electronically. Using the old methods of phone calls or paper fliers just doesn’t cut it anymore. Papers get lost, phone calls get forgotten. But if someone receives an email, they can simply sign up then and there, because they can see what's needed, and what's convenient for them. The best part is they receive an automatic reminder. In addition, sending an email to many people at once is much easier then making 50 phone calls! It’s also easier to recruit new people via email.
What else would you like our readers to know?
I would tell people to just jump in and give VolunteerSpot a try. I was concerned at first about how the volunteers would respond to using a new technology, but once they saw how easy it is to use and how much time it saves, everyone was very pleased and excited. Due to the automatic email reminders, everyone who volunteered showed up on time and on the right day!
Readers inspired to volunteer, donate, or learn more about Reading is Fundamental may do so here: Reading is Fundamental.
We salute Carmen Freed and all the volunteer heroes out there working for our kids! If you're using VolunteerSpot, write and tell us about what you're doing, and give us a chance to shine our Volunteer Spotlight on you!! Just email us at VS@volunteerspot.com.