Volunteering’s Valuable Lessons & Valuable Skills—For Now and For a Lifetime

Jennifer Jewell, volunteer coordinator for Gateway Science Museum on the campus of CSU, Chico

Did your parent, school or church ask you to volunteer when you were a child? Mine did. All three asked that I serve some amount of volunteer time for some organization or effort each year. For school I worked at the local library – helping to stack books or file papers. One Sunday twice a year, I joined my church group for an outdoor clean-up effort: trash from a town roadside or the garden areas of our local public areas. My parents were the most insistent of all – volunteering was required to live life in their household: volunteering to help others and to support small organizations like the Humane Society, Literacy Volunteers of America or Hospice Care.

But in between all these “requirements” by my elders that I must work for the good of others, something funny happened. I had fun. I had fun and I grew both personally and, as I found out at my first college interview and my first real job interview, I grew professionally.

I met new – often odd and interesting – people, learned to work with them, learned that I could learn from them, and learned that when my day of dogs and cats or people with beginning literacy skills or end stages of cancer was over, I felt satisfied with myself and the world around me.

To this day, as a grown woman with children, I volunteer regularly – and I take my kids along. They roll their eyes some, but they also roll up their sleeves and come home tired, with emotion and stories to share.

“Each day, millions of volunteers make a statement that despite everything – despite poverty and hatred, despite apathy and the seeming intractability of some of the challenges we face – people can change the world for the better.” Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.

Gateway is always accepting interested and enthusiastic volunteers – for an afternoon, or for regularly weekly shift in the galleries. Upcoming Volunteer Orientations are being held: Tuesday, May 22, 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. & Saturday, May 26, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

If you’ve always wanted to get involved in science, education, and your community, have fun and learn a lot, then this is just for you!

Volunteers bring Gateway’s mission to life: creating a life-long learning environment that enables people to explore, interpret, and celebrate the magnificent natural heritage of our region through science, research, and education.

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