This week is a time to reflect on what you are grateful for. At Encompass, we want to express our gratitude to our volunteers.

In 2013, 350 volunteers donated 4085 hours of their time. Already in 2014, (as of October) 425 volunteers have donated 4180 hours! According to the Independent Sector website, those hours are valued at $111,690! But what happened as a result of those volunteer hours? Why does Encompass have a volunteer program?

Encompass’s mission is to “nurture children, enrich families, inspire community”. But we can’t do it alone, so we began a volunteer program. Volunteers make it possible for us to build our capacity to serve more families and to make a bigger difference. Or simply put, volunteers can provide the skills we don’t have or can’t afford or don’t have time to do. This year, volunteers assisted with photography, videography, website design, graphic design, computer virus help, editing, floral design and much more. Our office volunteers also help us leverage our resources by freeing up staff to focus on providing direct service rather than answering phones, or filing. Early Learning Volunteers provide valuable support in classroom management. The children get more one on one attention so they can thrive and meet those milestones. Pediatric Therapy volunteers assist staff with greeting clients, making therapy tools, filing, and proof-reading. Event volunteers make the difference between success and failure in meeting our financial goals!

Volunteer involvement also strengthens our local community. Volunteers are our ambassadors and referral sources. Who knows Encompass better than those on the inside track? Volunteers promote change and development by identifying and responding to community needs. In other words, they are the ones inspiring community and fulfilling our mission to “nurture children, enrich families, and inspire community.” The result: Encompass is growing and serving more people than ever. The people we serve are seeing results. 92% of children are meeting their developmental milestones; and 99% of children with developmental disabilities and delays are achieving their highest possible degree of functioning. That’s pretty powerful stuff!

But Encompass isn’t the only one benefiting!   Our volunteers also get to build skills and networks while making a difference. Former volunteer and now staff, Colleen Burin said, “Volunteering helped me learn a new skill – social media management – and it taught me how to better manage my time and figure out that it was possible and powerful to volunteer my skills within my community. I was a better mom because I was passionate about something. I think that is a powerful lesson to teach my children. I hope to inspire them to volunteer too!”

If you are interested in becoming an Encompass volunteer, contact Lisa Yeager at lisa.yeager@encompassnw.org or call 425-888-2777.

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