NPC: What drives you to be a volunteer?
Devon: I volunteer because I believe that there is a symbiotic relationship between oneself and their community. If we choose to neglect our communities, they will neglect us. Therefore I see it as my duty to give back all that my community has given me and then some.
NPC: Describe the organization you volunteer for and the work they do.
Devon: Lead2Change is a community organization that helps students become career ready and strives to develop active and engaged members of their communities.
NPC: What is your role or title with the organization, how long have you been a volunteer there and what are your responsibilities?
Devon: I have been with Lead2Change for 3 years. In that time I have served as a Junior Program Officer and Finance Chair on Lead2Change's Youth Advisory Council. The Youth Advisory Council dedicates itself to developing lifelong community servants through philanthropy and more recently through hands-on community service. I was responsible for heading Council fundraising efforts and balancing the Council budget as well as regularly participating in all Council activities.
NPC: What has surprised you the most about your work as a volunteer?
Devon: What surprised me the most about volunteering was how rewarding it all was. Even the smallest of actions have enormous implications, and I'm able to see myself making a difference in my community, making a brighter future for myself as well as those around me.
NPC: How is volunteering the same or different to you from paid work?
Devon: The difference between volunteering and paid work for me has been that volunteer "work" doesn't feel like work. The activities are fun and the compensation I get comes from self-fulfillment.
NPC: Has volunteering changed your point of view or the way you view your community and its people?
Devon: Working with Lead2Change has broadened my perspective and understanding on how people live in Milwaukee. The socioeconomic disparity is huge and that's something often overlooked. As a result of this disparity, we develop assumptions of who people are as a direct function of their socioeconomic status. The exposure I've gotten through Lead2Change has broken these assumptions down.
NPC: What are the benefits of volunteering? Has it helped you in any way?
Devon: There are numerous benefits to volunteering whether they be personal or otherwise. The exposure that volunteering has given me has eradicated some of the ignorance that I've had on various subjects, and has made me, in my opinion, a better member of society.
NPC: Name something you are proud to have accomplished as a volunteer.
Devon: The Youth Issue Forum was a program that the Youth Advisory Council had put on where we spoke on the top five issues (taken from a survey) facing youth in Milwaukee. The ability to speak to my peers about things we go through together was an incredible experience, one I am extremely proud of.
NPC: Would you recommend volunteering to someone else?
Devon: I would definitely recommend volunteering to someone else. My reasoning is two-fold. First, in order to get the most out of your environment you have to nurture it. Second, it truly is a fulfilling experience. Volunteering makes you feel good, you're participating in something bigger than yourself and that's a truly great experience.