What volunteer hasn’t questioned her impact from time to time?
Even Girls Inc. staff members are not immune to walking out of programs we’ve facilitated and questioning our own impact. Our outcomes have proven to us that Girls Inc. is making a difference in the lives of greater Indianapolis girls, but we sometimes find ourselves longing to witness and be reaffirmed by that instantaneous, meteor-crashing-to-the-earth kind of impact that seems to yell, “Hey you! Look at what you’ve accomplished!”
Pearle Washington, a school social worker at IPS School #114, spoke passionately on this topic as our guest speaker at this year’s volunteer appreciation event. She pointed out that we are working with youth and sometimes that means keeping the faith. It means trusting that there is a positive return on our investment in the lives of the girls in our community.
“Change is a slow process which can cause self-doubt and make you feel that you are not effective as a volunteer,” Pearle said. “In fact, you may never see the change in the student, but the school sees it. The families see it. Sometimes, that change may not become evident until the next semester or the next year. But trust me, it does happen. Your hard work and talent as a Girls Inc. volunteer is getting through to the girls and it is appreciated.”
Pearle spoke about the many changes she’s seen in the girls at her school as a result of Girls Inc. programming. The successes she’s witnessed include:
• A boost in class participation and self-confidence
• An increase in test completion
• A reduction in fighting and bullying
• A rise in positive behavior
• Brighter smiles on the girls faces
• Girls requesting more Girls Inc. programming
Volunteering for Girls Inc. is not unlike the famous quote by Nelson Henderson, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
Girls Inc. volunteers are making a difference. Sometimes that change can be seen immediately, but most often it takes weeks, months, or even years. Regardless, this much we know is true… there will be many tall, strong trees in our future and lots of shade thanks to your efforts today.
Plant a seed in the heart of a girl. Follow the link to sign up to volunteer for our Fall II cycle, beginning October 21st.