Volunteering a path to employment

By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer

Children’s Friend is a looking for a graphic designer, a translator and a marketing and development professional. More

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WORKFORCE

Volunteering a path to employment

PBN PHOTO/NATALJA KENT
SERVE AND PROTECT: Serve Rhode Island Executive Director Bernie Beaudreau leads a discussion on new nonprofit programs as American Cancer Society Community Executive of Health Initiatives Cheryl Albright looks on.

By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 2/25/13

Children’s Friend is a looking for a graphic designer, a translator and a marketing and development professional.

They’ve advertised for the positions but not on traditional job boards. And that’s because the posts are not for employment – they are for volunteers.

However, job seekers are encouraged to apply.

“Volunteering is always a good idea when you’re looking for work, because you’re experiencing a variety of tasks and all those skills are really helpful,” said Sarah Martone, development associate at Children’s Friend, a Providence nonprofit that works to better the lives of at-risk children through social-service programs. “You’re staying relevant. There are a lot of things you’re exposed to that impact directly to a job search.”

The organization has advertised volunteer opportunities, which also include the need for volunteers in human resources, data entry and administration on ‘HandsOn Connect,’ Serve Rhode Island’s online volunteer opportunities and connecting system.

The site was implemented last December as part of Serve Rhode Island’s 2013-2015 State Service Plan that is focused on promoting volunteerism and service, building the capacity of nonprofit organizations and better meeting the needs of community organizations and their served populations.

“There are hundreds of these opportunities at any given time,” said Bernie Beaudreau, executive director of Serve Rhode Island, the Providence nonprofit that serves as the state’s volunteer center and commission for national and community service. “What makes it all work is having the real opportunities to present. It needs the nonprofit to organize real work to be done and make it available.”

Serve RI adopted HandsOn Connect, a national volunteer-management service from Atlanta-based Points of Light, after identifying a need for increased marketing for volunteer opportunities.

The strategic plan also identified a community-based need to link volunteerism to workforce development with a focus on the long-term unemployed to both offer them a cost-free opportunity to practice and build skills and give nonprofits a way to expand their volunteer base.

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