Volunteering and Opportunities for Behavioral Health – Part 2
Alice J. Washington
Just saying … In my recent blog, Volunteering: Supported Housing and Peer Support, I ended with a hopeful message of using volunteering to help others and ourselves.
I am in a stage of “wellness”, but I have not lost the lessons of volunteering. A year or so ago, I started using LinkedIn more. I had no clue how to navigate their website. The beauty of LinkedIn is that they gave me my first hint or push with an alert message, “You do not have any volunteer activities. We recommend you fill in your profile with some volunteer activities.” I blinked! My blink included finding a volunteer organization in their job feed, VolunteerMatch, that would help me complete my profile. I signed up!
What did I learn? This was an opportunity for me to not only help small businesses whose infrastructure is not strong enough to pay employees, but I filled in my LinkedIn profile and resume with instances of experience with them. For behavioral health clients who are well, thriving and living in the community, and may have gaps in their work experience and education, VolunteerMatch-type organizations can position behavioral health clients with better employment opportunities.
My joy not only came with the experiences but with giving back. Meeting small business owners have been wonderful. They stay in business by using volunteers. The non-profit organizations seem to be all about social justice causes.
“Impact Online, also known as VolunteerMatch, is an American nonprofit organization best known for its web services, which aim to strengthen communities by making it easier for people to find good causes. The organization also partners with businesses to provide tools and services to help companies, brands, campuses, and government manage volunteer programs and support corporate social responsibility initiatives.” (Wikipedia, 2017)
As an advocate in the behavioral health field, our mantra is focused on social justice causes for clients. We have synergy!
How can the field of behavioral health learn from VolunteerMatch? How can the behavioral health field build a volunteer organization that employs behavioral health clients who are in the stage of “in recovery” and allows them the opportunity to relearn employment skills, when clients cannot end their Social Security Disability benefits? It is important to create partnerships and collaborations that promote real employment experiences that are in supportive and accepting communities.
Throughout the years we have had such organizations, but its 2018 and we need new innovative ways to provide this help. I would encourage counties and community-based organizations to review VolunteerMatch’s website at http://bit.ly/2DNzvHN and learn because innovation is … all about that hope!