Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness Week: Volunteer for a Society

To celebrate and publicize Random Acts of Kindness Week, I'm republishing my series from 2008, with some editing to fit 2010. For those of you participating in the Winter 2010 GeneaBlogger Games, there are some ideas here that you can use for Task 6. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness.

How many of you belong to a genealogical, historical, heritage, lineage, or ethnic society? And of those of you who raised your hands, how many of you volunteered your time to that society in the past 12 months? For those of you who did volunteer your time, I say "thank you!"

Societies are always looking for more volunteers. I personally think that societies should require all members who reside locally to contribute a minimum of 24 hours annually (only 2 hours a month!), whether it is serving on a committee, bringing refreshments to the next meeting, doing local lookups, shelving books in the collection, working on a transcription project, teaching a class, or making a presentation.

I challenge every one of my readers who is a society member of any type to contribute at least 24 hours of their time between now and next February! Are there any takers? If so, please leave your name and e-mail address in the comment section below!

If you don't have a local society available, then may I suggest several alternatives? Most patrons of Family History Centers don't realize that you do not have to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (a Mormon) to be a volunteer staff member. If you frequent an FHC, ask to talk to the center director about being a regular, or possibly a substitute, volunteer. He or she will make sure you get the necessary training to be competent and confident in your service. Another possibility is to donate your time to your local public library. With budget cutbacks, many libraries are in desperate need of volunteers to do reshelving, cleaning, run used-book sales, and even help with checkout. Find your local library district here. Or see if your local museum is in need of help. One of the funnest research projects I ever worked on was the Campbell House Employees Project, where a number of us EWGS members volunteered to research the servants of the Campbell House, a Victorian mansion from the late 19th century!

Volunteerism is rewarding! Give your local society or institution a call today!
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