Day two of our National Volunteer Week features. Today, we are featuring Bridge Grad Christina Rocks. Yes, she fully lives up to her last name! Here’s what Christina has to say about volunteering and being a part of the Seattle Works community:
What was your first volunteer experience that you can remember? What was the experience like?
The first volunteer experience I can remember is when I would attend clean-ups of the Salt River in Arizona (where I grew up) with the Ecology Club that my dad was the teacher sponsor of at the Junior High School where he taught. Environmentalism and fostering community were values my parents kept strong in our household – and my father has always been particularly committed to preserving the natural environment and ecological systems. I was the youngest person on these trips by far (I think I started when I was about five or six years old and attended them several times a year through childhood), but the older kids (7th-9th graders) were welcoming to me and were always having so much fun on the trips.
The Junior High at which my Dad taught (for 33 years until his recent retirement) was in a severely and increasingly economically depressed section of town. The trips proved to be a positive outlet not only for me, but for the students who attended who perhaps would not otherwise have had the opportunity to get involved in such a way or learn about the beautiful desert landscapes and ecologies. Each trip included learning about a different part of the environment and how we could be active participants in appreciating it without disturbing it – reduce, reuse, and recycle were big themes.
I really appreciated even at a young age that the trips were benefiting the preservation of the Salt River, benefiting in those of us who went with an additional sense of community, and also that there was always something to learn. While I have moved mostly away from direct-service type volunteering as I’ve gotten older, I still look for ways to serve that accomplish those three things: 1) Creating value for communities 2) Providing great experiences for volunteers and others involved and 3) Encouraging education on issues.
What made you decide to amp up your volunteerism by taking The Bridge?
Taking The Bridge was a wonderful learning opportunity and a big reminder of two things. First, how lucky I have been to have a life filled with volunteerism and activism – especially with so many great non-profits in the Seattle area in my three years of living here. Secondly, how it is so easy to narrow the scope of one’s volunteering. While it is clearly important to put your time where your passions take you, I love that Seattle works brings together a wide variety of volunteers, volunteer opportunities, and organizations. The animals and the arts, international aid and civic committee opportunities can all be found through Seattle Works – and while the group of people that Seattle Works attracts may have different motivations for their work, we are all drawn in by our desire to connect with and improve our community.
Why did you agree to serve as the committee chair for Seattle Works’ LeadNOW?
I agreed to serve as the committee chair for LeadNOW because I loved my time during The Bridge and wanted the opportunity to be on the ground floor of building a sort of alumni network for community members from all of Seattle Work’s programs and other local volunteers.
What has been your favorite part of volunteering with Seattle Works?
My favorite part of volunteering with Seattle Works has been getting to work with the incredible staff and community of volunteers. Seeing what drives folks to do the work they do is one of my favorite things to explore. Seattle Works is expert in connecting passions with opportunity.
What has made your volunteer experience with the LeadNOW committee meaningful?
We’re getting to encourage and connect those familiar with Seattle Works to continue their service to our Seattle community. There are so many wonderful folks with great skills and resources to offer who are looking – just itching really – to get plug-in to their passion areas. With LeadNOW being a newer component of Seattle Works, were really get to explore how we can best do that, building off of the great work that Seattle Works already does in Seattle.
A HUGE thank you to Christina for everything she does for Seattle Works and our community of volunteer leaders!