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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs at the federal government level.

~ October 2010 ~




For federal employees, our fiscal year just ended.  If not organized preparing for the end of one year and the beginning of the next, one may be caught with end of year reports, organizing for the upcoming fiscal year, printing out hours for volunteers, strategizing for the “new” year, and the list goes on and on.  I was proud that I was organized and worked so hard over the summer as an administrator of volunteers with to do lists and projects.  All completed.  All to my satisfaction.  All ready to go for a new year.  Until someone called me an “activities” director and I flipped out.  An activities director?  Well, isn’t that what someone is called when you oversee volunteers?

Quite the opposite.
How many times does this happen to you?  How many times do you explain what you do is professional and that your job is a profession?  How many times do you constantly educate even those you work with about your role and responsibilities?  It becomes a tiresome, almost lonely battle and I hope you continue to fight to eliminate the perception of your job…your very important job.

As students settle in to their routines at school, you, too, have an opportunity to learn and to educate others.  Are you a member of your local DOVIA?  How active are you in your community to spread the word about your organization?  What articles do you read in order to continue educating yourself about the field? Do you read your local paper to see community trends?  Where can you get involved both personally and professionally? 
We will always wear many hats.  But activities director, well – this is one that I don’t want confused with what I do as an administrator of volunteers.
Best of luck for your new fiscal year. 

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The author of the Federal Government Volunteer Programs page is melissa.heinlein@va.gov, MA, MS, CAVS. Melissa is the Chief of Voluntary Service at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, (215) 823-5868. Before venturing to the nonprofit sector, Melissa Heinlein spent time working for financial, IT, and pharmaceutical companies. With her business and marketing background, she took those skills and worked for Junior Achievement and structured a formal volunteer program at Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy before going into healthcare at Abington Memorial Hospital as the Assistant Director of Volunteer Resources. Her latest adventure is Chief, Voluntary Service at Philadelphia VA Medical Center. Melissa is past president and current board member of the Delaware Valley of Association for Volunteer Administration and current member-at-large for PSDVS, Eastern Chapter. She serves as an advisor for a grassroots organization “Spark the Wave” to encourage youth volunteerism. She holds a MA in Communications from West Chester University, MS in Administration of Human Services from Chestnut Hill College, and is a certified administrator of volunteer services through ASDVS. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Human Development at Marywood University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, writing, sports, and exploring the outdoors. She prides herself when she talks about interacting with volunteers 5-99 years old – horses and dogs included.


The National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government (NAVPLG) is an association of administrators, coordinators and directors of volunteer programs in local government. Its purpose is to strengthen volunteer programs in local government through leadership, advocacy, networking and information exchange. NAVPLG is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties and is seeking affiliate status with the National League of Cities. Cost is $20 for individuals and $75 for group local government membership. An affiliate membership is $25 and is intended for those who are not local government members but may have an interest in the group. There is a quarterly newsletter, national network, and access to NACo's Volunteerism Project. For more information contact Robin Popik, who is a Volunteer Resource Supervisor. She can be reached by phone at 972-941-7114. Be sure to mention you read about this in Volunteer Today.

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