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

~ April 2012~


Through the lens…

Through our lens as administrators of volunteers, we see people – and the world – differently.  We see people, like our clients, as vulnerable and we want to recruit the best volunteers to support them.  We see community members step up to want to help others in need.  We see, hear, and listen to countless people every day who want to give back and their reasons for doing so.  We see the world not only bright and colorful but sometimes dark just by the nature of what we encounter. 

Through our lens, we truly see volunteerism across the life span.  We recognize hierarchy of needs and ensure another’s needs are meant as we often forget about our own.  We appreciate theories of motivation and rationalizing over other conflicting choices to volunteer.

Through our lens, we know what it means to operate with a little to no budget and still get by through stretching resources.  We wish others would understand how we do what we do.  We know how to allocate funds to make them last longer.  We know how to do without…and still be effective.  As administrators of volunteers, we think outside the box and always find a way. 

Through our lens, we are the only administrator of volunteers in our organization.  And yet, what we go through as administrators of volunteers makes us resilient --- we learn to bounce back, keep moving, stop when we have to (and need to), and reflect. 

Through our lens, we recognize and acknowledge the great volunteers not only during National Volunteer Week and all year long.  Volunteers help define our role, strengthen the mission of our organizations, and provide endless compassion even when we may give up hope.

Without volunteers, our lens would be _________________. 

*The author of the Federal Government Volunteer Programs page is melissa.heinlein@va.gov, MA, MS, CAVS. Melissa Heinlein-Storti is the Chief, 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 member of the Delaware Valley of Association for Volunteer Administration.  She is a member of the Pennsylvania Society of Directors of Volunteers in Healthcare, Inc. and held positions as education chair (state and local), vice-president (state), and member-at-large).  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 AHVRP. She is currently a doctoral candidate with her PhD in Human Development at Marywood University. She also contributed to the first textbook on volunteer administration.  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.

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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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