After over 15 years, United Way is saying good-bye to Hands On Greater Portland Program Director Mindy Coolidge.
Mindy has an unyielding commitment to volunteerism in her community and has made tremendous efforts to expand the horizon of United Way's volunteer program. Playing an integral role in recruiting thousands of volunteers each year, Mindy has grown Hands On Greater Portland exponentially, while organizing volunteer events and, of course, providing her own service to our region as well.
Mindy continues to be an inspiration to volunteers, women in the workplace aspiring to one day be leaders, the United Way staff and our community as a whole. We thank her for her years of service and incredible commitment.
What are some of the greatest take-aways from your Hands On Greater Portland experience?
I started volunteering as a kid with my family and continued into my early adult life, serving a year as an AmeriCorps member. Joining the Hands On staff in support of this mission was a culmination of decades of service and I'm so grateful that I got to cut my teeth in the field of volunteer management with the most amazing, inspiring coworkers.
What were some of your favorite/most cherished memories?
Being part of the team planning the first Project Homeless Connect in Portland was a great example of a team of people from across sectors coming together to provide an innovative service that wouldn't have been possible without volunteer involvement.
Also, so many Volunteer Leaders have been with us for years, serving meals, painting schools, cleaning books; these are the people who inspire me to get up everyday and work alongside them to improve lives. On the funnier side, a former Hands On team member established our staff dress code as Medieval Casual and that joke has really stood the test of time.
If you had cherry of wisdom to leave with Hands On staff, what would it be?
Continue to challenge ideas of what volunteerism means and tell a broader, more inclusive story of who volunteers. And keep volunteering outside of work; it's the best R & D and it feeds the soul.
What should volunteer managers always keep in mind when dealing with frustration?
The impact that volunteers have on issues facing our community is immeasurable, so creating solutions and moving beyond frustration will pay off! Seek support from other volunteer managers who understand and experience the same challenges you do.
Will we see you at volunteer projects in the future?
But of course! I'll be signing up to grocery shop on a Store To Door shift and to read book request letters from incarcerated people at Books To Prisoners.
Thanks for all the memories; I look forward to seeing you out in the community!
We will strongly miss her commitment for change and development, and wish her the very best as she transitions into new territory of personal and professional growth!