A community depends on the strength of connections - between neighbors, community groups, public servants, and everyone in between. Volunteering builds those connections.
Milford, CT resident Melissa Meek loves finding new ways to volunteer and making connections in her community. She began volunteering in high school under the direction of her teachers, especially her environmental science teacher who built service learning into the curriculum. When she moved to Boston, she joined Boston Cares as a way to meet new friends and gain a sense of community in her new city.
“I volunteer with Boston Cares, an organization that makes it easy to fit volunteering into any schedule,” says Melissa. “Through their calendar program, I can sign up for as many projects as I’d like. I enjoy trying new things, such as ushering at community concerts and judging student debate tournaments, and volunteering outside when the weather is nice. I learned about organic gardening at an educational vegetable plot and how to identify invasive plants on the Charles River. I became a volunteer leader at two of my favorite organizations, Daily Table and Prison Book Program, which gave me the opportunity to learn more about the organizations and their impact. I also enjoy educating people about the benefits of volunteerism and impact of volunteers in their communities.”
Boston Cares is the largest mobilizer of volunteers in New England. They fill more than 25,000 volunteer slots annually at over 180 partner non-profit organizations and schools. Their innovative model makes opportunities accessible to all volunteers, regardless of their time, schedules, and interests, while ensuring their non-profit partners have a regular and reliable source of volunteers.
“In high school I spent hours serving alongside my friends, cleaning up litter, restoring bird habitats, tutoring younger students, and gift wrapping presents during the holidays,” says Melissa. “After college, I lived in Istanbul, Turkey for two years while completing my Master's degree. While on a volunteer trip, I biked 650 miles cross-country with a student group. These experiences, along with dozens of others I’ve had with Boston Cares since then, taught me that volunteering is not only a way to give back, but also to build community. A community depends on the strength of connections - between neighbors, community groups, public servants, and everyone in between. Volunteering builds those connections.”
When Melissa isn’t volunteering, she likes to hike with her husband and her dog, Scrappy. Her favorite Cabot cheese is Pepper Jack.