A push to increase the Old Town volunteer base

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The Old Town Commercial Association Board of Directors meeting met on Feb. 20 to address community issues. (Photo by Christine LaRouere)

The Old Town Commercial Association Board of Directors met on Feb. 20 to address community issues. (Photo by Christine LaRouere)

By Christine LaRouere
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer

OLD TOWN LANSING — The Old Town Commercial Association meeting of the Board of Directors met on Feb. 20 to talk about the need for more volunteers for each of the Old Town committees and recognize one of its volunteers.

After reflecting on the 2014 Annual Meeting, which is dedicated to introducing new people to volunteer and recognizing those who do a lot for the community, board members such as David Such said having the OTCA board members speak at the meeting benefited the community members.

“I heard feedback from other people that they were inspired by this year’s meeting,” Such said. “It has value in giving a face from the board to the people who showed up.”

Additionally, the board discussed little things to help improve the Annual Meeting next year such as making the clip boards to sign up more visible and creating better descriptions of each committee’s duties.

Louise Gradwohl, executive director of OTCA, said at the Annual Meeting there was a small group of volunteers, but that did not come as a surprise.

“I wouldn’t say there was an obscene amount of people,” Gradwohl said. “It was about the same.”

Gradwohl also said only seven people signed up for each committee, so they are looking for ways to increase their volunteer base through organizations through student organizations through Michigan State University and others around the area such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boy Scouts of America.

“We want to find those who look to volunteer, and we then can connect with them,” Gradwohl said. “It’s a win- win.”

Board of Directors President Karen Stefl and OTCA Executive Director Louise Gradwohl discuss the success of the 2014 Annual Meeting, but also plan to increase the amount of Old Town volunteers. (Photo by Christine LaRouere)

Board of Directors President Karen Stefl and OTCA Executive Director Louise Gradwohl plans to increase the amount of Old Town volunteers. (Photo by Christine LaRouere)

A woman who makes a difference

With regards to community involvement, Amanda Lick, resident of Haslett and volunteer for Old Town, said she was given the Robert P. Busby Volunteer of the Year award at the Annual Meeting, but was not expecting it because volunteering comes natural due to the involved community.

“I was incredibly happy and honored and thrilled,” Lick said. “I love being able to give back … It is imbedded in who I am.”

Lick also said the reason she is so involved is because she has a supportive husband and wants to be a good role model for her children.

“Modeling is one of the best thing I can do as a parent,” Lick said. “For them to see how an organization values the time I give back is very important.”

Karen Stefl, president of the OTCA Board of Directors, said when she helped decide who would win this award, Lick was a great candidate because of her positive influence in the community.

“She goes beyond what she is told because she gets how all the parts move together,” Stefl said. “She is such a valuable resource because she dives in and takes charge.”

Stefl also said there is always a continuous push and goal to bring in more volunteers throughout the year.

“I think volunteer recruitment is a year-round event,” Stefl said. “We want all volunteers to know that they are making a difference and not just wasting their time.”

Furthermore, Lick said she wants other community members who don’t volunteer as much to know that volunteering can be fun, but people need to find something that makes them want to volunteer.

“Volunteering doesn’t feel like work when you are attached and passionate,” Lick said. “Find that connection and make it meaningful to make it easy to work on a Saturday.”

Contact reporter Christine LaRouere: larouerec@gmail.com, (734) 536- 5237

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