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Making Connections at the First-Ever Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup

The first-ever Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup is 9 a.m. March 31 at Save the World Brewing Co. in Marble Falls.

MARBLE FALLS — Finding a place to volunteer sounds simple. All we need to do is connect with a nonprofit and sign up to help.

But what charity or nonprofit? Here in the Highland Lakes, we have several from which to choose. So how do you choose?

And what if you’re the leader of a local charitable nonprofit, and you want to connect with potential volunteers. You post flyers, send emails, and talk to civic groups, but you’re still looking for that perfect way to get out your message.

This was something with which Amber Weems, The Picayune publisher and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune president, wrestled. She heard from a number of nonprofit leaders who wanted to tap the Highland Lakes’s deep well of generous people interested in giving their time and heart to support a local charity.

Somehow, the two groups just seemed to be missing each other.

If there was only a way to bring them together, in person, not just through a social media post or flyer, Weems thought.

“And that’s kind of how we came up with the first Volunteer Meetup,” she explained.

The inaugural Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup, slated for 9 a.m. Saturday, March 31, at Save the World Brewing Co., 1510 Resource Parkway, brings together charitable nonprofits and interested volunteers.

It’s just what it sounds like: a chance for those interested in volunteering to meet up with charitable nonprofits as well as like-minded residents.

To participate in the Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup, simply sign up at 101HighlandLakes.com/VOLUNTEER. At this first meetup, three nonprofits — The Helping Center of Marble Falls, Camp of the Hills, and Spay It Forward Y’all — will be on hand to meet volunteers.

But it’s more than a meeting, Weems explained.

“When you sign up through the website, you pick one of the charities you want to help out with, and they’ll have a project you can jump into that day,” she said.

So volunteers will gather at Save the World Brewing Co. this first time, enjoy a little social time, then meet with the three nonprofits. From there, you’ll head out with the one you chose and, well, volunteer.

The Helping Center of Marble Falls volunteers will assist with the food pantry’s garden by weeding, tilling, removing bamboo, and preparing the beds for planting. Several Master Gardeners will help and guide the volunteers.

Camp of the Hill volunteers will work on trails or help prepare cabins. Camp of the Hills provides a summer camp experience for at-risk or socio-economically disadvantaged youth, usually at no cost to the camper.

If you love dogs, then sign up with Spay It Forward Y’all, an organization that rescues dogs, fosters them, finds forever homes for them, and even transports them across the country to their new families. The folks at Spay It Forward Y’all need help walking dogs or just spending time with the canines at Johnson Park in Marble Falls.

There’s no cost to participate in the Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup — either for an organization or a volunteer. Local businesses will host the meetups as Save the World Brewing Co. is doing for the first one.

And more organizations and volunteers are always welcome.

“This is the first Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup, but we’re planning on holding more,” Weems added. “It’s a great chance for everyone involved. I think it goes back to one of the things I’ve always said about the Highland Lakes: We have huge hearts.”

Weems pointed out this is a great opportunity for businesses, churches, and organizations to gather staff and/or members and volunteers while also spending time deepening their own relationships.

“Volunteering works on several levels,” she said. “First, you’re helping out the nonprofit, but you’re also making the community better. Volunteering also changes the volunteers. You see that you can make a difference and have an impact on the world around you.

“And when a business or church rounds up people to volunteer together, those staff members or congregation members develop deeper ties and relationships,” Weems added. “It’s amazing what volunteering can do.”

The Highland Lakes Volunteer Meetup is a natural part of The Picayune’s Volunteer Guide at 101HighlandLakes.com/VOLUNTEER, where you can find a number of volunteer opportunities and charitable nonprofits can submit their information to link up with potential volunteers.

Along with volunteers and nonprofits, there’s also room for hosting businesses and sponsors.

“This is a collaborative effort on many people’s part to make the Highland Lakes an even better place to live,” Weems said. “So sign up, come on out, and help out.”

daniel@thepicayune.com

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