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Membership News
Membership News: There Are People And Grants For That

By Faith Quinlan, CT State Grange Membership Director

  June 2, 2020 --

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group freely gives time to benefit another person, group or organization. Volunteering is also renowned for skill development and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served. – Defined by Wikipedia.

There has been a huge movement to return to community volunteerism. It makes us feel good to serve others and can benefit the volunteer both academically and personally. Studies have shown that for the person serving it improves their quality of life plus it increases the longevity of the person and improves their health. Research has found that older adults will benefit the most from volunteering. Physical and mental ailments plaguing older adults can be healed through the simple act of helping others. There are barriers that can prevent older adults from participating in volunteer work; however, these barriers can be overcome so that if one would like to be involved in volunteer work they can do so. Simply put, volunteering improves not only the communities in which one serves, but also the life of the individual who is providing help to the community. Volunteering is known to be related to and increase happiness. It was found that giving help was a more important benefit of better reported mental health than receiving help and has also shown that it can cause a decrease in loneliness for those volunteering as well as those for whom people volunteer.

The month of June is usually incredibly active with events and celebrations. Like many of you I am very sad at how much things have changed since the virus has reached our state. Our Grange leaders will keep us informed on policy and procedures as it relates to the organization.

At a time when we are cautiously returning to public spaces we should consider how best to continue to safely serve our friends, neighbors and community. Many of us know there are children, seniors and families in need. People have been isolated for a long time and many things have been neglected. Our front-line heroes are tiring of their constant stress and vigilance and they need our support. People are out of work and have trouble feeding their families. In ways we are able I want to ask for your help in getting Connecticut (safely) back on its feet.

I am developing relationships with other non-profits and social service organizations to find ways

to work with their clients and volunteers so we all can work together. I will also recruit our own volunteers. Through support of volunteers we can get exposure to new people that can join us and help us spread our message and complete our mission in our communities.

So, what might I be able to help you with? Does your Grange need help with a project? Let’s discuss what we might be able to do while considering the restrictions. Try me out – You may be surprised at what we can come up with to get that project done. We can do many things while observing our safety precautions.

Information travels very quickly and we want to maintain our relevance and be a contributor to the betterment of CT. Tell me what you are doing and working on because we should be a little less humble. Let us share our good deeds as a Grange so people who are like us will know they are welcome. We need to talk about our good deeds so those who need us will reach out to us and ask for our help. Please share the information with me or to Terri Fassio and we can get your successes and hard work out to the masses.

On Monday, May 18, 2020, Susan Masino, President of the CT State Grange Foundation, and I hosted an online workshop about Grant Program Information and a discussion on Membership, Grants that are available to Granges and also how membership (volunteer) programs can help with the application of these grants. On the Zoom call we had 15 participants from across the state and Board members were there for support.

There are funds to get WIFI at your Grange, grants for new community based projects or capital improvements.

Are you working with food banks? The historical society? Have you opened your St Pauli Shed to help local people? Did you make masks? What things are you doing already that could use more support. Call me, email me and let’s get you help and public exposure.

I would love to have enough projects to post on websites like Volunteer Match or Idealist. You may know the smaller nonprofits in your area may not have formal virtual volunteer projects, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use the help.

If you feel shy – get in touch with me and I will call directly to the organization you are interested in and ask about volunteer opportunities. If you and your members have a special skill, let them know. Many organizations are happy to have the help and will gladly work with you to find a project that fits your interests and skills.

I am available to help you. Be sure to reach out and take advantage of the skills I have and together we can take some steps to get life at the Grange back to normal.



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