Volunteers are key in revitalization

Published 10:45 pm Sunday, September 25, 2016


First of all, please let me take this time to thank each and every one of you for your generosity in supporting our signature event — Pickin’ on the Pamlico. It was a fun night and a very festive event, but could not have been so without the support that you afforded us. Thanks!

It has been brought up many times over the last 16 different articles the importance of building a strong volunteer program. Our revitalization efforts for downtown Washington can be helpful in so many ways, but only with a strong volunteer pool. So, let us discuss just how volunteering can benefit the Washington Harbor District Alliance.

Volunteers serve in many capacities within any organization by giving of their time, energies or their talents to help fulfill the WHDA or any organization’s mission. They can help us create enthusiasm and interest that will help us continue to present a positive image throughout our community. Knowing the needs and interests of our business district, they can bring new and exciting ideas to the table. Who knows our clients better than someone who has been there?

Volunteers benefit by seeing a dream become a reality. Through their interests and desires, their work could come to fruition, and what a pleasure it could be. They will gain new knowledge about the benefits of our central business district and the importance of our downtown. They will gain knowledge and information while enhancing their very own skills and gaining valuable experience from their volunteering efforts.

The WHDA is like many other organizations in that a volunteer pool is critical to continue functioning at the high level with which we are accustomed. We need people from diverse backgrounds, socioeconomic backgrounds and ages. The more diverse this group is, the more people we may touch and the more ideas that can be shared. Our word can then be spread throughout about the beauty of Washington and what we have to offer as a place to live and raise a family. As this group grows, our enthusiasm will spread for the vibrancy and enthusiasm of the central business district, and they can even help recruit new members to our volunteer pool.

We promise that our volunteers are not considered as just “free help” but considered extensions to the downtown revitalization efforts. We encourage volunteers and would never micromanage a person who is trying. This is simply not my leadership style! Volunteers are treated like paid help, but with far less responsibilities and stress. We want the experience to be fun and one that keeps our office people friendly. There is no place at the WHDA office for negativism!

The last and probably most important role of good volunteers is that they can serve as a liaison between our staff and the community. They can answer questions before they become problems. A good volunteer will buffer any false ideas and will foster any future growth we expect with the WHDA.

In some way, I hope this article will entice some people to help us. Working together with our community will only help nourish the existing revitalization efforts that are under way, because, we will get it done! Until next week, please shop, dine and play in beautiful Washington, and if you find time … take a walk with The H-Rob.

Harold Robinson is the executive director of the Washington Harbor District Alliance.