Written by Kelly Williams, Volunteer Program Manager

In May of 2019, I was fresh out of treatment and new to Dallas. My instructions from my sponsor were, “go to Maggie’s and be helpful.” I volunteered at Maggie’s from then until August of 2021 when I was hired on as a Volunteer Coordinator. I knew during my time as a volunteer that I was being helpful, but I didn’t completely understand the impact my time at Maggie’s made until I became a staff member. My eyes were opened to the multitude of reasons our volunteers are truly essential in helping us achieve our mission.

Staff can focus on growing the agency

First and foremost, One of the ways I volunteered at Maggie’s was by leading classes for First Step clients as a Meeting Chair. Now that I am a staff member, I see that it is essential to our programs team for volunteers to fill this role. We have 25 meetings each week for our First Step clients. By having these meeting filled with volunteers, our staff have the time to focus on other necessary tasks throughout the week instead of having to lead each meeting. For example, every Sunday morning, our Volunteer Coordinator can spend their time orchestrating the Trader Joe’s drop-off instead of leading a class so that First Step clients have access to healthy food during their stay. With this vital volunteer opportunity consistently filled, we can thrive and grow as an organization and save money, leading us to our next way volunteers support us.

We can put our money back into programs, not staffing

We absolutely could not sustain our budget without our volunteers. Our volunteers allow us to continue offering our services free of charge, 365 days a year. Each hour donated to Maggie’s allows us to put funds obtained through grants and monetary donations directly back into our programs and the community instead of spending it on obtaining more staff to fill those positions. From January to November 2022 alone, our volunteers have donated 22,637.13 hours which is the equivalent of $677,982.0435. One volunteer position that comes to mind immediately regarding our budget is our Overnight Volunteers. Our women in First Step have staff and volunteers on site with them 24/7, but because of our Overnight Volunteers, we do not require any staff to stay overnight. Those volunteers graciously donate 16 hours of their time for each overnight shift, which hugely impacts our organization and our budget!

After reading about our overnight volunteers, you may be asking yourself: “so, do I need to volunteer ALL my free time to make a difference at The Magdalen House?” The answer is a resounding “absolutely not!” In October of this year, we had more than 2,900 hours of volunteer work logged by 180 different individuals – our most generous month yet! This includes those overnight volunteers, childcare volunteers (a 1-2 hour commitment) and groups that came in with their coworkers or family to help deep clean different areas around the house (typically a 2-4 hour commitment). Many volunteers donate an hour or so of their time here or there during the month. That neighborhood walk volunteer who could only get to the house twice during October may not have felt like she made much of a difference, but she was one of 180 volunteers who, together, made a huge difference!

 

Staff can focus on growing the agency

Whether you imagine “Creates Community” means you find your community or that you help build a community for others, the answer is yes. There is no better way to find and build a community that you, your family, and loved ones can benefit from than to volunteer.

The positive endorphins your body releases while volunteering makes you and the volunteers around you happier. You can feel more welcoming to socializing, which is also a natural stress reliever. Your part in helping an organization further its reach and mission creates a community that others in need can count on.

Programming doesn’t have to stop for major changes as we grow

Another impactful way that our volunteers have helped to fill in the gaps was during our move to Gaston. Before the move, we considered shutting our doors so that staff could focus on getting the new house ready for clients. Our volunteers made sure we didn’t have to do that! While staff carried on operations at our old location on Redwood, volunteers got busy at Gaston, and when they were done, all staff needed to do was shuttle clients from Redwood to our new home. Instead of having to close our doors for the two weeks it took to set up furniture and appliances at Gaston, we were able to continue to serve our current clients and accept new ones.

No matter the task, every volunteer here at The Magdalen House plays a part in a woman’s recovery story. Our volunteers make such a huge impact. Some of it is immediately apparent – like when a Trader Joe’s volunteer helps to stock up our client fridge every week, or when a mother thanks a Childcare volunteer for watching their child so that they can pick up their 2 month chip at Birthday Night. Other times, the impact is more subtle but long-lasting, like helping staff to take care of the house so that future clients will have a safe space to start their recovery journey, or lending a hand during our Leave a Legacy event – an event that helps us to secure our funding for the next year. Every minute of their time our volunteers donate to our organization, helps to ensure that every alcoholic woman who wants to stop drinking but cannot has access to life-changing transformation and growth in recovery.

INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING?

If you’d like to support our mission through volunteering, we’d love to have you!

Volunteer Opportunities