Member Spotlight: January 2017

 

Member Spotlight:

Lisa Fellows Bobbitt
Volunteer Services Manager ~ Cleveland Metroparks

 

“Far and away, the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt.

Upon graduating from The College of Wooster, I was discussing with my dad the dilemma of what to actually do with a liberal arts degree in communication studies. He asked when I felt I was making a difference in the lives of others, specifically at work worth doing? I reflected on having the best alternative spring break experience with a group of young people to West Virginia. Our days were filled with debris clearing, river bank stabilization and home renovations projects for a lady’s home that was severely flood damaged. After exploring the Peace Corps, I decided I didn’t want to be away from my family for that long so applied to perhaps the lesser known program of AmeriCorps. At City Year Cleveland, I managed teams of volunteers in schools, youth service learning programs and community engagement service projects. While there for 3 years, I was introduced to this whole field of volunteer administration that I never even realized existed. There were many more pieces and parts to creating worthwhile service experiences than I had ever imagined. While learning on the job helps, it’s through being a part of FVA that we’re able to fully appreciate the community of volunteer administrators. You all help create a safe space to explore issues and share best practices in a way you aren’t able to get in a classroom or read in a book.

I’ve had the opportunity to work at a variety of public service organizations, such as Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP), and MedWish International. There are more layers to this specialty then one might think, so while at CSU, I decided to further my knowledge by earning a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration on Volunteer Management, Human Resources and Environmental Studies. While at CVNP, I couldn’t believe the opportunities to conserve our natural resources, expose people to safer visitation, and educate folks on the beautiful history of our region. As a Park Ranger in the volunteer office, I mainly leading native plant restoration projects with youth groups in the summer, and learned much as Head Elf on the Polar Express

For the past 5 years, I get to work hard at work worth doing with Cleveland Metroparks, as part of Volunteer Services, first as a Specialist, now as a Manager. In my role, I focus primarily on supporting our ongoing individual volunteer opportunities throughout dozens of different sites. The breadth of talented, passionate, bright people found throughout the Park District never ceases to amaze me . Our small division promotes community involvement through rewarding volunteer opportunities that support the needs and mission of Cleveland Metroparks. As part of the Human Resources department, we process applications, interview and screen potential volunteers, provide orientations and support site placements, coordinate short term volunteer projects, manage recognition, organize special events, distribute a variety of communications, and much more for all unpaid staff throughout the organization.

One of my favorite parts has been as a writer and trainer, actually trying to use that communications degree. One of the most worthwhile experience has been becoming a Certified Instructor with the American Red Cross, where I teach classes on how to be a basic first responder. Not only does the work I do make a difference by meeting the needs of hundreds of my colleagues; I’ve been fortunate enough to hear multiple times how someone used the knowledge and skills because of the effective training I gave to save someone’s life during a medical emergency! I love being part of creating an environment where people can learn, grow, explore and meet like minded, passionate people while giving back to the amazing Emerald Necklace. Every year we have nearly 5,000 volunteers who donate their time and energy throughout 18 reservations spanning 23,000+ acres with more than 300 miles of trails, five nature centers, eight golf courses, and a nationally-acclaimed zoo. The impact of volunteers at Cleveland Metroparks is immense, and I get to play a key role in supporting these significant connections!

- Lisa Fellows Bobbitt

Learn more about Cleveland Metroparks and its volunteer program and community involvement at https://clevelandmetroparks.com/parks/get-involved/volunteer 

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