Be Somebody—Be a Volunteer Beyond benefiting our association, colleagues and professions, volunteering for ASHA enriches us personally. From the President
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From the President  |   December 01, 2014
Be Somebody—Be a Volunteer
Author Notes
  • Elizabeth McCrea, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a clinical professor emerita of the Department of Speech and Language Sciences at Indiana University. She continues her work in clinical education with the externship program at Nova Southeastern University. mccreae@indiana.edu
    Elizabeth McCrea, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a clinical professor emerita of the Department of Speech and Language Sciences at Indiana University. She continues her work in clinical education with the externship program at Nova Southeastern University. mccreae@indiana.edu×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / From the President
From the President   |   December 01, 2014
Be Somebody—Be a Volunteer
The ASHA Leader, December 2014, Vol. 19, 4-5. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.19122014.4
The ASHA Leader, December 2014, Vol. 19, 4-5. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.19122014.4
Not being able to do everything is no excuse for not doing everything you can.
—Ashleigh Brilliant
Throughout this year I have noted how each of us belongs to several professional communities that make up ASHA: professions, Special Interest Groups and work settings. All these communities need to be strong and vibrant to reach their potentials and serve members and the professions well. And that means each of us needs to participate.
Just as we have professional communities, we also have personal communities such as family, neighborhoods, friends, sports/workout groups and book clubs. The question, then, becomes how to balance and allocate our discretionary time to support all of them. Priorities and intents change—and, along with them, our available time to participate in our communities.
The key is to stay engaged with our communities so that we can judge when our participation would be most strategic and productive. How can you do this with the ASHA professional community?
  • Check the ASHA website several times a week; content is always changing.

  • Schedule alerts from your ASHA groups so you can track what colleagues are talking about.

  • Respond to calls for action in support of legislative activity.

  • Respond to current open volunteer opportunities.

  • Vote in elections for SIG Coordinating Committee members, Advisory Council positions in your state and the ASHA Board of Directors.

These are only a few examples of ad hoc volunteering: intermittent service activities outside of formal committee and board roles. Ad hoc volunteering is fundamental to the strength of each community and ASHA as a whole. Members can choose from a range of ad hoc service opportunities to suit their various interests and available levels of energy and time.
Committee volunteering—appointed or elected service on an ASHA committee, board or council—is also central to ASHA’s mission for its members and those they serve. Each year, the association forms committees to propel strategic initiatives. Members of standing committees, boards and councils volunteer their time to do the association’s important and foundational work.
To help equip members for leadership roles in service to ASHA and beyond, ASHA developed the Leadership Development Program, which selects two cohorts of 30 participants each year, typically by work setting. The year-long program involves one face-to-face meeting and eight webinars that focus on, for example, aspects of problem-solving, empowerment of others, team-building and strategies for influencing others. Participants form learning teams that work on webinar activities. Graduates report that the program bolsters their readiness for ASHA and state association service and also enhances their effectiveness in work settings.
Indeed, beyond benefiting the association and its work for the professions, direct volunteer service enriches the volunteer. Social and volunteer service research documents how volunteering enhances people’s professional and personal lives, because it:
  • Allows volunteers to acquire new skills and refine old ones.

  • Enables one to give back to the community.

  • Provides great personal satisfaction.

  • Helps build professional (and personal) networks among colleagues.

These are just a few examples of how prioritizing your time to include professional volunteer service can be a reward in and of itself.
The following anonymous quote offers the perfect challenge for us to think about as we consider whether we have the time, energy or commitment to volunteer in support of ASHA, our colleagues and the professions: “I wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized I could be that somebody.”
Be somebody. Be a volunteer!
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FROM THIS ISSUE
December 2014
Volume 19, Issue 12