Integration in the Community Through Volunteering at Goodwill

April is National Volunteer Month. Today’s Good News . . . Guest Blogger Alina, a Goodwill Volunteer who recently moved to the United States from Russia, shares her experience volunteering in Goodwill’s Resource Room and how it has helped her adjust to life in America.

When I came to Roanoke, I had nothing to do; I knew very few people and that left me feeling stuck at home. My situation might sound like a familiar one to a lot of people. I was spending hours surfing the Internet or trying to read. That did kill the time but not the thought, “What else could I do?”

I was striving to find something meaningful to do. My search brought me to attend a volunteer fair in downtown Roanoke. I was strolling around the hall not knowing where to stop or what to ask. I was on my way out, and I passed by the last table which happened to be Goodwill. I hesitated a little, but Kelly, Senior Director of Marketing & Community Relations, directed her attention to me and spoke. After our conversation, I put my name on the volunteer application and later received an email with an invitation to attend a volunteer orientation. During the orientation, I learned about Goodwill programs and how I could participate in them.

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Goodwill’s Resource Room at the Melrose Jobs Campus

I started volunteering in the “Workforce Development” program which provides resources and helps people find a job. I started to help in the Resource Room that provides those who come in with a comfortable and modern working place and includes computers with Internet access, fax, printer, and scanning capabilities. Also, anyone can use the Resource Room along with the provided tools and resources. And it doesn’t cost any money; people just have to be motivated to come!

When I am volunteering, I help individuals set up an email account, assist them as they fill out online applications, and answer general questions they might have like “How to apply?”, “Where to apply?”, “What website should I go to?”. Goodwill provides computer literacy courses, where people can obtain new skills and knowledge to become more independent while looking and applying for jobs online. Again, these classes are absolutely free!

I believe that helping others assists me to further develop my communication, social skills, and helps me build more confidence. Even if your initial reason for volunteering is to enhance your resume, later you will realize something else is becoming more important to you. Volunteering gives you opportunities and skills that are otherwise impossible to obtain on your own.

About Alina

Alina Shockley, originally from Moscow, now calls Roanoke home.
Alina Shockley, originally from Moscow, now calls Roanoke home.

Alina Shockley was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. After graduating the University in Moscow in 2007, she started her career path at the consulting company, Deloitte, as Comp&Ben Specialist in HR. She moved to Germany at 24 years old to work on her Master’s degree. When she was working on her Master’s, she had an exciting experience with an Internship in Campaign Management at Vodafone in Germany. During this internship, she assisted in creating, developing, and maintaining marketing campaigns. In October of 2013, she graduated from the FH Aachen with a Master’s degree in International Business Management, got married and moved to Roanoke, VA. Traveling and learning about new cultures helps her realize who she truly is and who she wants to be.

Goodwill has a variety of volunteer opportunities available. For more information visit our website or contact Sarah Stevens, Volunteer Coordinator, at SStephens@goodwillvalleys.com

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