When San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro unveiled his ambitious SA2020 vision for the City last year, I had mixed reactions. I really wanted to be jazzed. The idea as a whole is good one. I totally believe in creating community, collaborations, and making positive changes for the good of all our citizens. But, I also recognize rhetoric, fluff and a marketing company. After all, their mission "to catalyze the entire community into passionate, focused, and sustained action to achieve the shared goals that will transform San Antonio into a world-class city by the year 2020" sounds like an impossible dream to these jaded ears.
However, the drive continues. Only recently, another pep rally was held to energize the masses into continuing to work towards the eleven identified goals of SA2020
. We were told progress was being made, though not exactly how that progress came about. In addition, SA2020's version of a volunteer database website was unveiled.
With phrases like "find your passion" and "help your community," the SA2020 website calls you to get involved.
To find your passion, there's a short registration quiz where you are encouraged to "sign up for all the causes (based on the eleven goals) that make your heart sing." Filtering even further in order to match perfectly your volunteer opportunities, it asks "which of these Passions puts a spring in your step?" After a few more questions about availability and such, your profile is created, suggestions are made, and emails are sent to keep you engaged. So far, about 35 nonprofits (out of the thousands in SA) have registered and posted their volunteer needs.
Personally, I encourage you to use the summer months to get involved by finding your volunteer niche. Volunteering helps nonprofits do their jobs more effectively, which is good for the community. Volunteering pumps your resume, builds connections and helps you learn. Whether you use the kicky new SA2020 website
or the more seasoned United Way database
, find a volunteer activity which matches your interests and talents. Start out slow, with no long-term commitment. That way you can find what fits your passion and schedule. YOU can make a difference.
San Antonio activist and nonprofit veteran Laura Carter believes in enabling the community to work from the heart, not just the wallet. During her time at the San Antonio Area Foundation, Laura implemented new technology, managing website design and content for all published materials. She introduced multimedia and social media into the communications plan, increasing the community's participation in the Foundation's programs. She is currently Communications Director at Providence Catholic School.