NISWAVA organizes volunteers for action

NISWAVA organizes volunteers for action


Twenty-six years ago, the field of volunteer administration was just beginning to be recognized as a professional discipline. Now, in 2002, the field is expanding by leaps and bounds as volunteers become more and more important to the delivery of needed programs and services to all citizens.

In 1976, the first meeting of the Northern Illinois Southern Wisconsin Association for Volunteer Administration, NISWAVA, brought volunteer administrators together to learn and grow through education and networking. Four individuals who were managing volunteer programs in diverse settings founded the group. Candy Long was community relations director at the Goldie B. Floberg Center for Children, Rockton; Norma Kvien was the Rockford United Way volunteer services director; Nancy Boutell was director of the Beloit Voluntary Action Center (VAC); and June Loper was director of volunteers at the Rock County Counseling Center.

While it has continued to serve a diverse group, NISWAVA has also continued to provide networking and professional development for its members. The group has met monthly, usually in Beloit or South Beloit. Beginning in September, however, NISWAVA will launch new schedule/location agenda along with expanded education and professional growth opportunities.

Today, the organization is undergoing a significant “facelift” in order to continue to meet the ever-growing need for professional management of volunteer services. Although most of the original members of the group have moved on, one of the founders, Candy Long, now of Visiting Nurses Association Money Management Program, has rejoined NISWAVA as vice-president and program chair. Long joins NISWAVA President Kris Altman, Beloit VAC skills-bank coordinator, in looking forward to a year of positive changes for NISWAVA.

According to Altman, “NISWAVA was needed 26 years ago, and it’s even more important now with our changing world. The ‘people-power’ is out there, just waiting to be appropriately tapped to enhance services and programs to our citizens. We believe that NISWAVA can best meet the needs of its members through a bit of an overhaul. No matter how good, organized, or necessary a program is, re-examination and revamping is a healthy step toward continued growth. The impact of our training and growth opportunities will be far reaching in a wide range of service delivery settings.”

The kick-off meeting for the 2003 year will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 10 at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 511 W. Rockton Rd., Rockton. Lunch will be provided free, although participants are asked to bring a copy of their job description to “pay” for their lunch. To make reservations, call Candy Long at (815) 971-4210. Interest Wisconsin volunteer administrators may call Kris Altman at (608) 365-1278.

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