For Fred Heyse, a local volunteer who has donated more than 400 hours this year to Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati
, volunteering isn’t a way for him to “give back,” he says. It’s a way for him to simply do his part.
“In a community, we’re all in it together, and somebody’s got to do the work,” Heyse says. “If we always have the mindset to let somebody else do it, we’re not going to get as much done as we should. So we all have a responsibility to chip in and do a little bit.”
Heyse, 70, has volunteered with nonprofits since 1995, and he says he began because he didn’t do enough of it when he was younger, when life seemed to revolve around his work and family.
“My priorities were skewed,” Heyse says. “So, I’m doing a lot of it now—it’s to make up and give my share.”
Though Heyse has volunteered with countless nonprofits in the community, he says two of the more notable experiences came from the work he did for organizations he never even knew existed prior to his involvement: a resident camp for Jewish children and the Marva Collins Preparatory School.
“You don’t hear a lot about the nonprofits in our day-to-day activities that are really doing a lot of good things out there unless they’re really big,” Heyse says. “But there are a lot more of them out there, and ESCC finds them, and I get put to work on them.”
ESCC volunteers work primarily in the field of business management, so Heyse, whose background is in information systems, helped the two organizations develop marketing strategies to reach more individuals.
Heyse said the Marva Collins Preparatory School, for example, hadn’t had the opportunity to compile results of where their students were going after graduation, so he did the data analysis to show parents that the school was successful.
“It’s a school for troubled and underprivileged kids, and I never even knew they were effectively running boarding schools,” Heyse says. “But they made productive kids in society, and it was a good way of making sure no kid got lost. Many of them went on to excellent colleges, and so they’re not just surviving in society, but they’re really thriving—they’re very successful kids.”
It’s these types of success stories that Heyse says are important to share and to foster as a neighbor and community member.
“At 70, I’m still learning and still growing—I not only get the thanks and appreciation from them, but I learn more about how things work and how people work, and so I’m still learning myself,” Heyse says. “That is a big part of my life. I don’t want to just sit around and stagnantly grow old. I’m able to contribute, and I’m also able to keep learning.”
• Call 211 or visit the United Way's website
to examine your interests and strengths, then choose an organization to volunteer for.
• If you are interested in business management and have business skills, volunteer
to ESCC to help the organization assist other nonprofits in need.
By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a teacher at the Regional Institute of Torah and Secular Studies. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.