Volunteering changed how I interact with colleagues and friends
This post is part of our peer counselor Q&A series which shares the perspectives of our talented volunteers. Rachel is an Empower Work peer counselor and nonprofit professional in the Bay Area.
What inspired you to become a volunteer?
I saw an ad for Empower Work at a bus stop in San Francisco and went online to learn more. I was looking for a regular volunteer opportunity and was intrigued by the concept. After talking with Empower Work’s founder, I was truly excited by the opportunity to be a part of a mission-driven startup to see something grow from its early stages.
What was the most valuable part of the training experience for you?
I was really moved by how thoughtfully Empower Work leadership designed the training. After each session, I could see how what we covered would impact my day-to-day experiences and interactions and my work on the text line.
What has surprised you most about being on the text line?
How many people—across a range of geographies and fields—have similar questions about work or are facing similar issues. Sometimes personal and work crises can feel isolating, and Empower Work has reinforced for me that we do not need to feel alone. You just need to know where to look for help.
How has your volunteer experience changed how you operate at work and/or in your life?
It has changed the way I interact with colleagues and friends! Now, when folks come to me to discuss an issue, I have the tools and appropriate language at my fingertips to help them figure out what they want to do. It really is about that person’s needs and not what or how I think they should handle a situation.
Why do you think accessible, confidential work support is so important?
Sometimes, for whatever reason, people are stuck in or placed in really unfortunate situations at work. They may not know what resources are available to them or feel comfortable asking for support from their employer. Empower Work is a service people can turn to when they need a sounding board and brainstorming partner to help them take the next steps.
What would you tell other people thinking about becoming volunteers?
Do it! This is a flexible and incredibly meaningful way to give back. You get to be a part of a supportive community of volunteers and make an impact for users around the country. This really is one of those volunteer opportunities where I feel like I’m gaining even more than those I chat with on the line.