To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we've hand selected some of our most promising fellows in our Civic Leadership Program to shine a spotlight on. Our civic fellows manage service projects at designated non-profit partner sites by recruiting volunteers, overseeing service days and providing education to volunteers as to the mission of their partner agency.
Today we recognize Fleming Slone for his outstanding efforts to serve Atlanta. Fleming has been volunteering with Hands On Atlanta for about a year and a half, and recently was awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award. When he's not volunteering, he spends his days as a Software Engineer at FLIR Systems. We caught up with Fleming recently to talk about his work as a volunteer:
Why is volunteering important to you?
Volunteering is important to me because it gives me the opportunity to better my community while also imbuing me with a sense that I really can make a difference in the world, even as an individual. My time spent volunteering has also broadened and changed my perspective on the world, and that’s something I’m extremely grateful for.
What are the challenges facing Atlanta you care about most?
I focus my efforts on hunger and addiction issues in Atlanta, problems that are unfortunately very widespread in our community. Having seen how these issues have affected the people in my life over the years, I take a very personal interest in making resources available to those in need, and hope to ensure that no one has to go it alone as they face the terrible challenges these problems create.
Why did you decide to join the Hands On Atlanta Civic Leadership Program?
After volunteering with various organizations over the years I came to realize that I could make a greater difference if I had better organizing and fundraising skills. I saw the Civic Leadership Program as a place to work on those skills with an organization that has had a very successful track record creating leaders and making a large impact in the Atlanta community.
What has been the biggest surprise about volunteering?
The friendships that I’ve built have been the biggest and best surprise about volunteering so far. The projects I work with bring people together from all different walks of life, and I’ve made all sorts of friends that I never would’ve even met if it weren’t for this work.
What advice would you give someone thinking about making volunteering a part of their lifestyle?
For anyone considering volunteering, I say just go for it. It can be challenging at first, but after the first project or two I see volunteers come alive as they discover a new sense of purpose. Once you find the projects and the issues that speak to you personally, you really get hooked on making a difference. I know I did.
When you’re not at work or volunteering, how else do you spend your time – hobbies, interests?
I spend the majority of my spare time either reading or playing music, which has surprisingly carried over into my volunteer work. After finding a piano at one of my projects I’ve been spending my spare time learning songs to teach the kids there.
Donate now to support Fleming and his fundraising requirement to the Civic Leadership Program.