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 Keona Maye for her outstanding efforts to serve Atlanta. Keona has been volunteering with Hands On Atlanta for 2 years and when she's not volunteering, she spends her days as a Senior Property Manager at Goal Property Services. We caught up with Keona recently to talk about her work as a volunteer:
Why is volunteering important to you?
I believe that our lives are not complete if we live them selfishly. It wasn’t until I began volunteering that I felt the most fulfilled and found purpose. It’s important for me to help others and serve especially because people have helped me. We’re responsible for one another.
What are the challenges facing Atlanta you care about most?
I care strongly about homelessness, which of course, relates to my career field of real estate. Atlanta has been named “One of the Neediest Cities in America” ranking high among cities like Detroit and Memphis due to a growing homeless population. It is my goal to partner with a nonprofit, such as, The Atlanta Children’s Shelter or Our House, that works to combat this issue.
Why did you decide to join the Hands On Atlanta Civic Leadership Program?
I was considering pursuing a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management when I learned about Hands On Atlanta’s Civic Leadership Program. I opted to interview for the program instead of obtaining another degree because CLP offered training along with real world experience. I was also familiar with Hands On Atlanta and the amazing work that the organization was doing for local communities. I truly wanted to be a part of its impact.
What has been the biggest surprise about volunteering?
The biggest surprise about volunteering has been the people! You meet every day people with every day lives that decided to dedicate their most valuable asset - their time, and are actually excited about it. I love it when volunteers show up early, ask questions about the organization and its mission, and leave smiling and feeling great about themselves. Hopefully it means they’ll come back.
What advice would you give someone thinking about making volunteering a part of their lifestyle?
I would advise that person to find their “why” and a volunteer opportunity that they really enjoy. If they want to be consistent, it’ll be easier to participate when they understand the reason they actually want to volunteer and the difference they’re making. It also helps if they’re having fun and their interests are being met.
When you’re not at work or volunteering, how else do you spend your time – hobbies, interests?
I spend lots of time with family and friends. They keep me pretty busy and it’s important that I foster those relationships despite my professional life. However, I’ve also started a vacant home cleaning business that is beginning to grow and thrive and definitely takes up more of my time.
Donate now to support Keona and her fundraising requirement to the Civic Leadership Program.