We believe the community is best served when we match volunteers with similar passions to organizations that address each particular need. To address this goal, we are working on an exercise designed to help people identify their top passions and connect them to opportunities in our community to serve within their areas of interest.

Dream with me a moment.

Imagine a room full of people who have gathered to learn about their passions, those internal motivators that naturally drive them deep inside. We begin by defining what passions are, then prepare for a short exercise. On the big screen, the presentation shows 60 photos for 5-seconds at a time. Each photo is scored from 1 to 5 (1 = minimal reaction, 5 = strong emotional response), then the scores are tallied to identify their top passion areas. Now the magic happens. Those whose #1 passion was _____ are asked to raise their hands and move to a place to discuss opportunities in our community with others that are passionate about the same thing. In less than an hour, dozens of connections happen between people that have similar passions to organizations that serve the community in their passion area.

The Community Resource Guide provides a natural conduit between areas of need and individual passions. Each nonprofit is led by someone passionate about a need in our community. Both the Executive Director of a multimillion-dollar enterprise and a 1-person nonprofit equally invest their time to meet the need in the community in their particular area. The challenge lies in discovering individual passions and matching them to those that serve in that area. This is the goal of the passions exercise.

Individual Exercise

Another approach is to provide an online survey that contains the photos and allows individuals to go through the same exercise. The results are scored and the top passions presented along with recommended agencies in the community. In addition, we will create a Top Passions badge designed for social media platforms to encourage sharing their results, helping others to take the exercise, and learning which friends have like passions. In other words, you don’t have to have a large group gathering to achieve similar results.

The Big Idea

The big idea is straightforward, yet compelling: find your passion and serve others in that area. Since beginning the Community Resource Guide, we have met so many amazing people. We must share this information through a vehicle that supports and promotes our dream of living in a thriving community.

Then What?

This is just one small part of the puzzle. Motivated volunteers serving in areas of need organically build relationships with those they are serving. In my wildest dreams, I see a community that isn’t defined by them and us. Instead, it’s just us. I’m stealing the idea from Mother Teresa and Father Gregory Boyle:

“Mother Teresa diagnosed the world’s ills in this way: we’ve just “forgotten that we belong to each other.” Kinship is what happens to us when we refuse to let that happen.’

Every person is wired differently, of course, and this is a gift. But some similarities help establish relationships without the use of programs, classes, or curricula. When people serve together, community happens beyond expectations.