Frequently Asked Questions About Volunteering

I had a lot of questions about volunteering before I made the leap, and consequently a lot of false assumptions. I have learned through my humble sampling of experiences now that the following questions do actually have reassuring answers. Here they are in no particular order and with varying degrees of accuracy.

1. Isn’t it boring?

You would think so, right? Each time I volunteer for a new activity, I worry this will be the case. So far, it has yet to ring true. From phone banking to canvassing, every experience has included moments of laughter, moments of adrenaline, and admittedly a few moments of poorly concealed rage. What I haven’t experienced is boredom.

It was during my first phone banking attempt that I called the number of the most inspiring and hilarious elderly woman I’ve ever encountered. All I could do was try to muffle my hysterical laughter as she ambled through a monologue detailing her vitriol for Jamie Herrera Beutler and the depths of her disappointment that the daily letters she sent requesting her resignation had thus far failed. I barely noticed the phone call was taking five times too long as she cracked a litany of one-liners and ended with a declaration of her love for me and how proud of me she was. Continue reading “Frequently Asked Questions About Volunteering”

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Two Sentences

It turns out you don’t have to have a spiel or strategy. A successful volunteer is both a passionate and a candid one. Words said in earnest will always mean more than practiced phrases scripted and polished.

Of all the volunteer activities in which I have thus far participated, my favorite is tabling at the Farmer’s Market at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver. Political organizations are not allowed within the boundaries of the  market itself, but they may situate themselves within the “free speech zone” on either side of the sidewalk leading up to the market’s entrance. It is here that the other candidates station canvassers and plant signs, and activist organizations post volunteers to garner signatures for petitions. Carolyn Long’s campaign sets up a table under a shade canopy equipped with buttons, pamphlets, and volunteer sign-up sheets, and I mull up and down the sidewalk near the table offering informative pamphlets to park-goers and making small talk about ground-breaking topics like their adorable dogs or college alumnus attire.

Continue reading “Two Sentences”

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The Wake Up Call

I am documenting my experience volunteering for Carolyn Long as she runs for Congress in Washington’s 3rd District. I believe if we work together to change the face of our political sphere, a new government will take shape, one that represents the very best in each of us.

I am a volunteer for Carolyn Long, who is running for the House seat in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. This is my first experience volunteering for a political campaign, and I have decided to document the experience in a set of blog posts to commemorate my contribution to the Year of the Woman. I cannot say enough positive things about Carolyn; she’s brilliant and articulate, charismatic and charming, etc. and so forth, but this story doesn’t actually start with her. It starts a little further back… with Trump.

Unlike most of my colleagues in the Portland metropolitan area, I wasn’t surprised when Trump won. After growing up in northern Idaho, I knew that vast swathes of our country completely abhorred what they viewed as pretentious elitism in educated populations. While they might show some pride in a first generation college student among their family members, such a relative would inevitably be a black sheep, met with skepticism Continue reading “The Wake Up Call”

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