Rachel Grundner started making new connections through her job with the . She saw the volunteer work others were doing and wanted to give back in her own special way.
When she started to consider volunteering, Grundner, 26, wasn’t sure there was anything she could do with the time she had. She checked in with Giving DuPage, a clearinghouse of information about local nonprofits, and learned that her love of social media might be her personal way of giving.
“By creating awareness you make an impact,” she said. “Even the simplest thing, like updating a web page can have an impact for a group.”
She grew up in Naperville and had done a few volunteer projects in the past. As a student at she participated in Peers in Action and Best Buddies. Her participation in Best Buddies had a significant impact and she continues to be friends with the buddy she made years ago.
But, her volunteer efforts ended after high school. So she was nervous about trying to volunteer again, she said.
When she connected with Kathy Blair at Giving DuPage, Grundner learned she could use her experience with social media to help other organizations, including Giving DuPage.
Using her knowledge of Facebook and other social media, Grundner found a way she could help out that didn’t take a lot of time and which used skills she already had.
“As long as you utilize your strengths and abilities you already have, why not use it to give back to your community,” she said.
While there may be a stereotype that younger people don’t volunteer, Grundner wasn’t sure volunteering would be for her because she thought it was something older people or stay-at-home moms did.
She asked a lot of questions at the outset to make sure she didn’t get in over her head and would be able to follow through with whatever she took on.
With her newfound experience volunteering, Grundner said she expects her journey of volunteering is only just beginning. She recently joined the Naperville Junior Women’s Club and looks forward to participating with the group.
She also uses her blog to help put the spotlight on local businesses and organizations. The blog, which she started last fall, is a way for her to write about nonprofit events and other groups worth noting.
As she continues her blog she plans to write more about local nonprofit events she attends and the outcome of the fundraising efforts. For now she is still working to build the blog.
Grundner encourages others who are interested in volunteering to consider all of their options, because she said there are a wide variety of ways to give back.
“No matter what you give, even if it is an hour of your time, the smallest thing can make the largest impact,” she said.