Meet Ilana. She is a member and volunteer at MCC and has lived in the neighborhood for many years. She’s been volunteering with us since 2015, filling a number of different roles at MCC. Beginning with marketing for events around the community, doing community outreach and communication, and then following the 2016 election, she began a more direct partnership for civic engagement which is what she has continued doing until today. She most recently has helped the center with our voting mobilization and civic engagement, tabling in our lobby to register people to vote, and helping to promote our civic engagement events and community discussions. Read about the experience in her words:
Volunteering has been a positive and engaging experience for me. I have lived here my whole life, and I wanted to feel like I could play a role in engaging in the neighborhood – not just let changes in the neighborhood pass me by.
There is so much attention on national politics, but I also think it’s important to know about what’s going on in your own state, town, and community. The work we do here is really important and tied to that; addressing how worldwide and national political events affect you on a personal level.
There are things happening in your community that you can’t address on the national political level until you address them locally. In NY especially this work feels inaccessible; there are a lot of barriers to people being civically involved. Civic engagement is a way to break down those barriers and take the power back. It feels like it happens to you, but what if you could happen to it?
To me, volunteering is a great way to get people politically involved in that barrier breaking and a way to get people thinking about the issues that impact their everyday lives. When politics is often about winning and losing, it is important to remember the more personal parts of civic engagement.
I have gotten so much personally out of this building and this neighborhood. Volunteering here is a chance to be more active in and to give back to something that has benefitted me, and to get to know a place that has been a pillar of the community.
If you feel strongly about civic engagement and voter mobilization please join me!
Volunteers are integral to the work we do at Manny Cantor Center, our spotlight series provides an opportunity to share the stories of why community members volunteer, what they gain from the experience, and the impact they are able to make. Thank you to all who choose to come through our doors to help build the community we want to live in.
If you are interested in volunteering with us here at Manny Cantor Center, we have opportunities available for a variety of schedules and interests. Learn more about serving at MCC here.