When I moved to Sandpoint seven years ago, I knew that I wanted to contribute to the community in a meaningful way. Volunteering seemed like a good way to do that. Because I didn’t know anyone here, I initially went online to search for local opportunities. That didn’t produce any viable options, so, not sure where to search next, I headed for the library to ask for their help.

I was fortunate that from there, everything fell into place. The library itself happened to be in need of volunteers. I was very impressed by our awesome library, so I promptly filled out their application. The volunteer position that followed eventually led me to where I am now as their Volunteer Coordinator.

I often think what would have happened if I hadn’t gone to the library that day and how many missed volunteer opportunities there are in our community overall because there’s nothing to connect those in need with those wanting to serve. I wished there was a way to pool our community resources to create some sort of a centralized volunteer portal. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one thinking along these lines.

 Last year the Sandpoint Community Resource Center (SCRC) had a similar vision of a one-stop-shop for volunteerism in our community, a place where local organizations could get the recruitment training they need and be able to post local opportunities on a community site where volunteers can easily find them and connect.


SCRC is actually making that vision a reality. Working with local volunteer leadership, and with the help of Americorp Volunteer, Elise Boyce they have created VIP (Volunteer Idaho Panhandle).

VIP has harnessed the power of VolunteerUnited.org as the place to list and find local volunteer needs for Bonner and Boundary Counties. But that’s not all. By using the existing skills and generosity of local volunteers and volunteer leadership who are partnering with them, they are also offering recruitment training programs and future volunteer events like recruitment fairs.

The East Bonner County library is just one of the VIP program’s many partners in this worthy endeavor. Some of the VIP training programs will take place in the library and we hope to participate in many of the recruitment events. Most importantly, we are helping to raise awareness about this fantastic resource.

Our North Idaho community is working together to empower local volunteers and the organizations that depend on them. We can all play our part in making VIP the place to go to recruit and to find volunteer opportunities by spreading the word. Visit the site today to see what VIP has to offer. Seven years ago, when I walked into the library to get help finding places to volunteer nothing like VIP existed and if the library hadn’t recruited me, I don’t know what would have happened. It’s great to know that there is now one place for all things volunteer related in the Panhandle.

Annette Anderson, Volunteer Coordinator

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