What is Teamworks?
In a word – team.
Teamworks is a program run by Hands On Greater Portland which helps volunteers build relationships with like-minded people through a shared commitment to a collection of themed volunteer activities. It can help build friendships and educate volunteers about the larger community around them.
But to really understand what Teamworks is, we need to look at the most important part of a team. It’s people. To do that, I’m going to profile the members of our Teamworks team, three tonight and the rest in the coming days. It’s a motivated, diverse group that I am proud to call friends.
Joe hails from Neenah, Wisconsin, home of the Neenah Foundry, manhole cover supplier to the world. (Yes, dear reader, manhole covers must be produced somewhere.) He’s an electrical engineer by profession and has taken on the incredibly difficult task of completely renovating his home in NW Portland. Joe and his girlfriend (now wife) moved the Northwest, with little but a love of the geography, culture and climate of our little corner of paradise.
Joe understands full well the commuter, disconnected lifestyle. He worked for several years in a town far west of his home in Portland. He commuted, he worked, he commuted. Joe wanted a little more. In volunteering, he found a way to get connected with his community and give back. But Teamworks has given him something more.
“There’s an educational component as well. We’ve learned a lot [through Teamworks] about Portland and that helps us make more informed decisions about what we do, as well as what [we] support.” he told me last night while marking storm drains. It was a project in which we all learned about the environmental hazards of sewage overflow.
Joe’s right. The more we know about our community, the better informed we are. Volunteering is a great way to become informed about local issues.
Jennifer came to Portland two months ago from a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio.
She’s a biology major getting ready to restart her schooling soon. While she is waiting, she wanted to contribute and get “plugged in” to the vibrant city she came so far to experience. Jennifer had been looking for a way to plug into not only a community, but a team of volunteers who did a variety of work. Although she had volunteered with recycling drives and as a personal tutor in Ohio, she just wasn’t able to find the community connection she was looking for. She found it in Portland.
“I totally lucked out with Hands On and our Teamworks team. I stumbled on the group the day before our first meeting. Our team lead, Dannon, said that there had been a cancellation and a spot opened up. This has been a great experience for me because this team is the the first group of people I’ve really interacted with as friends here in Portland.”
Connection and community. Two great reasons to volunteer and be a part of a new city.
Like myself, Glen is a former Iowan raised in Sioux City, Iowa. Unlike myself, at age 16 he has a maturity advanced far beyond his years. Glen runs cross country for the Westview High School track team and travels all they way across the metro area to be a part of this Teamworks team.
Glen credits his family for getting him started volunteering. Living here the past 7 years, he and his family have volunteered together with such activities as the Portland Turkey Drive, helping families with less get a little more on Thanksgiving.
This summer Glen had a lot of extra time on his hand and he wanted to give something back. He saw Teamworks as a way to make a difference and help people.
When I was 16, the last thing I wanted to do was help people. I only wanted to do what my friends wanted. I am amazed at Glen’s maturity and willingness to help his community (and hang around us oldsters). That bodes well for Glen’s future.
Teamworks is about team. Teams are about people. These were just three of my fellow volunteers from Teamworks. I’ll be profiling the rest of our team in the coming days.
If you live in the Portland, Oregon area and haven’t already done so, click on over to HandsOn Portland and find a volunteering opportunity that works for you. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet some cool people like Joe, Jennifer, and Glen.
Yesterday’s gift of time … Through our Teamworks group and the City of Portland’s Environmental Services group, posted informational markers on the storm drains in the Fremont District.