Plymouth Volunteer Uses Skills to Help City
When there’s a need, Plymouth volunteers can fill the gap in an almost serendipitous way.
Plymouth volunteer Bilquis Khan Jiwani volunteers for the city using her professional expertise in data and evaluations. Volunteer coordinator Jackie Maas says Jiwani came along at just the right time. “In the 11 years I’ve been managing the volunteer program, there has never been a survey,” says Jackie Maas. “Surveys are not my happy place or skill set.”
But then, Jiwani stepped forward saying she wanted to help. “All of the sudden a potential volunteer showed up in our office and said hey, I’m a program evaluator and I would love to volunteer for you,” says Maas, who says coincidences like this have happened before in the Plymouth volunteer program. “I think one of the amazing things about our volunteer program is the amount of serendipity that occurs.”
Jiwani has a head—and a heart—for numbers, data, and evaluations. “I have a lot of passion for data, monitoring programs and evaluating programs. We spend so much money on programs and we don’t know if they are successful or not,” says Jiwani, who helped craft the survey tool and will help decipher the data when the surveys come back. “I have a strong quantitative background, so I love statistics a lot.”
A history of volunteers
Plymouth has a history of having a strong volunteers who give to their community in a variety of ways. “We have 70,000 potential volunteers in Plymouth and everyone has something to contribute,” says Maas. “We have volunteers who adopt parks, coach kids’ teams, and overall we have a variety of people who want to help and be a part of our community.”
Maas will take the information that Jiwani is compiling and use it to make sure the city is providing the best experiences for volunteers in the program. If you are interested in volunteering you can visit the city of Plymouth’s website for an updated list of needed volunteers.