About this story
Emily Ferbezar is a communications intern with United Way of Douglas County, which provides occasional features spotlighting local volunteers and charities supported by the United Way.
Elisabeth Sheridan wanted to make a difference in the Lawrence community, so she logged onto www.volunteerdouglascounty.org to find just the right volunteer opportunity.
Area nonprofit organizations in need of volunteer support post their current volunteer opportunities on the site, which is operated by the United Way Roger Hill Volunteer Center. On any given day, volunteers can chose from nearly 100 opportunities, which range from short-term projects that take just a few hours to a chance to become a key member of an agency’s team.
A posting by the Douglas County AIDS Project (DCAP) seeking individuals to serve as members of its board of directors caught Sheridan’s attention. She decided to inquire because the cause hit close to home: She has friends who live with HIV.
Douglas Count AIDS Project 21st Annual Red Ribbon Art Auction
Featured artist Lisa Grossman
Nov. 16, Maceli’s Restaurant
Doors open at 6 p.m. for food, drink and a silent auction; live auction begins at 7:30 p.m.
Suggested donation of $40
project.org for tickets and more information
DCAP provides care for those infected with HIV/AIDS and their families by offering counseling, emergency financial assistance, emotional support and referrals. The agency also promotes prevention awareness and education.
“I wanted to help dispel myths about HIV and provide education and prevention,” Sheridan said.
Even though this was Sheridan’s first opportunity to serve on a nonprofit’s board of directors, she has had a lot to offer DCAP. She has drawn on her professional skills as the senior account manager for Accredo Pharmacy and her experience with fundraising and community outreach to help DCAP evaluate and improve its programs.
As the board chair, she has been responsible for overseeing the board and communicating with DCAP volunteers and clients. Most recently she directed the planning of the 21st Annual Red Ribbon Art Auction, which will be held Nov. 16 at Maceli’s.
When you make the commitment to become a member of an organization’s board of directors, she said, “You are willing to give the time, and it’s something you are passionate about, and you are proud to tell your friends and family you are a part of [the organization].”
“As a small organization, DCAP greatly depends on the skills and talents of our board members. Elisabeth’s human resource management experience and communications background bring a level of professionalism to our organization that is invaluable,” said Trenton Garber, interim executive director of DCAP. “Having Elisabeth on our board has given us an opportunity to utilize her knowledge and experience to both strengthen our services and expand our organizational capacity to levels that we couldn’t have managed without her support.”
To those thinking about joining a board of directors for a local organization, Sheridan advised, “Think about where you want to see your community and where you want to see progress.”
To find out about area nonprofit organizations that are looking for board members, or that need volunteers to fill a host of needs, visit www.volunteerdouglascounty.org.