The new Barrington Area Volunteer Connection is a valuable and innovative resource for those interested in volunteering their time and talents to connect with local causes that need our help, now more than ever. Volunteers are beginning to sign up and new nonprofit and other volunteer opportunities are popping up weekly.
The benefits of volunteering are well-known. Volunteering your time for an organization you believe in creates a sense of well-being and helps counteract the effects of stress, wards off anxiety and depression, and provides a deep sense of purpose for those looking to make a difference in their communities.
To illustrate the impact of volunteering in the Barrington community, we’ll be introducing you to some of the first people signing up to use the new BAVC platform, starting today with Frank McGovern. A long-time local resident, Frank says volunteering in Barrington over the years has impacted his life in significant ways.
365: How long have you lived/worked/volunteered in the Barrington area and what brought you to this community?
Frank McGovern: Our family moved to Barrington from New England in 2005 when the bank that I worked for (RBS Citizens) asked me to move back to the area following a major acquisition (Charter One). Although I grew up on the other side of Lake County in Deerfield, my wife Marie and I really liked Barrington – more open spaces, woods, and rolling terrain. We also knew about the quality of Barrington’s schools. For the first couple of years I didn’t have much time for volunteering, but I had been an active volunteer when we lived in Connecticut mainly through Rotary. I joined the Barrington Noon Rotary when approached by Norval Stephens.
365: What are your favorite ways to volunteer and favorite organizations to support?
Frank McGovern: There are some really great organizations in the Barrington area that I’ve been honored to work with like the Career Center, Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce, and United Way, but I’ve been a Rotarian for almost 20 years for a reason. We are a group of like-minded supporters of a wide variety of causes locally and internationally, there are so many different ways to serve and learn about ways to make a positive difference.
365: What have been the benefits of volunteering in your life?
Frank McGovern: “Volunteering exposes you to some great people who share your values, and gives you a broader perspective that’s really valuable. Instead of watching what’s going on in the world and worrying, you get the opportunity to help make a difference.”
365: What have you learned along the way?
Frank McGovern: “That people are more alike than they are different, and that there’s a lot of good in the world.”
365: Has volunteering in any way benefitted your professional life or vice versa?
Frank McGovern: “I think volunteering made me a better executive – working in a single industry for a very long time tends to give you a pretty narrow focus, and exposure to other ways of thinking makes you a better leader. I think the skills I bring to the table add a certain level of discipline and perspective to causes.”
365: What is your connection to/role with the BAVC and why were you excited to get involved?
Frank McGovern: “Bob Lee approached me about BAVC and asked me what I thought about it. We’re both members of the Noon Rotary Club, and he’s one of the most community minded people that I’ve ever met. The concept makes perfect sense to me, making it easy to find, learn, and connect with local causes. As for my role with BAVC, I serve as an Ambassador for some of the non-profits and service clubs, helping provide some technical support with our website.”
365: What do you hope the BAVC will accomplish and why?
Frank McGovern: “Aside from finding and engaging volunteers, I hope the non-profits agencies, service organizations, and faith communities learn more about each other and find ways to collaborate to solve problems. We all have very similar desires to make our community a better place for everyone.”
365: What’s one (or more) of your favorite places to go/things to do in Barrington and why?
Frank McGovern: “Now that I’m retired, I have a lot more time to enjoy everything in our area. I really love the outdoors and spend a good deal of time at Citizens Park / Cuba Marsh, I golf at Stonehenge, and bike at Deer Grove. Bob has brought me to Citizens For Conservation work days, I hope to do more of that this year.”
Frank McGovern: “Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. – one of the best experiences I ever had was to serve as Treasurer of the MLK Scholarship Trust Fund in Connecticut for many years, the kids and fellow board members were really inspiring. The concept of judging people by the content of their character has always resonated with me.”
365: Is there someone in Barrington you particularly admire? Who and why?
Frank McGovern: “I’ve been inspired by quite a few people in Barrington like Bob Lee, but to name two others it would be Norval Stephens and Dave Nelson. Each of them has given so much of themselves to causes, they are all open to new ideas, and are infectious in their enthusiasm (and none really take no as an answer – love the tenacity!).”
For more information or to begin using the Volunteer Connection as either a nonprofit or a resident seeking out volunteer opportunities, please go to TheBAVC.org.
About the Barrington Area Volunteer Connection
Launched in January of 2021, the Barrington Area Volunteer Connection (BAVC) was developed via a partnership between Barrington Area Development Council and the Barrington Area Library. BAVC’s goal is to bring all 100+ Barrington area nonprofits, churches and service organizations in one searchable database so that volunteers can easily find opportunities. The foundation of BAVC is a volunteer match platform called Get Connected which serves as a clearinghouse to bring together organizations, volunteers, and collaborators to match volunteer interests with nonprofits needing assistance. GetConnected also offers organizations optional features such as easy record keeping of volunteer hours, as well as mobile check in and shift reminders and other ways to communicate with volunteers. Learn more at TheBAVC.org.
* BAVC Photos by Bob Lee