Collaborations

Collaborations are formed in direct relationship to the capacity of the partners. Faith communities offer to provide anywhere from 3 to 50 or more volunteers on an ongoing basis, depending on their capacity at a given time. A collaboration might consist of more than one congregation partnering with an agency with a flexible number of volunteers from each, thereby meeting the total number of volunteers needed for a particular project.

The ongoing needs of Boulder County human service agencies are so extensive that valuable partnerships can be formed to meet a range of criteria.

Some of our specific collaborations are:

  • between the Buddhist Coalition and Naropa University to find volunteer opportunities for the undergraduate and graduate service components.
  • in an interfaith project, FOCUS, which mentors adult offenders in transition. This program won the Community Foundation’s Nova Award in 2007 for Civic Engagement and is a recipient of a Boulder County Commissioners’ grant in 2008.
  • with KGNU to regularly present the Lunch Time Forums.
  • with Project Revive to increase community awareness.

Innovative Approaches

We have instituted several innovative approaches as the result of our experience in this work. The first is, working with the The Volunteer Connection, we have defined a new volunteer arena for this project. Human service agencies have said that volunteerism is crucial to their operations but often, in terms of bottom line, the time it takes to put short-term projects in place, train and oversee them, is very costly. Restoring the Soul has undertaken to ask faith communities to commit to several year’s support of a project. In this way, even if individual volunteers only commit to serve for six months, the faith community itself has committed to man the project for several years, enrolling additional volunteers from its congregation as necessary. This allows the service agency to actually build a long-term program on the basis of the faith community’s commitment. This is an exciting paradigm for collaboration.

The second innovative approach is in response to faith communities’ desire to build the strength of their own community while serving others. Often a volunteer project, such as mentoring, is based on a one-to-one relationship. The faith community cannot act as a group in the project, which is often the preferred format. The model that we are encouraging, and which has drawn significant interest, is the creation of a study group within the congregation made up of its volunteers. The study group explores the meaning of service within the particular spiritual path, both historically in scripture and commentary, and in the personal experience of service. The procedure enriches the volunteers and reinforces internal community. We are also in the process of formulating a model for interfaith study groups, in which all the faiths in a particular collaboration meet and share the history and experience of service.

The third approach was inspired by the results of our initial survey. The information from congregations suggested that social engagement and volunteerism could be ranked from 1 (no interest in or plans for participation) to 5 (heavily engaged in social projects, strong numbers of volunteers). We have asked several faith communities who rank as a 5 if they would be willing to mentor those that rank as 2, 3, or 4 (some engagement, want to increase social engagement, obstacles). We already have commitments to this mentoring program.

 

Past Collaborations

In the past, we have worked with the following agencies and faith communities in the identification of projects of interest and potential partners:

  • RSVP
  • Workforce Boulder
  • Mentoring Prisoners and their families
  • Project Wraparound
  • I Have a Dream
  • Congregation Har Hashem
  • The Buddhist Coalition for Bodhisattva Activity
  • Sacred Heart of Jesus
  • Episcopal Church of Santiago
  • Sacred Heart of Mary
  • Congregation Bonai Shalom
  • Lifebridge Christian Church
  • Boulder County Foster and Adopt
  • Novei Kodesh
  • Boulder Shambhala Meditation Center
  • Senior Center of Lafayette
  • The City of Lyons
  • The Community Reentry Council
  • Cornerstone Church
  • St. Andrews Presbyterian