JustServe.org is a resource to link community volunteer needs with volunteers, providing opportunities to help those in need and enhance the quality of life in the community. And it’s quickly becoming an invaluable website to help find ways to serve.
As a JustServe specialist in southern California, I offer some insights about the initiative and its website, JustServe.org.
A home run
Like many other organizations where I have introduced JustServe, Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres team was extremely receptive to the prospect of working with JustServe.
The Padres organization was about to start a community volunteer team by sending players out into the community to volunteer with local charities. When shown how they could find service projects on the website and encourage the public to support their volunteer team, the Padres easily saw the benefit of being part of JustServe.org.
To this day, I continue to get notifications advising me volunteers are signing up to serve side by side with Major League players from the San Diego Padres. Youth are particularly anxious to volunteer with Padres players. This is just one example of the impact JustServe is having on individuals and communities.
Serving like the Savior
“I attended an informal community meeting where a prominent nonprofit leader bemoaned the fact that there were very few nonprofits in the area. He claimed there were less than 10 in the entire city. I opened up JustServe in the app and typed in the zip code in question. Instantly, 55 separate posts showed up within five miles of the city. I raised my hand and showed the speaker the JustServe posts, each from separate and distinct nonprofit agencies. The entire audience became excited and asked that I pass my iPad around to show them how JustServe worked. That day, everyone who attended that meeting, about 50 people, registered on JustServe and were extremely anxious to post additional projects. JustServe.org generated so much excitement.”
Recently Church volunteers staffed a JustServe booth in Long Beach, California, at the League of California Cities Expo. The purpose of the event was for leaders from cities throughout the state to see and learn about resources that could help them to govern and their cities to thrive. Mayors, city managers and city officials visited the JustServe booth in a constant stream.
While the booth stood out for many reasons, the possibility of communicating with local volunteers instantly resonated with each leader as we demonstrated the JustServe website.
When they discovered they could manage their own projects and update their own page on the JustServe website, they became genuinely engaged. The interactive aspect of JustServe.org was extremely attractive to city leaders.
There are two important aspects to JustServe. First, JustServe, the initiative, is an invitation to serve as the Savior would. Second, serving others, both inside and outside the Church, has always been a vital tenant of our faith.
JustServe.org, the website, is the resource to help us act upon this invitation as our time and circumstances permit.
To fully use the resource, individuals first register at JustServe.org, then search by area or interest to find service opportunities around them.
Many community organizations are involved in worthwhile causes, and local JustServe representatives can show them how to take advantage of the website by posting projects — a simple and intuitive process.
Service could be included in some of the things we are already doing. For example, JustServe opportunities can be a date night activity, a way to minister together, a family home evening activity, service projects for youth and single adults, and something of mutual interest to do with our friends and neighbors.
Here is a story from Johanna Davis of the Murrieta California Stake:
“This is the second month I have been able to deliver food (from St. Martha Food Pantry) to seniors that cannot leave their house to get to the food pantry. The recipients are so sweet and appreciative. They love chatting with us; especially my daughter, Camryn. I love that I have so many opportunities to serve through JustServe.org. Not only does serving bless me personally, but it is also a great blessing to be able to teach my children that other people matter. It is our responsibility to care for people who might not be able to care for themselves.”