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A VOLUNTEER'S PERSPECTIVE...

Did you ever take a moment to think about how your life today is different compared to the past? What has changed in your life in the past three years? Five? Seven?

For Mike Musgrave, it was just over seven years ago that he began his journey as a Cleveland Sight Center (CSC) volunteer, a change that in his words, “threw me completely for a loop”.

First starting as a CSC volunteer in June of 2011, Mike casually stumbled upon volunteering with the agency as an alternative to pursuing a formal radio career, instead choosing to serve as a Radio Reading volunteer for CSCN, CSC’s radio station.

Mike hit the ground running at CSC, recording a variety of articles, magazines, PSAs and book recordings that would not only be used for CSC’s radio station, but also for the support of clients and for CSC as an organization. With Mike’s voice being used so frequently for recordings early on, Mike affectionately became known as “The Voice” by some CSC staff. However, little did Mike know that his 2011 volunteer radio role was just the start of his impact as a Cleveland Sight Center volunteer.

After beginning as a volunteer with CSC, Mike’s role quickly grew to encompass many other areas at the organization in addition his role as a radio reader. In fact, throughout his time at CSC Mike has worked in 13 programs and departments throughout the agency including Preschool Vision Screening and supportive Rehabilitation Services in the past, and areas such as Adult Literacy, secretarial support and Special Events in the present.

But seven years and counting? Why seven years? How and what is it that has kept Mike involved for such a long time as a CSC volunteer, and how and why is it that he has become involved in so many areas? The answer, according to Mike is quite simple: the people.

When Mike first began volunteering with CSC, he was impressed by everything the organization did to empower clients to live independent lives, a feeling he explains today “is something this agency takes very seriously.” Aside from staff dedication to supporting and empowering clients, Mike adds he is also continuously astounded by the raw determination clients have to move towards their goals, as well as the cycle of giving back he sees when clients come back to CSC to volunteer.

Seeing the impact CSC has on people and the spirit it brings out both in staff and in clients is something that keeps Mike dedicated to the CSC family. Mike explains it is this culture that has helped his experience as a CSC Volunteer to serve as “a continuous learning process” both for himself, but also for clients and staff in areas where he serves as a volunteer.  “I have taught clients,” he continues, “but also learned from each individual what it is I can do to improve to support them. This, combined with the way CSC staff honor and promote the mission, this is what makes this place unlike any other.” 

So, lucky for Cleveland Sight Center, Mike keeps coming back to the agency to grow, cheerlead and support efforts of the CSC mission. Over the years, Mike has given over 2,670 hours (and counting) of his time to the organization-quite the impact for someone who became involved with the agency so serendipitously.

So the next time you think about your life, perhaps when considering where things could be in the next 7 years, consider doing something that could throw you completely for a loop! Try something you have never done before. Take a leap. Volunteer for an organization that will support your learning and engagement, no matter where life takes you throughout the years.

    

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