Giving: Besa Helps Amanda Wilson Find Volunteer Opportunities
Through a workplace volunteer program, Amanda Wilson has helped out in myriad ways.
Amanda Wilson has always had the will and desire to give back, but hasn’t always known how.
Thanks to her job and its affiliation with a community hub for volunteerism, she has found many ways.
Wilson is director of accounting at Kaufman Development, which encourages employees to donate their time and talents through Besa, a Columbus organization that connects people with more than 50 partner charities.
“Kaufman really promotes volunteerism through Besa, which makes the process seamless and makes it easy to volunteer,” Wilson says. “I’ve always liked to help, even though I couldn’t always find a way. Sometimes I haven’t known how to help, which has defaulted to inaction.”
Today, the 32-year-old Short North resident is anything but inactive. So far this year, she has given more than 50 hours on 24 projects, from packing and distributing food with the Mid-Ohio Food Collective to baking treats for victims of domestic violence through LSS CHOICES. She picks up litter, pulls weeds, writes holiday cards to seniors, and participates in the Random Acts of Kindness and Dress for Success programs.
Her volunteer efforts have multiplied significantly in the last two years, both as a result of her affiliation with Besa and the impact of COVID-19, social justice and other current issues. “I have a lot more gratitude for my time, my health and my support system. I’m more focused on giving back. I find myself spending less time on social media and things that don’t really matter, and more time on productive things,” Wilson says.
Issues of racial equity prompted Wilson to become active in voter registration and Election Day activities for the first time last year. “I believe strongly in the importance of voting and participation in our democracy and want to continue to do my part in encouraging others to engage and vote,” says Wilson, who plans to volunteer annually.
Voter volunteer efforts also presented the opportunity to engage in-person after more than a year of virtual events. “It’s been nice to kind of re-emerge,” says Wilson, who collected coats for Goodwill at the Columbus Marathon in October. She likes being physically present when possible so she can meet the people she is serving and those who are rolling up their sleeves beside her. “I appreciate how hard everyone around me works. It’s really inspiring to see people coming together of their own accord. It’s also humbling to see people busier than I am, who have more commitments, take the time.”
Wilson has gravitated toward volunteer projects that produce tangible results she can witness firsthand. “I’m a numbers person, and I like to see where I make an impact.” She also has exercised her creative muscle through writing notes and baking.
“I always felt if I could only give an hour or two, it wouldn’t matter, but the small actions really do matter. Sometimes it’s just a conversation with someone, trying to understand their point of view and letting them feel that someone hears them.”
“I always felt if I could only give an hour or two, it wouldn’t matter, but the small actions really do matter."
This story is from the 2022 issue of Giving, a supplement of Columbus Monthly and Columbus CEO.