Guest Post #4: Networking in Vegas by Rae Lathrop
Our guest blogger, Rae Lathrop, has been one of two Nevada Volunteers’ AmeriCorps VISTAs this past year. She has promoted service and service-learning for the UNLV campus in Las Vegas. One of her passions as a VISTA has been to start up a networking group for young nonprofit professionals in the Southern Nevada region. Since this is her last week with us, before moving on to become Volunteer Coordinator for the Outside Las Vegas Foundation, we invited her to share her excitement for this new, much needed, group.
Here is what she had to say:
Despite all the economic reports and educational cuts, I feel like Las Vegas is a great place to be. Maybe I’m only talking to the most positive of community members, but I truly feel that great things are happening here. In the past year, I’ve only met people–busy with work and personal commitments—who attempt to bring positivity to everyone they meet and everything they do. I was talking to a woman at a networking event recently and explained my theory that the people who are here are the ones who didn’t flee when times got tough, and they are ready to put in the effort to bring this community back to life. She actually agreed, which surprised me because she doesn’t even work with nonprofits. I didn’t know that others felt this way.
That’s why I think this is the best time to join together and bring all of our positive actions into a cohesive community action. I started working with two other nonprofit staff members last September to create a Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. I was shocked, last year, to find that Southern Nevada didn’t have a great network for nonprofits (though one, the Alliance for Nevada Nonprofits, has recently begun). Also, it seems that the majority of the excited and willing-to-help people that I run into are younger, and we can learn from each other how to be effective leaders and future decision-makers. Over the last year, we’ve seen enthusiasm with every meeting, invitation, and Facebook post. Young people are happy to be a part of something, and we are providing a space for everyone to grow to their full potential.
For those of us who have hung on to our livelihoods and suffered through these dark times, I am committed to making sure that we build a community out of hardship and show others there is good work being done all around us. I had the option to leave town after my AmeriCorps VISTA term, but I am happy to say that I will be here and do my part to positively affect this community.
Anyone can join YNPN of Southern Nevada at www.facebook.com/ynpnsouthernnevada.