Shelby Hood

I first heard about Serve Houston in February 2015 from Barbara Allen, Executive Director of Nabor House Community. Out of sheer luck, or more likely God’s good timing, I stumbled upon a volunteer opportunity with Nabor House. While volunteering, Barbara mentioned that a new Houston nonprofit organization was hosting its kickoff dinner the following week. I knew little about Serve Houston’s mission, except that they connected young professionals to nonprofit organizations in the Houston area. I had just moved to Houston and wanted to integrate into the community, and I saw involvement with Serve Houston as my way to do just that.

The launch dinner actually doubled as a second date for my now-boyfriend and I. We enjoyed dinner together, completed the skills deck, and socialized with the impact organizations. After the presenters spoke, it was blatantly obvious that Serve Houston was onto something. In all of my years of volunteering, I had never been asked what skills I had to offer. I realized that matching skills (and passion) with need could exponentially increase the impact of volunteerism.  And just like that, I was sold on Serve Houston’s mission.

After the launch, I served as a Troubleshooter as Serve Houston gained its footing in the Houston nonprofit sector, attended the Serve Houston gatherings, and volunteered with Impact Organizations that needed my specific skills. In December 2015, I performed an assessment for Nabor House Community to determine their 2016 volunteer needs. At the beginning of 2016, I worked with All Nations Sports Academy (ANSA) to redefine their organizational chart with room for future growth. Most recently, I worked with another Serve Houston volunteer to plan a Nabor House Community promotional breakfast.  All of these opportunities utilized my top skills: organization, event planning, and strategic thinking.

Although my time in Houston is coming to a close, I am spending my last two months wisely. I will be interning with Nabor House Community over the summer to plan their first annual signature event. This internship will build upon the volunteer opportunities that Serve Houston identified and facilitated. For this and so many other reasons, I am grateful for Serve Houston. Not only has the organization helped make Houston feel like home, but it has connected me with countless loving, inspirational people. Serve Houston increases the impact of nonprofits by pairing them with skilled volunteers, and I think every city could benefit from such an organization.

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