GUEST COLUMN: Volunteering builds a bridge to belonging

By Angela DeBoskey

Volunteers often tell us that they choose to get involved because they care about their community or are looking for ways to fill their spare time.

But volunteering is also a great way for strangers with common interests to become friends.

In fall 2021, United Way of Hancock County launched Community Connections. This volunteer network was designed to help Japanese ladies who had moved to Findlay in support of local Japan-based companies to meet new people and learn more about the community while lending a helping hand. Volunteer ambassadors served alongside the women monthly, forming supportive relationships and providing valuable assistance to local programs.

Employment called many of the group members back to Japan last summer, but because of their strong connection, most remain in touch with volunteer ambassadors in Findlay. The program has served as a helpful model to create future niche volunteer opportunities that bring people together.

We deployed the model this fall when we helped connect a group of Brazilian women – also living in Findlay due to work – with local volunteer opportunities. The women brought a variety of unique skills and talents from their previous careers in Brazil and enjoyed making a difference while getting to know people in their new hometown. The ladies are committed to refining their English skills, and volunteering offers tremendous occasion to dive into the language.

Whether you are from Findlay or Finland, and whether your expertise lies in the realm of education, health, manual labor or something else, our Volunteer Center can turn your affinity into a chance to meet people whose passions will resonate with yours. Visit our website,, to explore the many volunteer opportunities available. If you have a skill that is not on the list, call our Volunteer Coordinator. Chances are that she can find a place where your particular know-how can bless others.

DeBoskey is CEO of United Way of Hancock County.

(This guest column appeared in the Jan. 25, 2023, edition of the Findlay Courier.)