At LVC’s August 2015 National Orientation in Chicago, Volunteers had the opportunity to hear Kim Bobo, a worker’s rights activist and founder of the Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues. Kim inspired and amused the Volunteers with “Bobo’s 10 Lessons for Making the Most of Your LVC Year.”
- Change history NOW.
Social change historically has always been led by young people. Don’t think about work you’ll do later. Do it now.
- Develop a “Can Do” attitude.
Having a positive, “can do” spirit is the most important characteristic of being able to change the world. Pitch in and do whatever needs doing.
- Build relationships across movements.
Heather Booth, a feminist leader in the 60s, rode a Freedom Ride bus across Mississippi and is a longtime friend of Rev. Jesse Jackson. The hardworking, committed activists of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.
- Do your best and learn from mistakes.
Do the absolute best you can at any moment and then let it go. If you focus too much on avoiding mistakes, you’ll never take any risks.
- Work hard, but don’t seek perfection.
Those who brag about being perfectionists are seldom the most effective staff. We simply don’t have time for it.
- Develop skills you will need.
Most nonprofit jobs need people with skills in relationship- building, writing, speaking, computers, Spanish, and organizing. Be intentional about building the skills you will need in the field.
- Read and write.
To be a leader in social change work you must read and study the issues. You will have more influence in the world if you write.
- Control your time.
Time is the most valuable resource you have. Focus on what is important, not just pressing, and learn to nicely say “no” to things that aren’t your priorities.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
It’s okay to be uncomfortable. In fact, it’s probably good. Go to prayer vigils, marches and actions; and maybe even get arrested!
- Practice self-care and your faith.
No one will take responsibility for your care other than you—or perhaps your mother! Set one personal care goal this year. If you don’t already have habits around your faith, begin a few. We need you as long-time social activists. Not just Volunteers.
This year, you begin changing history.
[Originally published in LVC’s Fall 2015 Esprit de Corps.]