Episode 1. Welcome to the Vollo Show Part I with Jeanette Gisbert, our next Executive Director
(Available May 5, 2020)
Episode 2. Welcome to the Vollo Show Part II with Jeanette Gisbert, our next Executive Director
(Available May 5, 2020)
Episode 3. Together We . . . with special guest Asha Curran, CEO of Giving Tuesday
(Available May 5, 2020)
The Vollo Show Podcast
This podcast is dedicated to bringing you the most inspiring interviews, stories and ways you can take action in YOUR community. With your host Tony Fasciano and broadcasting live from Volunteer New York!, a 501(c)3 not for profit organization in the heart of Tarrytown, whose mission is to help community members get off the sidelines and volunteer locally! Subscribe today to The Vollo Show to be notifed whenever a new episode becomes available. The Vollo Show Podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts from.
An Origin Story
The first use of #VOLLO to express the joining of the words "volunteer" and "local" was on December 5, 2016 and historically preserved in this tweet, which some say helped deliver the final blow to the YOLO craze and making Vollo a verified good guy right from the start.
A little over a year after first putting the word Vollo out into the universe, another more interesting idea began to stir throughout the then newly painted orange walls of Volunteer New York!. Could we create a symbol of volunteering that anyone of any age would actually want to wear and that would also be easy enough and cost efficient enough for volunteers to make?
With the support of Patti Colombo and our amazing RISE program -- which serves an important role here in our community to match young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with volunteer opportunities designed to help them gain life skills and confidence to join the workforce -- we were soon off to the races (scroll way down the page for more about bracelets) with creating the first Vollo bracelet! Only took a visit to 5 different stores and 2 online orders to find a bulk supplier for the perfect size sterling silver discs, 4 varieties of cord material and thicknesses, 3 different ways we could have knotted it, and 1 clasp idea that was a non starter -- but then it just sort of came together very quickly and we knew we had cracked it and there was no going back.
Thanks to a strong local PTA, by the fall of 2018 the entire Tuckahoe Middle School class of 8th graders made history as the first ever to receive their own vollo bracelets en masse after participating in a volunteer project to support Veterans with our friend Jim from United for the Troops through the deployment of one of our youth programs. Then the fun started and over the next 6 months our RISE team started to become an amazing volunteer force capable of making thousands of perfectly crafted and packaged vollo bracelets a year -- where each team member felt excited in their own way by the same simple fact -- their contributions as volunteers were not only substantial, but they found a way to create ripples that were radiating out into their community and inspiring others to take action, new volunteers who would then in turn be inspiring more people to get involved and create even larger rings of impact and strengthening community connections. Yes the Vollo bracelet was magic, but our volunteers were the wizards dishing it out. They were amazing.
And in no time at all something more amazing happened. Having been there with the RISE team throughout this process, what we were actually watching was a demonstration connected by week to week and bracelet to bracelet -- watching as they showed us that every single person who is willing to serve, has a value to add and a role to play that makes them an important part of a community. And we got to see this all play out through the reflection of their eyes around our orange conference room with the seven mismatched folding tables that we keep pushed together in the center of the room so it creates the illusion we have an actual conference table, and where all the while our volunteers were just sitting there gaining confidence bursting at the seems through their smiles, laughs and conversations and the life skills they came to us to find and were able to take back with them every time they left.
At this point Vollo bracelets are showing up everywhere. Volunteers are getting them to other volunteers all around the world. They are being requested for entire schools grades K-8 and our partner organizations and their volunteers. We see them when we go out to events. That's kind of rad. And people are reacting, wanting to do more with them. A very clever troop from the Girl Scouts are the first to use them as a tool to develop youth leadership. Businesses want to learn how to make them themselves and get them for their entire staff. Our packaging and assembly continues to improve with each iteration. And not only do we hear stories from volunteers, or let's just call them community leaders, about how much they love the Vollo idea and love wearing the bracelet and being able to use it to start conversations about local service while they are out and about, or when people see the bright orange statement and ask them about it, but also how they really almost never take it off, because they truly believe in what the bracelet stands for and the commitment they made to their community by having put it on (see further below for the Vollo code). By the time the 2019 Volunteer Spirit Awards was just around the corner we were sailing along with a Vollo bracelet request to make it that year’s special giveaway at the event. No sweat, over 700 bracelets went out into the world and found homes with an amazingly diverse, intelligent, compassionate and select group of volunteers -- who we know have long since fulfilled their commitment to wearing the bracelet with at least 700, if not 7000 acts of kindness and consideration towards those around them.
An Idea or an Engine?
There’s a lot from this story we’ve glossed over, but we suppose the most important unanswered question that's left is how did you go from making a point off of Yolo to setting out to create something like this that was made to autonomously inspire action, and be able to sustain its momentum as something that could spread our message further than we ever could on our own, while also pulling triple duty bringing outsiders into the world of service and helping to expand the circle of engaged community members that felt a stronger connection to where they lived after being exposed to volunteering. Was it a bit of luck? Yes. The bracelet started and ended with us. The goal to create a symbol for what we do here at Volunteer New York! was also always us. But for a lot of the rest -- we let clues from this bright yellow book that was co-written by the original Giving Tuesday Leader, Henry Timms, set some parameters for us and considerations to keep in mind. They basically laid it all out with these very three basic rules to follow. Which take but a moment to learn, but perhaps are also an example of something that can take a considerable amount of time to master or find the right balance able to spark and sustain a true thriving movement.
The Future is Bright
There was a point a few years ago when we put a lot of thought into other names that we could name the bracelet, but we always came back to the importance of the core message of what it meant to join these two special words into one: local & volunteer. A similar thing recently just happened believe it or not, years after picking one name, we then had to decide on a name for this podcast, which is what brings you to this page. But just like what the Vollo bracelet was intended to do on its own, the Vollo show even before it had a name was meant to be about building community and helping good ideas be easily shared and passed from person to person. Being able to say we are launching a podcast that will amplify the impact and awareness of its namesake cause bracelet is something that might make you think we were planning this all along. For one thing, we're excited to see a larger story start to emerge. Because there will not just be one announcement about how the Vollo bracelet and the Vollo podcast are living their best lives as a team, because even before we start, we know there are going to be many announcments and new ideas and things to refine once we are able to resume Vollo production and distribution safely, without risk of surface contamination, and in accordance will all state guidelines. But that is why we say the future is bright, because it's a world for volunteers to figure out . . . to better and to disrupt with their passions. And the good thing is that we know truly that every one can serve. We are all connected and what we do matters.
Those are the messages we are here to help new listeners discover everyday.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic the production & any distribution of Vollo bracelets have been suspended.
Thank you to all RISE volunteers for the magic you have added to our community and the lives of volunteers everywhere.
7000+ bracelets and counting. The movement will return.
Not Just A Symbol, A Call-to-Action
By wearing this bracelet you are making a commitment to create positive, local change. What that looks like is entirely up to you. Call 914-948-4452 or visit volunteernewyork.org to find hundreds of local opportunities to take action!
Each bracelet was made by volunteers for volunteers with the belief that everyone has a spark in them and the ability to make a difference. The stainless-steel circle is a link, a physical symbol of your connection back to your community and the roles that volunteers play to bring us all closer together.
- By wearing this bracelet I commit to create positive, local change
- I believe volunteering locally helps to create a safe, healthy and resilient community
- I believe everyone can serve and has a spark inside them to make a difference
- I believe volunteering is transformational
- I believe kindness is free and relationships matter
- I realize that by wearing this bracelet I am an ambassador of volunteerism and will help inspire others to find their passion for service when appropriate (or connect them to Volunteer New York!)
- When I complete my mission to create positive, local change I will pass on my bracelet to a friend and challenge them to take action
Everyone Can Serve
VOLLO bracelets are made by young adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities seeking to build skills through volunteering that will help them find better employment opportunities. By wearing this bracelet you are supporting a movement to increase inclusivity in the workforce.
The team that made your bracelet thanks you for making a commitment to your community and for believing that everyone can make a difference. To find out more about our integrated volunteering program, RISE, please visit volunteernewyork.org/RISE
WANT TO BRING THE VOLLO SPARK CHALLENGE TO YOUR SCHOOL OR GROUP?
Find out more about what type of group opportunities we offer and how you can bring the VOLLO SPARK challenge to your group of any size!
Yes, I'd like to know more