Living Values through Volunteerism
At Opportunity Partners, volunteers are integral members of our community. The dedicated, hardworking, and compassionate individuals who share their time and talent with us truly embody our organizational values of impact, choice, heart, and partnership. Not only do volunteers live these values each and every day, but their in-kind contributions have huge value to the organization as well.
In essence, volunteers are “living values” in every sense of the term; that’s why we’re proud to share our “Living Values” initiative with you. Through stories, pictures, articles, and more, “Living Values” will aim to raise awareness about the profoundly positive impact volunteers can have, and demonstrate our deep gratitude for each individual’s service.
Today, we say thank you to volunteer Ryan McCaughtry for advancing inclusion.
Helping people with disabilities achieve meaningful inclusion in our communities increases interaction between individuals of all abilities and moves us toward a more accepting society. Opportunity Partners’ advocacy volunteers, like Ryan McCaughtry, help people with disabilities learn and practice the skills necessary to realize their empowerment and make a difference.
Ryan, 24, began working alongside people with disabilities at the nonprofit organization Hammer, where he was an assistant program manager at a group home. Later, at the suggestion of a friend, he signed up to volunteer at Opportunity Partners helping lead its Committee of Advocacy & Leadership (COAL) meetings. “I’m an introvert so volunteering has helped me grow as a person,” Ryan said. “It’s been growth in me and in them.” He also believes volunteering is one way he makes the community a better place. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “I don’t think people with disabilities are always respected or regarded as equals. The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) was a first step but there’s so much more to do.”
Ryan said he appreciates what he has learned about people with disabilities. “People with disabilities are people!” he said. “They have amazing personalities and volunteering with them has been really rewarding for me.” He strongly encourages others to volunteer. “We can bring different perspectives,” he said. “We show awareness and unity when we come together.” In his spare time, Ryan likes experimenting with art (he has a degree in Photography & Art History), listening to music and hiking.