Amber Goode’s urge to get more involved in her community through volunteerism was set in motion as a teenager. When she was just 14 years old, Goode volunteered to answer phone calls during a telethon raising awareness for a victims’ rights organization in Charlotte.
“That was what originally set in motion my desire to get involved as an adult and do what little I could to be part of a positive change in our community,” said Goode, an office manager at AMP Laboratories Ltd. in Concord. “Volunteering and getting involved in the community was important to me from a young age.”
Since then, Goode has found more ways to put time toward good causes and local nonprofits, including through projects organized by United Way’s Hands On Charlotte.
“I didn’t come from a family that did a lot of volunteer work,” Goode said. “But I wanted to help do something and although not having a lot of extra money to be able to donate, I did have extra time.”
Hands On Charlotte provides group and individual volunteer opportunities across the Charlotte region, from sorting clothes and food to building playgrounds. People can choose projects based on their interests and at times that are convenient to them.
Through Hands On Charlotte, Goode helped with the Special Rollers Bowling League and pet visits at area nursing homes before finding a passion with hands-on work at Carolina Raptor Center, a nonprofit focused on environmental education and stewardship and the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned birds.
The nonprofit’s For the Birds opportunity allows volunteers to help with trail building and maintenance, build new bird enclosures and perform general landscaping. Goode said the project stuck with her after her son got involved with it to earn service learning hours for school.
“We started going to Carolina Raptor Center and it was a great project for us by getting to be outside, around the birds and with the people who work there,” Goode said. “Knowing that we’re helping the center to do all the different things it does in the community makes me feel good.”
Seven years later, Goode still enjoys volunteering at Carolina Raptor Center and spends extra time helping the nonprofit outside of organized projects. In 2013, she took on a larger role as a volunteer leader with For the Birds after going through Hands On Charlotte’s volunteer leader training.
This experience – along with volunteering during the annual Hands On Charlotte Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Call to Service events – has introduced Goode to new people, helped her build relationships and kept her active while giving back to the community.
“I love meeting the different people and interacting with other families and their kids,” Goode said. “My goal with Hands On Charlotte is to eventually branch out and get involved with another project that involves working more directly with local youth.”