Volunteer Spotlight Award winner says her time with CLD has been "nothing short of amazing"

After a semester’s worth of volunteering events, Kelley School of Business student Ria Talukder received the CLD Volunteer Spotlight Award in congratulations for her efforts as a member of Civic Leadership Development. Volunteers who attend over five volunteering events are eligible for this award. To commemorate her efforts towards the Bloomington community, the CLD board chose Talukder for this honor.

Talukder’s involvement with CLD began as a sophomore. After finishing her freshman year, Talukder desired to dedicate herself to a cause she personally believed in while finishing out the rest of her education. She heard about CLD through the Kelley Institute for Social Impact (KISI) newsletter and decided to attend the organization’s call out meeting earlier this fall. Talukder recognized that her own ideals of social responsibility and effective leadership aligned with the goals of the organization. 

Since then, there has been no looking back. Talukder joined CLD only earlier this year, but has worked hard to immerse herself in the club since pursuing active membership. Over the course of the semester, Talukder attended 11 CLD events ranging from sorting clothes at thrift stores to building houses for a Bloomington family. 

Although all of the volunteering opportunities left Talukder with a valuable experience, she remembers having the most fun while working at the Monroe County Humane Association’s Run for the Animals/Barktoberfest. Talukder had been assigned to help with parking along with another fellow volunteer. Although it rained for most of the event, Talukder enjoyed speaking with all sorts of members from the Bloomington community while helping them find their way. She had a great time engaging with people from all walks of life - and she got to pet their cute dogs too!

Her experience with Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that aids families in building places to call home, proved to have the greatest impact on her as a volunteer. When the volunteers first gathered around the foundations of the specific house they would be working on, the Habitat workers introduced them to the future homeowners, Bob and Alice. Bob and Alice shared their struggles as a family and the appreciation they felt toward each and every person there for dedicating his or her time to improve the quality of life for other human beings. The two spoke only briefly, but Talukder continues to remember their speech months later. For the rest of the event, despite sweat collecting on brows and knots forming in backs while putting up siding, Talukder thought about what they did today and what it could mean for Bob and Alice. It was an event where she could look at the end result of the volunteering, turn around, and look at the family who would get to live a happier life because of a volunteer’s actions. 

This experience stands for what volunteering means to Talukder and what CLD overall has taught her. As a practice, volunteer work provides an opportunity for an individual to directly do something about the causes he or she cares about. Working through CLD specifically has shown her just how amazing it can be to work in a team rather than working alone, and bonding with like-minded individuals has proven to be invaluable. 

Along with memories, CLD provided Talukder skill sets for her future career as well. The teamwork one engages in while trying to follow rapid directions at events helps a volunteer acquire an attention to detail and a personality for completing assignments successfully with a taskforce. The club also allows students to pursue a hands-on experience for their goals by actively inducing change in their community, showing an ability to work in a real-world environment rather than just in classrooms.

Overall, her time with CLD thus far has been “nothing short of amazing.” Talukder looks forward to her future with the organization and will continue to engage in the behavior that helped her receive this Spotlight Award in the first place. She hopes the organization, its supporters, and the volunteers themselves continue to flourish and enjoy success.