Franca Carr is a guide and volunteer at the Shelburne Museum, a facility dedicated to art, design and Americana located just south of Burlington, Vermont. Franca has touched the lives of many museum visitors traveling to this small country town from near and far as an educator and inspiration. Franca, a self-described “Iron Lady” who survived World War II is making a difference in her community by sharing her love for learning, and is today’s Daily Point of Light award honoree. Points of Light spoke to her to learn more about her work at Shelburne Museum.
What does volunteering mean to you?
You forget it’s a job, and that’s when you become the volunteer. I’ve been a volunteer for many, many years. Where I was raised, there was a necessity to stop doing your monetary job, and step up and do what you really felt in your heart. Volunteering for me is the heart of giving unconditionally. You give yourself, even taking risks sometimes, because you don’t pause and think about it first. Volunteering is doing, expecting nothing in return.
What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
I’ve been a volunteer at many different places – the hospital, the museum, I’ve worked with returning vets. Volunteering at the Shelburne Museum has been most rewarding ] opportunity for me. Working with the children at the museum, you have to be patient [because] they rely on you to explain things. Some of the children are underprivileged. All of these children are our future, and it’s my hope that the children take the opportunity to give themselves one day.
In five words or less, describe how giving back to others makes you feel.
Fulfilled. Absolutely fulfilled.
I work and love my job, but sometimes it’s not as fulfilling as giving a helping hand. Step out of your box and give back to others.
Why do you think it is important for others to volunteer?
There was one impaired man who visited the museum once. I spent time with him, showing him the Ticonderoga, the carousel – he didn’t want me to leave him. It broke my heart, to see this man who so needed love. Everybody has a way of giving. We all live to give [of] ourselves without expectation.
How can people help in their own communities?
There are so many ways to get involved. Everyone has something to contribute. You can go into schools, churches, hospitals, you can read to people in your community. I started at a hospital many years ago. People just have to believe that they have something to give.
What do you want people to learn from your story?
If you read one particular story about anybody, if you’re reading about me right now, you should pitch in. I think that you open the eyes of people when you are volunteering. The inspiration to volunteer comes from your heart.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Franca? Visit All For Good to find local volunteer opportunties.