Nicole Roach said she is passionate about volunteer work for the St. Louis community and beyond. When she is not fulfilling her director duties at Webster University’s downtown campus, chances are she is doing some form of volunteer work. Last December, Roach received news that the Missouri Senate had approved her application for a three-year term on The Missouri Community Service Commission (MCSC).
“Even today, this is totally out-of-body,” Roach said. “I don’t think that I have digested the magnitude, the level of responsibility.”
The MCSC is a state-level, federally funded organization under the economic development department of the Missouri government and is comprised of 19 appointed members. The MCSC pays special attention to informing Missouri’s youth about the need for community service, with the intention of spreading news about the importance of volunteerism.
Members of the MCSC have the power to either approve or deny propositions for grant money made by various Missouri nonprofit organizations. AmeriCorps State is a federal organization that provides grant money, volunteers and funding for nonprofit groups.
Members of the MCSC make additional evaluations after a visit to the specific location after reviewing the propositions.
Roach said members of the MCSC are given the opportunity to present awards to volunteers and organizations that are making a positive impact on the community.
In order to be a part of this state-level department, members must meet specific criteria concerning educational experience and volunteer history. Members must also undergo a thorough background check.
“(MCSC) knows everything about me, except for my garment size,” Roach said. “They check everything from fingerprints, criminal record, finances and employment history to make sure you’re representing the state of Missouri in the most positive light.”
Roach meets the education experience requirements from her position at Webster University. But it was her dedication to volunteering at United Way of Greater St. Louis that got her recommended for the position on the state-level commission.
Roach started her volunteer efforts with United Way in 2011.
She is part of an allocations panel with United Way, which is a volunteer department. The panel is under the direction of Cassandra Kaufman, vice president of Community Investment. The volunteer work Roach does for United Way is similar to what she does on the MCSC — primarily reviewing agencies. Kaufman said this is her second year working with Roach and she is excited to work with her again this year.
“There is so much going on in the world right now that is bad, that is depressing, that can make you want to throw in the towel and give up,” Roach said. “But when you see the impact that even an hour of volunteering can make, its mind blowing.”
Roach believes that everyone should engage in some sort of community service, no matter how small the contribution.
“Getting everyone to understand the difference they can make, even in their small part of the world is important,” Roach said. “As they say, it takes a whole bunch of little victories to change the world. I see that with this commission already and I’m just getting started.”