An Unexpected Path

Trevor's Story - April 2017

Trevor Chilton joined the Volunteer Center of Lubbock staff, officially, in 2015, but he was no stranger to the VCL. Growing up in Lubbock, Trevor did not anticipate a career of service. He made other plans for his life. But over the years, his path kept intersecting with the Volunteer Center and he has returned to his hometown to serve his community.

As a child, Trevor volunteered with his mother at his church, serving meals to families who didn’t have a home. In high school, Trevor became involved in the United Way Youth Division, admittedly as an excuse to hang out with friends on nights and weekends. He also served as a youth member on the Volunteer Center’s board of directors. Trevor says as a high school student he felt disconnected from the community, but these experiences taught him age is hardly the limiting factor to influencing change.

“I could receive help from those older than me,” Trevor said, “but what could I do for my community? These experiences taught me that not only can a 16-year-old affect change, but that change can be substantial. And if you’re not in a program or a group of friends that is giving you opportunities to do something bigger than yourself, then seek out those experiences on your own.”

In the summer of 2014, Trevor was a summer Nonprofit Fellow at the Volunteer Center as he prepared to apply for Texas A&M University’s veterinarian school. That summer as he helped coordinate the family volunteering program he met with several agency partners and worked on many group projects that focused on animals. He saw another side of the profession that combined animals and volunteerism to make a positive impact on the community.

The following year Trevor found out he was not accepted to vet school and returned home, at a loss as to what his next step would be. He reached out to Sharon Bass, whom he calls his mentor, and Sharon sat down with him. She calmed him down, assuring him that this wasn’t quite the disaster it seemed in the moment, offering some suggestions and listening. A few weeks later a position opened at the VCL and Trevor applied, finding a place to put his talents to use. He is now the Volunteer Center’s Partnerships Coordinator and works to build and foster relationships across sectors in the community.

“What we have seen recently is the trend of Lubbock businesses seeking out hands-on opportunities for their employees to get involved,” said Trevor. “We are working hard to provide meaningful service opportunities to our business partners, and it’s an area that we think will continue to grow rapidly moving forward.”

Last year, the Volunteer Center engaged more than 41,000 people across the South Plains, a true testament to the power of partnerships.

Though Trevor’s path has been a winding one, he has found purpose in his position at the Volunteer Center.

“I’ve become more aware of the challenges and problems our community faces, but also have been exposed to some of the most passionate and dedicated people out there,” he says. “It can be difficult to find the time and energy to volunteer, but I think once people find opportunities in line with what they’re looking for, they gain a broader perspective of the city they call home.”

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