Organization focuses on social services needs

This monthly feature focuses on volunteer opportunities for Central Ohio families.

Besa was founded in 2012 to inspire Central Ohioans to make a difference in their communities. Five years later, more than 70 local nonprofits have reaped the benefits of its volunteers.

Besa, itself a nonprofit organization, bears an Albanian moniker. “It translates into promise and this idea that our word is probably the most valuable thing that we have,” said Matthew Goldstein, co-founder and executive director.

To date, Besa’s community volunteers have given $1.15 million in goods and services and more than 34,000 donated hours. (Add its corporate projects and the numbers climb to $2 million and 45,000 hours, Goldstein said.)

The organization makes it easy for families to get involved. Its website lists volunteer opportunities, and icons denote the minimum age for each project. Volunteers work on meaningful jobs, Goldstein said: “It’s not stuffing envelopes.” Besa partners with more than 70 nonprofits focused on social services and welfare. “That’s everything from homelessness, hunger, HIV/AIDS,” he said.  

In today’s world, it’s easy to get frustrated when turning on the TV and reading social media, Goldstein said. The best way to tackle the issues Central Ohio faces, he said, is to get involved. “The younger someone gets involved, the earlier you’re starting that process of them connecting with our community,” he said. “If you look at the level of need in our community, it far outpaces resources.”

For more information, go to givebesa.org.