Here is a selection of projects that RightStar employees were involved with on RightStar volunteer day, May 13 or 14. Thanks for making a difference in your own community!
By Nikki Haase
As part of RightStar’s Volunteer Days effort last week, I chose to work with the Good Shepherd Alliance. I had heard of their work through our church, and I had seen their new “Hope’s Treasures” thrift shop in Leesburg.
The Alliance’s mission is to provide, “help and hope for the homeless and those in need through emergency and transitional housing and outreach services leading to self-sufficiency and self-worth.” The thrift shop accomplishes this by earning money through retail sales and also by offering shopping vouchers to the community they serve. Those in need may visit the store and select clothing and other items to help with their job search or to furnish a new living space.
My mother was involved in a similar outreach program in Florida, so I invited her to join me. Assigned duties for us on Saturday involved sorting through and hanging clothing. We hope to make this an ongoing effort. Volunteers do not need to schedule their time in advance, which provides flexibility and increased opportunities for us to serve.
By Dick Stark
My wife Liz and I volunteered at the House, Inc, a leadership center located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Specifically, we helped prepare for their annual Cinderella Ball, for students with life-threatening illnesses or disabilities. This event is held in early June at the Willard Hotel, in downtown DC and offers an opportunity for the students to experience an event that they normally would not get to attend.
We assisted by preparing their tuxedos and gowns for the students by sorting and sizing and ensuring that everything was in good shape. We also helped with odds and ends such as unloading and packing of donated perishable food from a local grocery store and made sure that the House’s athletic equipment was in order.
The House’s mission is to give direction to students that will protect their future and influence. It offers before and after-school, summer day leadership programs and weekend activities. The House prepares greater Washington DC area students in grades 4-12 on two campuses for lifetime learning. It counts the Tiger Woods Foundation and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation among its benefactors.
I was struck by the contagious enthusiasm of Todd McCormick, the House’s executive director. He truly believed in his students and told many stories about the difference the House is making in the lives of these kids.
Volunteers and students help prepare for the Cinderella Ball.
By Joseph Hasan
My volunteer project was a book drive for Laureate Academy in Dallas, Texas. My sons, Omar and Adam, and I knocked on doors in our neighborhood and collected used books. We ended up with over 100 books which we sorted into different categories and delivered to the school.
This project provided entry level reading materials to students at the Laureate Academy, grades K-4. These young Scholars (as they are called at Laureate) are reading English for the first time and appreciated the books that the volunteers were able to deliver and sort. With 14 volunteers participating, the project was a huge success.
By Linda Kiechlin
Liz Yost and I volunteered at the Capital Area food Bank in Northeast DC. We helped sort food for distribution to local shelters. We took palettes of food that was donated by Target, Giant, and Walmart, just to name a few, and sorted into big steel bins. The bins were broken down into categories, cereal, soups, snacks, pasta, canned soup, juice, water, etc. After we sorted the food, the other volunteers boxed the food for shipment. There is an on-site grocery store where charitable organizations can come to buy food for 19 cents per pound.
We met people that worked there for 11 years and were very happy to devote their time to this cause. When we left, Liz and I felt inspired!
The Food Bank was founded in 1980. They are the largest, nonprofit hunger and nutrition education resource in the Washington Metropolitan area. Since that time, the Food Bank has made tremendous strides to expand its services and annually distribute nearly 30 million pounds of food to more than 478,000 people through its invaluable network of partner agencies. They are committed to uplifting those in need, providing the best services possible, and helping those who are without the means to help themselves.
By John De La Parra
Last Friday I volunteered at the main office of Project My Voice. Their mission is to address the root causes of juvenile delinquency by reconnecting young adults with themselves and their communities through non-denominational pastoral counseling, creative art therapy, and community service. I met with their director to map out a new writing therapy class I will be offering to at-risk youth. After an exciting and productive meeting, I met with other volunteers to help edit and compile a compendium of stories by the children that have been mentored by Project My Voice. I spent the remainder of the afternoon picking up art supplies for another volunteer’s art therapy class. I’ve been assisting them for some time and will continue to volunteer with the new class I’ll be teaching. Our hope is that rather than just doling out probation or some other form of punishment, we will be able to help children find their voice by getting involved in creative projects and being productive members of their communities.
By Matt Orend
I have been volunteering a few times a month for the new hope center. They are a non-profit organization that helps victims of abuse. Their goal is to educate victims and perpetrators on these basic facts: all human beings are equal, control is not acceptable, and there are always choices. They help hundreds of people and animals a month with safe shelter, counseling, education, options, legal process, clothing, and much more. They currently have 20 employees and dozens of volunteers that keep the hope alive. Over the past three weeks I have helped them re-work their incident tracking database to be more user friendly with more accurate reporting. I have replaced poor quality and poorly installed shelves with quality, load appropriate, shelves. I also have spent some time with them working on ways to increase the number of people who use their services. They estimate that less than 20% of local people in need contact them for help. I enjoy helping and being part of the new hope center and the excellent service they provide and I’m looking forward to the next project.