Volunteer Spotlight

Each month, we like to shine a light on an outstanding Boston Cares volunteer.  If you have someone in mind, please nominate them by the end of the month!

Send nominations to our Volunteer Coordinator, Kelly Dwyer, at kdwyer@bostoncares.org.

May 2013 Volunteer Spotlight: Yijing Zhao

yijing

 

How do you volunteer with Boston Cares?

I have tried many different opportunities so far such as Learning Ally, Food Bank, Ushers, and see what fit me more. That’s why I like Boston Cares; it offers a variety of events and flexibility. Spending time with hungers, seniors is a good way to learn from others as well as give back to the community we live in.

 

What do you do when you are not volunteering with Boston Cares?

I’m currently studying at high school. Volunteering with Boston Cares gives me more confidence to talk with people since this is my first year in Boston.

 

What is your favorite opportunity with Boston Cares?

My favorite opportunity with Boston Cares is serving dinner at the New England Center for homeless veterans, which is quick and easy. Serving over 100 clients only in an hour represents the importance of teamwork. I also like other a lot like Hale House, Red Cross Food Pantry. Staff and clients are so nice that I definitely want to go back again and again. Thank you so much Boston Cares for offering all these great opportunities!

 

Pictured above: Yijing volunteering at the Duckling Day Parade with Friends of the Public Garden.

“[Yijing] is an international high school student from Shanghai who is studying in Boston at the Newman School. We met at Hale House last December (or late November) and she is a great addition to Card Night. She is friendly and sweet and fits in well with the residents of Hale House. We have volunteered at one other project: Harvest Food Pantry.  She recently signed up to be a Volunteer Leader and  Corporate Volunteer Leader which speaks volumes of someone so young who is living in a new culture, speaking a new language and wants to be helping her community and now stepping up to be a leader too. We need more Yijings!” -Boston Cares Volunteer Leader

Each month, we like to draw attention to one volunteer serving with Boston Cares.  There are a variety of Boston Cares volunteers that represent the diversity of our wonderful city.  Without our volunteers, this organization could not exist.  Thank you so much for all of your hard work, time, and commitment that you put into our non profit and our partner non profits across Greater Boston.

Thank you, Yijing, for your commitment to Boston Cares!

 

March 2013 Volunteer Spotlight: Joan Defeis

Joan Defeis

How do you volunteer with Boston Cares?

I generally choose opportunities fitting my areas of interest; veterans, immigrants, and disaster relief. I strive for opportunities where I can use my skills to benefit others but also learn from them. Occasionally, I challenge myself with out of the ordinary projects where I can discover something new about others and myself. That’s one of the greatest benefits of Boston Cares—the range of opportunities. If life gives us good fortune, I believe we have an obligation to serve.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with Boston Cares?

I am currently an unemployed ESL teacher. I’ve tried to turn this time around and make a positive experience of my unemployment by becoming involved with more volunteer projects. Last year, I took a group of 14 immigrant high school students on a service-learning trip to live and work on a Native American reservation for one week. It’s very important for me to raise awareness about volunteerism with my students, and inspire them to give back.  As a teacher with summers off, I love international travel, where I can spend more than a few days in one place. By staying in one country for four to six weeks, I’m able to completely experience its culture. Stateside, I enjoy time with friends and family, home improvement projects, working out, and am trying to improve my Spanish.

What is your favorite opportunity with Boston Cares?

I can’t choose a favorite opportunity, as each offers its own unique experiences. However, The New England Center for Homeless Veterans holds a special place in my heart, as I have volunteered there for 13 years. Long before I was a member of Boston Cares, my son and I served Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at the NECHV. I was thrilled to learn I could serve there every week through Boston Cares!

Each month, we like to draw attention to one volunteer serving with Boston Cares.  There are a variety of Boston Cares volunteers that represent the diversity of our wonderful city.  Without our volunteers, this organization could not exist.  Thank you so much for all of your hard work, time, and commitment that you put into our non profit and our partner non profits across Greater Boston.

Thank you, Joan, for your commitment to our Veterans!

Inspired to volunteer? Check out our Boston Cares Calendar for New England Center for Homeless Veterans opportunities!

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February 2013 Volunteer: Thomas Blaser

It is such an honor for me to receive this distinction. At the same time I want to share this distinction with all the volunteers, team leaders and staff of Boston Cares who make these volunteering activities possible. And I am so proud and grateful to be part of the Boston Cares community.

How do you volunteer with Boston Cares?

Boston Cares cares for people. This is the reason why I am volunteering. I can give my time to people who most need it. Veterans, people who suffer and go through hardship, and people who struggle each day to find health, shelter, warmth, food, a hot meal. I consider isolation as one of the most pertinent challenges for our societies. Sharing and spending time together is such a fundamental and important part in bringing people together.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with Boston Cares?

I work as an adviser in sustainable development. This activity involves a lot of learning and understanding the main sustainability challenges here in the United States and in the other parts of the world. My priorities are connecting people and helping them to create and find jobs that allow us to reduce carbon emissions and increase our food security.

What is your favorite Boston Cares opportunity?

I can’t say that I have one favorite opportunity. Based on my education and background in the field of agricultural and environmental engineering, I am very interested in the topics of climate change, water and food security. Food access and distribution are among my key interests and activities: giving my time and help in a food bank, a food pantry, volunteering for community supported agriculture, urban farming and help building community gardens. I am looking forward to experiencing and learning from all of the different possibilities offered by Boston Cares.

Each month, we like to draw attention to one volunteer serving with Boston Cares.  There are a variety of Boston Cares volunteers that represent the diversity of our wonderful city.  Without our volunteers, this organization could not exist.  Thank you so much for all of your hard work, time, and commitment that you put into our non profit and our partner non profits across Greater Boston.

Thank you, Thomas, for your thoughtfulness and dedication to each opportunity!

Inspired to volunteer? Check out our Boston Cares Calendar for environmental opportunities!

December Volunteer Spotlight: Paula Jones

December 2012 Volunteer of the Month     “She is always upbeat, smiling and willing to lend a hand. She often signs up last minute for extra shifts when she sees we are short-handed on the number of people we have signed up for an opportunity.  She is truly an asset to the Boston Living Center,” says BLC Volunteer Coordinator Tammy Blocker about Paula Jones. And, she is truly an asset to Boston Cares, as well!

Here’s a bit about this month’s volunteer spotlight, Paula Jones:

How do you volunteer with Boston Cares?

Since moving to Boston about a year ago, I have used the subject/agency-driven search engines at the Boston Cares website to identify volunteer opportunities that are the right fit for me, matching my skills, talents, and interests with needs in the community.  Moreover, the website’s opportunity calendar gives me the flexibility to select volunteer activities that fit into my busy personal schedule.  I try to spend 1-2 days per week volunteering at the Boston Living Center and will soon begin a volunteer assignment with the Profiles in Courage program at the JFK Presidential Library.  Volunteering at Boston Cares has allowed me to get to know my new city, given me opportunities to make new friends and network with professionals, and empowered me to make meaningful contributions through service to the community.

What is your favorite opportunity with Boston Cares?

My favorite opportunity with Boston Cares is serving lunch at the Boston Living Center, which provides support services to members of the community with HIV/AIDS.  Volunteers are engaged in a variety of interesting and fast-paced tasks, many of which afford opportunities to learn about cooking, food service, and nutrition. The Boston Living Center serves a critical role in our community and is held in the highest regard in the non-profit and government sectors.  I have made many wonderful friends there and am very proud to play a meaningful role in the life of the Boston Living Center.

When she’s not volunteering, Paula enjoys trail-running in the beautiful parks & reservations in New England.

Thank you, Paula, for all your hard work serving the Greater Boston Community!

Inspired to volunteer? Check out our Boston Living Center opportunities!

November 2012 Volunteer: John Damrosch

How do you volunteer with Boston Cares?

I perform volunteer work for Boston Cares by conducting clerical work in the office one day a week. The duties that I perform are assembling information packets for use by people volunteering for Boston Cares-affiliated volunteer projects, distributing mail, and shredding obsolete documents.

What do you do when you are not volunteering with Boston Cares?

When I’m not volunteering with Boston Cares, a lot of the things I do are job hunting and working in an internship three days a week at the Makechnie Study Center, which is a small study library that’s within Sargent College, one of the colleges of Boston University. I also perform a certain amount of volunteer work one day a week for the Harvard Square Meals Program in the Harvard Square neighborhood of Cambridge – on that day, I participate in preparing and serving dinner at a church to many homeless people in need.

Thank you, John, for all your hard work serving the Greater Boston Community, and at our office!

Inspired to volunteer? Check out our Calendar for periodic Boston Cares office support volunteer opportunities.

Spring 2012 Volunteer: Lindsey Penniston

What is your favorite Boston Cares opportunity?

My favorite opportunity with Boston Cares is handling documents, which I do as part of assembling information packets for volunteers, and when shredding obsolete documents.

How do you volunteer with Boston Cares?

Tutoring at X-Cel is one of those projects where you have a very direct impact – in just one night, you can help a student learn so much. (Lindsey has already served over 200 hours since she started with Boston Cares in 2011!)

What do you do when you are not volunteering with Boston Cares?

I am currently studying Mathematics at Northeastern University.

What is your favorite Boston Cares opportunity?

My most meaningful experiences have been when I’ve been able to help students grasp concepts they find particularly difficult, or when I’ve been able to help motivate students who have become discouraged.  Through GED and college preparation classes, X-Cel helps open up the doors to further education and job placement, and as a regular volunteer, I feel like I genuinely play an important role in that process.

Fall 2011 Volunteer: Matt Signeri

How do you volunteer with Boston Cares?

Matt Signeri spent 9/11/11 volunteering with Boston Cares.  Read his inspiring Points of Light blog post about his experience.