Volunteer Spotlight

Each month, a volunteer at SFBFS is featured for their dedication of time and talent. This month’s volunteer spotlight is:

Edie Blackshire - August 2014

Miss Edie Blackshire, age 65, has been volunteering in Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services’ (SFBFS) Playcare Academy, part of the Youth Education program, for the last few summers. Originally from the Bay area, Miss Edie worked for Packard Bell (now AT&T) for 30 years before she retired to pursue her longtime dream of working in the hotel industry. After doing that for 9 years, she decided to relocate to Sacramento to be closer to her son. Almost more unbearable than the heat in Sacramento was the way Miss Edie’s first summer as a retiree dragged on and on. Being used to having a schedule and contributing to something, she was motivated to join Sacramento County’s Foster Grandparent program that would place her in classrooms and childcare facilities where she would be working with kindergarten-aged children.

IMG 20140722 115309262Miss Edie has been a Foster Grandparent for four years, volunteering in kindergarten classrooms during the school year. After school was out last year, one of the summer programs she had to choose from was SFBFS’ Youth Education program. She enjoyed her experience volunteering in Playcare Academy so much that she wanted to return to the program again this summer.

Now a month into her second summer at SFBFS, Miss Edie is having a lot of fun. “I love the staff at SFBFS and how organized the Youth Education program is,” she says. “She knows exactly what she wants me to do every day.” As a Playcare volunteer, Miss Edie assists program staff with daily tasks and activities. Meanwhile, she is developing some meaningful relationships with some of the toddlers in the program. “She has a very calm demeanor that feels safe and welcoming to our more timid children,” says Miss Lindsey Larrimore, Youth Education Program Assistant.

One little girl comes to mind for Miss Edie, a 2-year-old who is non-verbal. Quietly, they will sit and do puzzles together or Miss Edie will read aloud to her. “A few weeks ago, she started blowing me kisses when she leaves,” she recalls, grinning. “That just touched my heart. I would definitely say little things like that are what keep me coming back.”

All of us at SFBFS are more than happy to have her. “Miss Edie stands out as a volunteer because she is very sweet, very affectionate with the children and also very hard-working and enthusiastic,” beams Miss Lindsey. “She even helped us frost over 100 cupcakes for the children’s community service project. Everyone worked together to prepare more than 500 cupcakes to donate to Loaves and Fishes, a local nonprofit that serves hot meals to the homeless.”

What would we do without volunteers like Miss Edie? “Volunteers are so important to our program,” says Miss Lindsey. “They help add to the quality of the Youth Education program. We expect the volunteers to come up with a lot of their own activities, giving them the freedom to develop new skills or utilize the ones they already have. By trying new ideas all the time, we are able to create a more diverse educational setting for the children in the program. We rely on our volunteers to provide childcare and create a safe environment for the children that come through our program.”

Are you interested in becoming a volunteer in the Youth Education program? Click here for more information on getting involved!

Click on a link below to read archived Volunteer Spotlights:

August 2014 - Edie Blackshire
June 2014 - Christine Trillo
April 2014 - Linda Von Schoech
March 2014 - Rosalie Furgason
February 2014 - Kimberly Swenson
January 2014 - Nana Djunga
December 2013 - Melanie Freer
November 2013 - Mike & Judy Evitts
October 2013 - Tricia Henderson
 
September 2013 - Rachel Teater

August 2013 - Micheal Carter-Morse

July 2013 - Angelica Munoz

June 2013 - Bill Byrne 

May 2013 - Theresa Defazio-Darosa

April 2013 - Brenda Adams
 
March 2013 - Maggie Ortega
February 2013 - Elitas Schmidling      
January 2013 - Matt Shields

 

 

November 2012 - Kara Schunk
October 2012 - Brian Trieu

September 2012 - Candace Chwierut

August 2012 - Hallie Vae Wallace
 
July 2012 - Rosemary Guzman

June 2012 - In Memory of Margot Abrott

May 2012 - Jane Eiferle  
April 2012 - Kevin Price

March 2012 - Kris Morris & Ryan Alvey

February 2012 - Green 1 
January 2012 - Ellie and Maggie Keenan
December 2011 - Brian Geary

November 2011 - Pat Palley

October 2011 - Yolanda Moore

September 2011 - T. Jackson

August 2011 - Julia Siegel

July 2011 - Leslie Marria & George Langley

June 2011 - Pornpun Briggs 
May 2011 - Charlotte Hansen
April 2011 - Becky Starr

March 2011 - Russ Landers
February 2011 - Evan Berry 
January 2011 - Christina Ubaldo

 

December 2010 - Volunteer Spirit Awards 
November 2010 - Cynthia Bows 
October 2010 - The Jensen Family 
September 2010 - Markus Mar-Liu 
August 2010 - Peter Fusselman 
July 2010 - Steff Echeverria 
June 2010 - Michael Adams 
May 2010 - Ericka Jansen 
April 2010 - Rudy Garcia 
March 2010 - Erv Bradley 
February 2010 - Chris Suter 
January 2010 - Nellie Mackie & Hank Greenfield
November 2009 - Carrie Detwiler
October 2009 - Jim and Wally Hofssis 
September 2009 – Pat McManus 
August 2009 – Dale Hinnen 
July 2009 – Elaine Liu 
June 2009 – Aiyanna Pearson 
May 2009 - Lee Salerno 
April 2009 - Elliot Wenzel 
March 2009 - Ignatius Gruenwald
February 2009 - Helen Parra

 

May 2012 - Michelle Garcia
April 2014 - Linda Von Schoech
March 2014 - Rosalie Furgason
February 2014 - Kimberly Swenson
January 2014 - Nana Djunga
December 2013 - Melanie Freer
November 2013 - Mike & Judy Evitts
October 2013 - Tricia Henderson

September 2013 - Rachel Teater

August 2013 - Micheal Carter-Morse

July 2013 - Angelica Munoz

June 2013 - Bill Byrne

May 2013 - Theresa Defazio-Darosa

April 2013 - Brenda Adams

March 2013 - Maggie Ortega
February 2013 - Elitas Schmidling     
January 2013 - Matt Shields

 

 

November 2012 - Kara Schunk
October 2012 - Brian Trieu

September 2012 - Candace Chwierut

August 2012 - Hallie Vae Wallace

July 2012 - Rosemary Guzman

June 2012 - In Memory of Margot Abrott

May 2012 - Jane Eiferle 
April 2012 - Kevin Price

March 2012 - Kris Morris & Ryan Alvey

February 2012 - Green 1
January 2012 - Ellie and Maggie Keenan
December 2011 - Brian Geary

November 2011 - Pat Palley

October 2011 - Yolanda Moore

September 2011 - T. Jackson

August 2011 - Julia Siegel

July 2011 - Leslie Marria & George Langley

June 2011 - Pornpun Briggs
May 2011 - Charlotte Hansen
April 2011 - Becky Starr

March 2011 - Russ Landers
February 2011 - Evan Berry
January 2011 - Christina Ubaldo

 

December 2010 - Volunteer Spirit Awards
November 2010 - Cynthia Bows
October 2010 - The Jensen Family
September 2010 - Markus Mar-Liu
August 2010 - Peter Fusselman
July 2010 - Steff Echeverria
June 2010 - Michael Adams
May 2010 - Ericka Jansen
April 2010 - Rudy Garcia
March 2010 - Erv Bradley
February 2010 - Chris Suter
January 2010 - Nellie Mackie & Hank Greenfield
November 2009 - Carrie Detwiler
October 2009 - Jim and Wally Hofssis
September 2009 – Pat McManus
August 2009 – Dale Hinnen
July 2009 – Elaine Liu
June 2009 – Aiyanna Pearson
May 2009 - Lee Salerno
April 2009 - Elliot Wenzel
March 2009 - Ignatius Gruenwald
February 2009 - Helen Parra

Volunteer Spotlight – October 2011
Yolanda Moore

yolanda.jpgYolanda Moore originally came to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) about five years ago when she was taking art classes at a local community college. She heard, by word of mouth, about a free art program for women in Sacramento, offered at a local non-profit organization. She became intrigued with the idea decided to check it out. What she found was the Women’s Wisdom Art program at SFBFS, a free art group for women from diverse backgrounds, who come together to support one another, learn new skills, and gain self-confidence and creativity. Yolanda felt very at home and started to gain confidence in her artistic abilities.

yolanda_1.jpgAfter attending classes, she decided to pursue her degree in Art at Sacramento State University. Her classes began to take up the majority of her time. Eventually she approached Helen Plenert, Women’s Wisdom Art Program Manager, to inform her that she no longer had time to participate in the program and needed to commit full time to her Sac State classes. Although Helen and the other students were sad to see Yolanda leave, it made them happy that she was pursuing a lifelong goal. By setting such a goal and steadfastly working toward it, Yolanda was unknowingly inspiring others in the program. “Even as a student, she was always a huge help in the classroom,” says Helen. “I asked her to consider coming back as a volunteer someday. It was just over a year ago when she walked back in to begin volunteer work for us. “

In 2010, Yolanda returned to SFBFS after receiving her degree as a volunteer for the Women’s Wisdom Art program.  As a volunteer, Yolanda offers support to the students in the program. “Every day is different,” says Yolanda. She typically arrives before any classes start, working with the instructors and pulling out all the necessary materials. The women often ask for help finding a certain item or ask for Yolanda’s opinion on a project. “Every woman has her own style when it comes to art,” she comments. “I try to give my opinion to them while at the same time making sure it doesn’t interfere with their own ideas.” Yolanda’s favorite part of volunteering is seeing students progress. Oftentimes students arrive unsure and afraid that they can’t create something worthwhile. The nature of the program allows them to freely express themselves and develop creatively. Once a student sees their work displayed on a gallery wall, they feel accomplished and self-confident. “The quality of the artwork created by these women is truly impressive,” says Yolanda.

Helen and the other instructors in the program value each and every day that Yolanda volunteers in the classroom. According to Helen, Yolanda is one of those rare jewels who see what needs to be done and just jumps headfirst in to do it. A new student may need some comforting and Yolanda just sits down next to her as if that was the last seat in the room and strikes up a conversation. Another minute she is up to her elbows in dirty dishes and paint brushes. “It's really a rare moment when I have to ask her to help with something specific because she usually thinks of it before I do. In fact, she may have already done it before I finish asking!” says Helen.

In addition to volunteering, Yolanda can be found painting or drawing on her own time, spending time with her friends, or visiting her family, including her grown children and five grandchildren.

If you are interested in volunteering your time to help someone in need in our community, click here for more information.