Nearly 100 volunteers and their families joined us Sunday, April 9, to celebrate their giving spirits and invaluable impact to NVFS. Volunteers shared stories together, played Mad Libs games, and wrote funny poems while enjoying a delicious meal of grilled cheese sandwiches and salad, courtesy of Cabot Farmers’ Gratitude Grille.
President and CEO Stephanie Berkowitz thanked volunteers for their tremendous, unwavering support and helped present the annual NVFS Volunteer Awards to this year’s winners. Congratulations to Presidential Award winner, Virginia T. Hole; Impact Award winner, Kim Nelson, and Community Champions, Betsy Younkins and Dianne Rankin (the Trainings Futures’ Dynamic Duo).
Thank you to everyone who came out in person and in spirit to celebrate with us! Thanks also to the Cabot Farmers Cooperative for its generous support. Check out photos from the event here!
Think “Outside the Box” for Your Volunteer Role
Do you have a specialized skill or hobby that you love to do? Have you considered using those skills or hobbies in your volunteer activities?
Jeanne VanderPloeg is a great example of someone using her talents in a volunteer capacity. Having recently relocated here, Jeanne had been busy making connections and re-establishing her business, Jeanne VanderPloeg Photography. In the process, she learned about Training Futures and offered to take professional headshots pro-bono for our 32 hard-working job trainees.
Knowing that this was a first-time experience for many, Jeanne started by explaining how the photo session would unfold to each trainee. At the end of the session, she asked each one to review the shots and pick their favorites. Back in her studio, Jeanne devoted one hour each to polish up trainees’ photos.
She honed her portraiture skills and learned a lot about cultural sensitivity in the process. The trainees truly inspired her with their hard work and determination to succeed in this country. Jeanne’s advice to others who want to use specialized skills or hobbies in their volunteer role: “Don’t be afraid to give it a try, be flexible, and have faith that it will work. You will only know you like it if you try it; and don’t feel bad if it’s not a good fit.”
Another shining example is a trio of STEM-based professionals who donated their time, materials and skills as Science Fair Mentors for our Head Start program.
Jordan Hessels, from CapTech, and his class experimented with color-changing carnations; Kelsey Klarman, from Turner Construction, constructed Minion Scribble-bots with her class, and Giustino “Justin” Iuliano, also from Turner Construction, built balloon-powered Legos with his class. The kids learned and loved it! Watch a brief clip here.
You Spoke, and We’re Listening
Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts in our recent volunteer satisfaction survey! Many of you spoke honestly about your experiences — the positives and negatives — and shared great ideas for what we can do to improve.
On the whole, most of you are satisfied with your experience. Not surprising, you are an altruistic bunch, motivated to volunteer because you have true passion for the cause and want to make a difference in your community.
But we also heard that there is much we can still do to improve. We identified your key concerns and now want to share what we’re doing to resolve them:
Concern:Strengthen the volunteer training and orientation.
Resolution: Our team is considering better ways than our online orientation video to introduce you to the agency. We are also developing “train the trainer” resources and support to standardize training and ensure all key training elements are recovered, regardless of volunteer role.
Concern: Diversify duties within volunteer roles by adding more meaningful and impactful tasks.
Resolution: We will meet with program staff to identify challenges and unmet needs, then brainstorm ways to utilize volunteers to overcome them.
Concern: Improve two-way communication so volunteers feel more connected and have more opportunities to share feedback.
Resolution: You are the best ones to help us resolve this challenge, so we plan to do a few focus groups and also talk to some of you individually. We also want to make it easier for you to provide feedback, so we have created an online form for you to provide feedback. We also plan to post old-fashion suggestion boxes at program sites within the next month.
Thank you again to everyone for participating and providing useful feedback, thus giving us the opportunity to improve your satisfaction!
A Million Thanks to the Many Corporate & Civic Partners for Their Service Projects This Spring!
Hyatt Tysons Corner & Crystal City – Teams from the Hyatt Tysons Corner and Crystal City decorated butterflies with our Head Start children to celebrate “Artsy Thursday” during the Week of the Young Child. Thanks, Hyatt!
Davita Dialysis – During Week of the Young Child, Davita volunteers celebrated “Tasty Tuesday” at our SERVE campus by leading fun activities to promote nutritious eating and ending with a healthy snack for the children.
Civic & Faith:
Iota Epsilon Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority – The sorority members hosted a baby shower for new moms in our Healthy Families program. The event included games, prizes and, of course, bags filled with items for the mommies-to-be. Thank you again for coordinating this awesome event.
Temple Rodef Shalom – Volunteers of all ages came out in force to celebrate Good Deeds Day. They cleaned all 12 classrooms at our Head Start Center and assembled 1,000 snack packs, 250 children’s toiletry kits, 250 birthday bundles, and self-care bags for mothers, fathers and babies.
McLean Bible – The rain on Earth Day didn’t keep McLean Bible Church-Arlington Campus volunteers from braving the elements to spruce up the grounds around the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter. They also sent a group to sort donations at our Falls Church Thrift Store.
Church on the Move – Youth volunteers transformed the supply room at the Hilda Barg Shelter from an overflowing state of disarray to a clean, organized and fully-functioning space.
All Nations Church – Volunteers served a tasty weekend lunch at the Hilda Barg Shelter with so much food that it covered lunch the next day too. They also hung plans to add a welcoming touch at the shelter entry.
Weekend Donation Driver: Help us eliminate food waste! Click here for details.
Life Skills Instructors: Utilize your expertise! Click here for details.
Drive Homeless Clients to Appointments: You can help remove one of the biggest barriers to securing and maintaining employment. Click here for details.
Shelter Support Services: Are you a people-person” who thrives in fast-paced environments? Click here for details.
Head Start Classroom Volunteer: If you love being around young children, this is the role for you! Click herefor details.
Thank you for investing in families and strengthening communities.
Northern Virginia Family Service 10455 White Granite Dr., Suite 100, Oakton VA 22124 571.748.2500
501(c)(3) ID: 54-0791977 United Way: #8099 | CFC: #79645
“I’ve sincerely enjoyed the time you’ve spent during the past couple of weeks. I know it’s not always easy or convenient to personally come to my home and work with me on various strategies to assist me in my time of need. Yet you gave so generously your time, knowledge, patience and expertise to assist and speak on my behalf at such a critical time in my life. Your dedication to devote so much time, and keep me informed of a plan of action, has truly helped ease a lot of my concerns as to how I was going to continue paying such high rent. For nearly two years, it had taken a toll on me – being so stressed and many sleepless nights. I am truly grateful for your support to overcome obstacles that I alone could not have done, to rebuild my dreams to find affordable housing and have stability in my life once again.”