Volunteer Services Stories

Volunteer Services Stories

We’re honored to be able to partner with nonprofits across CA to more effectively address volunteering and community needs.

What CVNL has done for us is connect the need of the community with the employee …I’m constantly referring Autodesk employees to CVNL.

Julie Wilder, Manager Employee Impact Programs, Autodesk

I just want you to know what a true blessing you and Jim have been to our organization. I feel that I am a better Volunteer Coordinator due to the training I received from you. Now I have almost tripled the number of volunteers and have a very strong base.I thank you for sharing your expertise with us. When you are an old man, Molly’s Angels will hopefully be there for you too:) Blessings to you.

Nicole Pfister, Volunteer Coordinator, Molly’s Angels in Napa

Corporate Projects

Center for Domestic Peace was honored when CVNL reached out to us on behalf of the Genworth employees, with the offer to make blankets for our residents in our transitional housing program, Second Step. I was able to attend the first gathering, and meet the enthusiastic and passionate employees, offering them an overview of who we are and who we serve. Once of the biggest gift to the families healing from domestic violence in our program, is the knowledge that there is a generous community of supporters, both business and individuals, who selflessly take time out of their busy days to do things for them, such as make these soft and yummy blankets. When they were delivered and handed out to each of the moms, they were deeply touched and grateful, with one commenting, “Wow, this is the softest blanket I have ever felt. Please tell the volunteers my heart is touched and we will sleep so much better now!” Thank you for including us, once again! Keep up the good work!

Marla Hedlund

Service Enterprise

We developed and implemented an online sign-up system for volunteer registration. We recruited and coordinated the efforts of hundreds of off-site volunteers to assist with 1) Summer Lunch Distributions and 2) the distribution of fliers to promote a holiday event. We recruited and trained eight “LEAD VOLUNTEERS” to assist with weekday supervision of warehouse volunteers.

Alameda County Community Food Bank –Charles Beyer

BTGCP has developed strong working partnerships with over 10 schools in the Bay Area who provide both students and teachers to volunteer in all of our programs. Student tutors have been actively recruiting, with my support, new volunteers from their High School sports teams and have built a informal program of replacing themselves in the schedule with friends from other sports when theirs in season and they need to take the semester off from tutoring. BTGCP provided a half day Volunteer Program training for our tutors and mentors with over 60 volunteers in attendance for both the large group session and program specific break out session.

Bridge The Gap College Prep –Jenifer Nichols

In the last fiscal year, our programs engaged over 3,200 volunteers that donated over 71,000 hours of service equivalent to $1,775,342 of labor time beyond what is currently available in our agency budget. Our volunteer program successfully recruited and engaged over 120 new volunteers through one-time seasonal volunteer opportunities assisting programs with holiday events such as Thanksgiving luncheons and Christmas parties. Our program launched a new online application process to avoid the fax and print heavy process that had been used for many years.

Catholic Charities CYO –Clinton Womack

During this last year, The Cedars of Marin Volunteer Program underwent some changes and enhancements. We are very proud of this progress. One of the greatest enhancements was through the creation of a 16-page, professional-level Volunteer Handbook. Through this development process, we were able to assess and further define the parameters of our program, which, in turn, will help us create and implement staff training and engagement. Our handbook includes brand new policy and supplemental forms/tools (such as a volunteer agreement) that have proven to be very useful for us. A particularly effective section of the handbook, that we call “Tips for Working With Cedars Clients,” gives specific examples and scenarios that volunteers at Cedars might encounter and then provides ways in which to address these situations. This information is so very helpful for those volunteers who are new to “working” with adults with Developmental Disabilities. In the past year, we have received in excess of 2400 hours of volunteer service from our volunteer base in both our Residential sites/Activities Program and throughout our three Day Programs (excluding the significant time commitment made by our 15 person volunteer Board of Trustees). In this past year, we have integrated several new volunteers who have been especially valuable and generous to Cedars in various ways. We are very proud to have welcomed and worked with a wonderful man whose children volunteered with Cedars in the past. He is a construction “guru” who has built many structures and led many projects at our “Textile Art Center” day program. One of his contributions was his arrangement of a significant discount/donation for re-paving of the main driveway at the TAC! We recognized him as Cedars Volunteer of the Year at our last fundraiser, in hopes of conveying to him how much his generosity means to us. Additionally, we have enjoyed the presence and teachings of a wonderful new volunteer who comes monthly from many miles away to lead two sessions of Yoga with clients at another one of our day programs, The Victory Center for Arts & Communication. She has a unique ability with our clients and they especially look forward to her classes.

Cedars of Marin –Chuck Greene

Volunteers helped to produce one of our best luncheons to date. Volunteers continue to be available 24/7 for our emergency hotline — 34 years uninterrupted. We have a man helping to promote our men’s program, who is very engaged.

Center for Domestic Peace –Marla Hedlund

We have attracted volunteers who really care about children and support our mission. Our volunteers range from teen students to professionals. Because of our successful recruitment of volunteer readers, we have been able to extend the season for “Storytime” at the Farmers market..

Community Resources for Children –Diana Short

We have been successful in engaging youth and children in service projects. Over Christmas, girl scout troops (as young as 7) provided stuffed stockings, helped our resident families decorate the Christmas Tree and sang Christmas Carols. A high school youth group also helped decorate the house for Christmas. Gilead House has had a lot of success in recruiting volunteers for our two events, especially our Mothers Matter Fundraiser. These volunteers participate year after year with an infusion of new volunteers so they know their jobs. We recruit from colleges, churches and the community. Usually we need 40+ volunteers for each event, including servers, registration, set-up, clean-up, tech, parking, etc. Our life skills program is taught by volunteers. We have been successful at attracting high quality, skilled, experienced volunteers.

Gilead House –Jacque McLaughlin

We implemented a new software database system to recruit, track, and coordinate our volunteers that provide Direct Care Services to hospice and bereavement families. We estimated a cost savings of approximately $230,000 for our last fiscal year from volunteer hours devoted to the needs of our hospice patients and families. We opened up the opportunity for volunteers to attend the same educational work in services, as paid clinical staff. It was well received by volunteers. At one education session, there were more volunteers present than paid staff.

Hospice By The Bay –Cheryl Wilkins

A teen suffering from ADHD, engaging in alcohol/substance abuse, suspended from school, with a negative self-image progressed from volunteering at occasional events, was transformed into dedicated intern working 2-3 days a week as a staff position. Now applying to 4 year colleges, he is a positive role model for at-risk youth and has tremendous pride in his transformation. An international service organization contracted with us to provide in-service learning training for their volunteers. Latina student interns developed confidence and competency in community training and presented on television.

[LIFT-Levántate –Richard Waxman

By doubling the advertising budget, MCSV was able to double the number of new volunteers that were screened between August and December 2013, as compared with the same timeframe in 2012. MCSV has launched an Adopt-a-School campaign to connect community businesses, service and faith groups with local schools. Thus far, two organizations have adopted a school, and a greater roll-out is planned for February. The Training component of MCSV ensures that volunteers who are placed in the County’s public schools are well prepared, and have resources to call upon when they have questions. This year, Training Workshops in a wide variety of academic and developmental subjects were offered to our volunteers, and also to parents and educators throughout the county at no cost. Attendance at workshops greatly increased.

Marin County School Volunteers –Judy Katsin

We have added another volunteer opportunity under our Hospice program. The new Bereavement Volunteers have had the first part of their training and are now being oriented by our Bereavement Coordinator in order to begin. We instituted Quarterly Lunch or Diners as a team building experience. We served a total of 124 volunteers during these meals. Many volunteers met and learned about the experiences of other volunteers, that they would not normally see during their volunteering, widening their understanding our our organization and our services. The NHPCO We Honor Veterans program was launched. We held an inservice on the wide-ranging needs of our Veterans in our service area. All volunteers completed questionnaires about their personal and/or family service experiences, gauging their willingness to work with our veterans. Overwhelmingly the answer was yes and we learned that we have 4 veterans in our volunteer corps, all who are willing to support these client’s special needs.

Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services –Mary Ellen Makowski

Volunteers are central to the work of OA. Over the past 20 years we have grown our volunteer network from 15 medical professionals to 1200 across 6 Bay area counties. This growth represents a great success in that volunteering with OA is a way for these doctors and nurses to give back to their local community in a meaningful way that improves the health, quality of life and ability to work for those in greatest need (in our case our target population is low-income, uninsured patients). A second success feature is that based on annual surveys of our volunteers there is a high level of satisfaction associated with volunteering with OA. Most indicate it is a valuable experience and that they want to continue volunteering and in some cases do even more. So engagement and retention represents another great success story for OA. Finally, a specific success is associated with what we call a Super Surgery Day when upwards of 30-35 patients received donated care on a Saturday morning. Typically there are 6-8 operation rooms going and as many as 100 medical volunteers who give up their Saturday mornings to come into the hospital to volunteer and help these patients in need. The energy and sense of team work is clearly evident on a Super Surgery day. While we only plan and execute 2 super surgery days each year, we plan over 40 smaller surgery sessions on week-ends at Kaiser facilities and non-Kaiser facilities integrate our patients into the weekly (non week-end) surgical calendar. This year 1700 patients will received donated care and the amount of charity care provided will exceed $17 million.

Operation Access –Benjamin Aune

We are working with the Marin CDC to get volunteers for our front desk. We have always had help with our events — eager and ready volunteers. We acknowledge our volunteers and invite them to participate in events for free as a thank you

Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center –Miriam Karel

We have started a data base of our volunteers organization wide. This has given us the ability to share willing volunteers across programming areas where as in the past different programs had little idea who was volunteer where. We have managed to get senior volunteers to work with our after school programs. This gives the participants an important inter-generational aspect we have been desiring for sometime and did not have the resources to offer. On Thursday we serve up to 200 clients between senior lunch, food bank, and congregate meal programs. We have a staff of 12 consistent volunteers who are there like clock work. It is important to have this constancy to have a smooth running ship on this overly busy day.

San Geronimo Valley Community Center –Joseph

We host 2-4 large group volunteer events each month that allow us to share our mission with groups that we do not otherwise serve through our programs. We are able to host a very diverse group of volunteers including youth groups, community groups, religious groups, high schools, university groups, and corporate groups. This allows us to make meaningful partnerships and connections within the community. We have large community events that are run entirely by volunteers who donate their time to do crafts, clean-up, play music, facilitate activities, and lead live demonstrations at our annual Spring Fling and Harvest Celebration, where we use over 50 volunteers for the event.

Slide Ranch –Emily Haber

Volunteers have embraced our new “self-serve” resource center for tutoring and preparing for lessons. We transformed what was a traditional low tech office with 3 full-time union employees and 4 other contract staff folks into a resource and tutoring center with a small amount of community funds. By upgrading to a new database management system and going through the past ten years worth of paper files, we re-engaged almost 35 tutors who had drifted away.

The Marin Literacy Program –Robin Carpenter

We have created a volunteer log in center in our kitchen where volunteers can sign in and receive updates about what’s going on at St. Vincent de Paul. We have created new volunteer positions to help complete intake for our community court program. We have recruited regular volunteers to assist in this program, which has relieved some of the burden that was once on staff. We have hosted a meeting with volunteers for our Family Diner program where volunteers gave positive feedback as well as suggestions for improvement for the program.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin County –Natalie Schultheis

Transportation of seniors has been a significant challenge for many years in our remote area of West Marin. We have provided over 50,000 volunteer miles and 3,000 rides to seniors in just 18 months using volunteer drivers. The program continues to expand and is well-received by volunteers and clients alike. We just expanded our Meals From Friends program to serve clients who are nutritionally at risk. Volunteers deliver the meals throughout West Marin three days per week to at-risk seniors. This program requires major coordination using volunteers for the bulk of the work. We developed a collaboration with the Marin Food Bank, and volunteers drive “over-the-hill” two times per week to pick up food that we incorporate into our senior lunch and home delivered meal programs.

West Marin Senior Services –Joan Corbett