MAVA Featured Members

 

 

 Amelia Brown, Twin Cities Rise!

August 2014

 

How did you get involved in the field?

My family lives a life of service and this has been engrained in me since I was child.  I began learning about volunteer work around the same time I learned my ABC’s.   These fundamental building blocks have inspired my connection to volunteer work and community development in various forms throughout my life.

What was your most memorable volunteer experience?

One of my most memorable volunteer experiences was serving as an AmeriCorps *NCCC Alum post-Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana. A two-week experience transformed into a two-year commitment as I progressed from volunteer to volunteer coordinator to volunteer manager. I was able to experience managing 130 volunteers per day in a 24 hour-per-day disaster relief operation in a historically depressed, high crime neighborhood. Working with a team of dedicated staff, volunteers, and community members, we established Hands on New Orleans.  As I transitioned through my stages of volunteerism, I was able to see a start up created out of chaos become a part of the largest network of 250 local volunteer centers across the world.

What most excites you about being a MAVA member?

I am excited to learn and connect with MAVA members.  I recently moved back home to Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Masters of Interdisciplinary Studies in Emergency Management and Art (focusing on the role of the artist as a volunteer in disaster relief).  I am interested to re-connect with my home, learn more about volunteer management systems, test theories through practice, and contribute to a community of volunteer managers who are contributing to their communities.

What is one unique fact about yourself that you’d like to share?

I have had the opportunity to volunteer throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. I am looking forward to more adventures volunteering at home and abroad.

 

 

 

  

 Travis Salisbury, The Basilica of Saint Mary

July 2014

Please describe your volunteer program:

The Basilica of Saint Mary is a congregation of the Roman Catholic Church serving 6,700 households (roughly 14,000 members). Volunteers are able to engage in a variety of opportunities here including outreach, education, justice, youth and young adult ministry, music, worship, administration and facilities management. There are over 2,000 volunteers in active recurring volunteer jobs and several hundred people volunteer each year in one-time opportunities.

 

 

What is your role?

I coordinate volunteers who support the worship service of the Basilica of Saint Mary (roughly 500 volunteers). These volunteers maintain the worship spaces (altar guild), help decorate for the seasons of Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter, help distribute communion at mass (Eucharistic ministers) help welcome and assist members at Mass (ministers of hospitality), read scripture at Mass (lectors), and are part of the ceremony crew (acolytes). In addition to coordinating the volunteers for the worship services, I also coordinate the weddings held here at the Basilica of Saint Mary (about 75 a year) and help connect couples preparing for marriage also find a role to volunteer in the community.

How did you get involved in Volunteer Management?

The role of Coordinator of Liturgical Celebrations of all about developing relationships with members to help them discern the best volunteer opportunity. All aspects of the worship service -the Mass- are built on the premise that it is the work of the whole community. My role is to help the community find their place in that "work" and to facilitate the training and administration to make that possible.

 

What does it mean to you to be a MAVA member?

MAVA has been- and continues to be- an inspiration to me. I have met so many other volunteer coordinators. The support that comes from that is invaluable- especially in the troubleshooting that is necessary whenever working with people; understanding the dynamics and issues of current volunteer trends. MAVA continues to be proactive in developing an atmosphere of healthy volunteerism in the twin cities and beyond.

 

Can you recall a time when being involved in MAVA directly impacted your work in your organization? What were the outcomes of MAVA’s impact?

I went through the volunteer leadership series several years ago- and will again this next week. The last time I participated I made several changes to the ministries/programs that I coordinate and would definitely strengthened our communal efforts at being community rooted in volunteerism.

 

Do you have any advice for new MAVA members/leaders of volunteers?

Don't recreate the wheel- look to MAVA and its members. There is so much good work being done here that can be applied to your programs or adapted to your needs. Meet as many people in the MAVA network as you can and see all of the good that comes from that support.  

 

 

 

 

Anna Preus, Project for Pride in Living

 

June 2014

 

How did you get involved in the field?

I started working with volunteers when I coordinated an in-school tutoring program as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at Project for Pride in Living.  I then went on to work with National Service members at the Minnesota Literacy Council, which really solidified my interest in being involved in increasing access to high quality service opportunities.

 

What was your most memorable volunteer experience?

I was a one-on-one mentor for a 2nd grade student for a year.  I have great memories of working with him on academics, but the memories that stick out most are the field trips – bowling, roller skating, visiting the science museum, etc.  He had so much energy, I could never keep up.

What most excites you about being a MAVA member?

I’m excited to have the opportunity to learn from other professionals who are committed to developing strong volunteer programs and offering interesting, high-quality volunteer opportunities.

 

What is one unique fact about yourself that  you'd like to share?

I’m really into designing my own knitting projects based on patterns from the ‘70s.

 

 

Darren Reed, Southern Minnesota Recovery Connection

May 2014

 Please describe your volunteer program:

Southern Minnesota Recovery Connection. At SMRC our core mission is to mobilize resources within and outside the recovery community to increase long-term recovery from alcohol and drug addictions. There are many pathways to recovery, and like a bridge, we provide safe passage from one place to another.  We are a volunteer based organization; the volunteers help create and run the programs.  SMRC volunteering is open to anyone who supports the SMRC mission statement and Recovery Bill of Rights, has personal or professional experience with alcohol and/or drugs abuse and/or professional experience with substance abuse. 

 What is your role?

Training and recruitment

How did you get involved in Volunteer Management?

I have worked in the social service nonprofit industry for the past 14 years and we have always relied on volunteers.

What does it mean to you to be a MAVA member?

Having resources on volunteer management, interviewing and screening tips.

 

Do you have any advice for new MAVA members/leaders of volunteers?

Stay involved with the site and network with others in volunteer management capacities as there are always great ideas around and you never know when you will learn about tool or resource that can make a huge impact on your program

 

 

 

 

 Sandy Werts, City of Golden Valley

April 2014

 Please describe your volunteer program:

The Golden Valley Volunteer Program works to strengthen community engagement by connecting the talents, interests and abilities of individuals and groups with projects that enrich city programs and services and enhance the quality of life.  The program is new and started actively recruiting volunteers in January  2013.  It is small, but meaningful to the recipients and the volunteers.

 

What is your role?

As volunteer coordinator, I manage the program.  I meet with staff and develop descriptions for volunteer positions, recruit, interview and, for some events, am responsible for training and placement of volunteers.

How did you get involved in Volunteer Management?

As a recreation professional for over 35 years volunteers were intregal to our programs, especially community events.  We did not have a formal volunteer program, so each program supervisor recruited and trained the volunteers we needed for our programs and events.  When this position came available, I thought it would be a good fit for the skills I have.

What does it mean to you to be a MAVA member?

MAVA has provided me with a network of volunteer managers that I can contact to get answers and ideas for the questions and issues I have to solve.  It has provided me with quality and relevant training that has helped me develop Golden Valley's first volunteer program.

Can you recall a time when being involved in MAVA directly impacted your work in your organization? What were the outcomes of MAVA’s impact?

Yes, at the time of the 2012 Annual meeting on Reimagining Service I was working with representatives of city departments to develop the Mission and Vision for the Volunteer Program. I was able to use the material I learned in the seminar to provide examples and background to help us in developing the mission and vision.

Do you have any advice for new MAVA members/leaders of volunteers?

If you are new to volunteer management or need help in developing parts of the volunteer program the Volunteer Leadership Impact Series is invaluable.  It is the first training I took.  Try to take part in all the training that is relavent to you.  The Webinars are a great way to gain knowledge without leaving your desk.  I found that a "free" set of earbuds that I got on an airline flight fit into my computer speakers and I just listen away!  Use your network, never be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure of anything.  When I was getting ready to start building the structure of Golden Valley's volunteer program, I contacted Mary Quirk, who sent me some information that helped me get started

 

 

Joe McKinley, Vision Loss Resources

March 2014

Please describe your volunteer program:

Vision Loss Resources’ Volunteer Program is part of our Community Services Program.  The Volunteer Program is funded, in part, by the Greater Twin Cities United Way.

I recruit volunteers who work one-on-one with individuals who are blind or visually-impaired.  These volunteers assist with reading, shopping and other errands.  This is a valuable social connection which increases our clients’ independence.We also have volunteers who work with events and activities organized by our Community Center---these volunteers teach or assist in teaching cooking and crafts classes, or accompany a group on a recreational outing

What is your role?

I recruit, train and assign volunteers.  I also manage the long-term relationships between many of our clients and their volunteers. 

Many prospective volunteers are apprehensive about working with clients who are visually impaired.  I try to answer questions and show people how to assist with Sighted Guide, which is the process of assisting someone who is visually impaired.

How did you get involved in Volunteer Management?

Several years ago I was working at an agency that sponsored a large festival of ethnic arts, dance and food.  When the Office Manager retired, I was asked to manage recruiting, assigning and managing volunteers who helped with this event.  It was so much fun working with the volunteers that I was hooked!  After that event, I started to look for other ways we could work with volunteers in our programs.Since then, I have worked with large volunteer programs in the Twin Cities. 

What does it mean to you to be a MAVA member?

Rewarding to be part of a community facing similar challenges, great source for networking, suggestions for issues related to volunteers and volunteerism.

Can you recall a time when being a MAVA member directly impacted your work in your organization?

The training I completed as part of the Volunteer Leadership certification has really impacted how I approach recruiting challenges.  It might sound funny, but I have increased credibility that I am part of an organization devoted to volunteers and volunteering.  I think there is a misperception that Volunteer Coordinators don’t need training or have experience.

Do you have any advice for new leaders of volunteers?

New leaders should ask other volunteer coordinators how they do things, what challenges they face, etc.  It is much better than inventing the wheel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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