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2021 Volunteer Story Project

2020 offered challenges and Washingtonians responded.

Neighbors lending a hand, community activists, and volunteers make a difference in our communities every day, and especially in 2020. Serve Washington invited you to share volunteer stories and be a part of inspiring  service across the state. The stories highlighted below were submitted between January 21 and March 1 and are being highlighted on our social media throughout April to coincide with National Volunteer Week. 

 

Selected Story Highlights

 

Volunteer or Volunteer Group

Story

Featured on  Social Media

  2020 brought great uncertainty for residents of Washington State and  volunteers stepped up to provide scientifically accurate information about COVID-19 to the community through the development and administration of the Flatten the Curve Tri-Cities Facebook page.  "I joined the Facebook group, Flatten the Curve, at the start of the pandemic and it quickly became a go to place to understand what was going on. It helped me make decisions on how to run my business safely during this time. My staff is vaccinated thanks to the work of this group."  April 1
As the founder and leader of the Faith Food Bank, Roxana stepped forward when COVID threatened the food security of a growing number of community members and has been volunteering seven days a week to make sure people get fed.  Fundraising, picking up supplies, organizing volunteers, advertising services, cooking and much more, Roxana does it all. "Her vision to end hunger in our community is contagious and an inspiration."  April 2
There really are not adequate words to describe the steady, faithful, and extraordinary leadership that Don and Joan Andersen have gifted to the organizations that they care for deeply. At Rebuilding Together South Sound, that looks like 16 years of organizing a team of church members from the Fairwood Community United Methodist Church in Renton to participate in Rebuilding Day. In spite of challenges arising in 2020 with the pandemic, Don and Joan brought volunteers out in July and October to make good on a promise they made to a homeowner in February before we paused our work. With fewer volunteers, social distancing in effect and PPE, they completed their work at Michael and Amy’s home and gathered up donations from the church to offset our costs for the work. April 3
2020 did not slow down Cindy, Larry and other volunteers with Love INC as they continued to serve a variety of individuals, families, local non-profits, local schools and government agencies with their priority in service given to seniors, the disabled, single parents, veterans, and low-income families. You can find these faith-based volunters remodeling facilities, providing household items for families transitioning to permanent housing, working on cars for low income individuals, mowing lawns for senions, collecting donated medical equipment and distributing it to those in need and building wheelchair ramps the for low-income disabled individuals and seniors.  April 4
Setting the stage for an innovative drive-thru vaccination program in 2021, meant a great deal of interagency cooperation and volunteer service beginning in 2020 for this group. In this joint effort, the Sequim Operational Area has combined the resources of the S’Klallam tribe’s Jamestown Health Clinic, Clallam County’s Fire District #3, Trinity United Methodist Church, and the City of Sequim that is now working to immunize at least 70 percent of its 36,000 residents over the next few months. Recognizing the valuable contributions of CERT volunteers towards this work, Paula Towne from Serve WA shared “I am extremely impressed to hear how impactful the CERT program at Clallam County Fire District #3 has been in the COVID-19 response in your community.  It truly demonstrates all the possibilities of involvement that CERTs can have and the efforts that can be extended when a program is trained, practiced and supported.  Thank you to the members and keep up the great work!”   April 5
The connection that Walter and Evelyn, pastors at New Walk Christian Church, have always centered God and service to others and it goes beyond themselves as they continuously grow their partnerships with other organizations in order to meet the needs of the community. The couple makes sure that no need goes unmet and their services to others includes providing free clothing and household goods, helping families move into new housing, doing car repairs, and they are expanding into employment support in 2021 and becoming an agent of Career Choice Services. As community leaders, Walter and Evelyn are continually building new relationships and partnerships with groups like Praisealuyah Discipleship to continue to meet the community needs. Check out this video about their Feed the Need program or learn more about other New Walk Christian Church programming. April 6
The Washington Veterans Home Essential Volunteers are making it possible for our most frail vulnerable Veterans to visit with their loved ones and their families. This included escorting our skilled nursing facility veterans to the outdoor visiting booths, mandated screening for all visitors, sanitizing stations between families and guests, and supervising visits to assure all CDC and DOH protocols were being followed. They also personally make sure that the Veterans are ready for the family visit.  April 7
Medicare can be a dry, confusing, and complicated subject for many. Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program volunteers at the the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County are trained to help their neighbors understand and navigate their Medicare options. Dedicated volunteers serve Washington by providing free, unbiased, and confidential Medicare counseling.  April 8
Washington Service Corps AmeriCorps member Laura Shapiro serves as Program Coordinator with Seattle Music Partners, bringing free and low-cost music education to students in the Central District. "It is a privilege to serve my community doing what I do best: sharing my love of music.” April 9
Bobby, Kate, John Eleveld and Daisy Darby

Solid Ground’s Community Food Education (CFE) team recognizes youth volunteers Bobby, Kate and John Eleveld and Daisy Darby serving together at Giving Garden at Marra Farm during the COVID-19 pandemic contributing a total of 162+ hours this season!. With a dramatic decrease in groups serving due to the pandemic, families like the Eleveld family were able to safely socialize while getting their hands in the dirt and getting some fresh air. 

April 10
Ensuring that foster children felt seen, valued and cared for, despite the additional isolation brought on by the pandemic, remained the focus for these Clark County CASA volunteers. Their services efforts included car parades, becoming trained in educational advocacy so they could engage with the schools and ensure that the children were supported in their on-line learning. If you want to join volunteers like Bill Cline and Jan Ratzman in supporting foster youth in Clark County, learn more about how you can Change a Child’s Story.™  April 11
Humans aren't the only ones seeing their jobs change as the result of the pandemic. The team of therapy dogs involved in a literacy program sponsored by Communities In Schools of Peninsula were also forced to adapt. The four-legged friends that were accustomed to snuggling up with children who read aloud in schools, have found themselves looking at a computer screen instead. "It is so gratifying to see the powerful bond children have with Brody and how their confidence skyrockets," says therapy dog handler Jeff Essayan. Pictured here is therapy dog Annie and Corbin. April 12
Beata Allen shares her time and talents with the community by serving three to four times a week at Ferry County Search and Rescue/CERT helping to manage the flow of people arriving for COVID-19 testing. Arriving early for her shift and remaining until the last patient is served, she is one of the most dedicated CERT volunteers on the team.   April 13