The Better Part – Volunteering – The Gift of Giving

The Better Part – Volunteering – The Gift of Giving



there's something very special about volunteering and about the people who do so do you volunteer in your community or perhaps you would like to and don't know where to get started good people give their time to do great things every day and recently we met some of them at the volunteer fair here in Cupertino California volunteering really is the gift of giving stay tuned welcome to the better part I'm your volunteer host Val Jeffry people volunteer in many ways whether it's sharing their skills as mentors or helping children to read or sending cards from home to our troops abroad there's always a need somewhere time is very precious and in our busy lives the gift of giving is the most generous gift that we can give the city of Cupertino California recently held a volunteer fair the better part was there to show the community what we do our hope is that this program will inspire you to search out volunteering opportunities in your own communities my guest in the studio today organized the fair we welcome community outreach specialists for the city of Cupertino Coleen metier [Applause] [Applause] great job thank you for joining us thank you so much for having me and thank you to the better part for attending the volunteer fair and you know participating in getting everyone to provide their interviews that was great what does your job as outreach specialist do as an outreach specialist I manage the communications with the community so part of my job is to manage all of the social media marketing out of City Hall and behalf of the city council i coordinate citywide events like the volunteer fair I also help participate in the Earth Day Festival I do graphic design I'm constantly communicating with residents directly and that's the main focus of my job you're not allowed to be sick at all and by the sound of it definitely not whose idea was the fair this was an idea by our current mayor Darcy Paul volunteerism is extremely important to him and he really thought that it was necessary to have this fair it was a fair that used to be held in Cupertino way back in the day and he thought it was really important to bring it back our Cupertino mayor Darcy Paul is going to tell us about this volunteer day that we're having oh sure so we have about 63 volunteer organizations today we used to have a volunteer fair in Cupertino on a regular basis but it's been a number of years since we've had it and I thought that in my years mayor it would be a nice thing to bring it back to our city so could they contact the city then and say you know I just turned 50 or 65 or whatever or retired I would like to volunteer and do some good is there a number or something through the city that they could learn about volunteer organizations absolutely they're always free to email me my email address that the city is deep hall at Cupertino org our staff member who has been coordinating this event has done a tremendous job and her name is Colleen Latia and so they're interested in knowing more about future iterations of the volunteer fair Colleen would be the person to contact her email address is CEO ll e e NL at Cupertino org and you know we're a relatively small town still and so you can find the right people to contact and you know that's what I really love about Cupertino you know you have a lot of these interactions and it's very much on a personal basis how much time did you have three months he he decided at the state of the city that this was which was held on January 31st that he wanted to have the fair in May the beginning of me and so I when he presented this idea at the state of the city that was my cue to say go and that's when we started to coordinate the fair of course we have everyone from Lions Club rotary you know the better part you know a lot of our major volunteer organizations in Cupertino here today but I'm certain I wouldn't be able to count in a reasonable amount of time then the number of outlets for volunteering there are and you know frankly it's it's whatever interests you that you would like to share with other people well what's this many groves it seems like that Cupertino gaining a lot of benefits from all these oh absolutely absolutely you know I think a society in general you know when you have a spirit of volunteerism within it and and nurtured is highly benefited you know I told myself you know look we have a really good sign up we have 63 organizations and even if not a single person comes in at least we have the crosstalk between 63 volunteer organizations but I think as has been pretty evident in the first couple of hours of the event we have quite a few people coming in and interacting you know I just see this as a as a wonderful testimony to the kind of community where we are and you know it's it's really refreshing to be able to interact with people that have that kind of that kind of spirit so you know this is probably my favorite few hours and in my in my tenure as as a council member in Cupertino well thank you for bringing back the fair because I think it lets a general population know what's available and it might inspire them to go out and volunteer absolutely what does it take to plan and put on an event like this it takes a lot as they say it takes a village so I had initially started with a committee trying to work with other staff members who have put on events of this capacity like the Earth Day Festival and from there you know just started kind of using their templates for how they you know planned these things and just trying to reach out and it was just I was in constant communication with people and reaching out asking them if they wanted to participate or people reaching out to me and making sure we had enough booths tables organizing the setup creating the map so a lot goes into it let's hear from some of the nonprofit organizations and volunteers here is Grace trapped in talking with in a talent winner of the crest award let's find out what they do welcome to ina and Aditi two beautiful ladies dressed in beautiful costumes tell me about your organization lino we I am representing in a talent here today which is a nonprofit organization that goes around to various senior centers and assisted living centers and rehabilitation centers how did this organization get started it really just started off an idea and off of the fact that children in the Bay Area focus so much on their energies on building up their resumes for college and creating these talents and after that I mean there's no way to there was no way to give it back to the community and there was this thought that there should be a way to give it back to the community and with that it really just it kind of took on its own form and and there came in a talent from that it's wonderful how many of people do have in your organization so two years ago we just had three it was me and two other people and now we are we have safely a little bit over a hundred people volunteering with us after two years that is absolutely amazing over a hundred all volunteers yeah and some of them come from dance schools we have partners we have partnered with a few dance schools and talent schools which of Athiya is actually part of California Newport Dance Academy who is one of our partners so we've had around 50 individual volunteers and then the dance schools or other schools of talent will provide the other 50 for us now tell me about your volunteer experience what motivated you to volunteer well I just I've been dancing for a long time ever since I was little and dance is just a way that I express myself and so I thought that it would be great to give back to the community by expressing myself through dance and how long have you been volunteering I've been just with Ina or she's been my friend for a long time so I've just been kind of with her through this through this experience but she's been doing all of the leading for the organization that is wonderful I'm speaking with Amanda Yoon she's with the program that teaches adults how to read I think it's wonderful tell us about it sure so this is the reading program of Santa Clara County Library District it's our adult literacy program that helps adults learn how to read and write and speak better it's a free program and so all of our students get to join and really enhance their literacy skills for free through the help of volunteer bond volunteer tutors how do they hear about this a lot of our students actually hear about it from word of mouth they tell their family friends because they themselves had a great opportunity and they had a great experience being able to be a part of the program they also hear about us because we have our brochures and flyers all around the libraries and so um yeah we're we have a very popular program well I have a question here now if someone doesn't read would they be likely to go to the library and even pick up one of these flyers right and so that's why I think word of mouth has really caught on and so most of our learners actually know some of the basics of the alphabet and are able to read and write at the most basic level but we're really helping students become better at reading comprehension expand their vocabulary improve their grammar and be able to write better many many years ago I interviewed a lady who had been taught to read as an adult she was about 40 and she had worked in a factory and she couldn't read the instructions so she had to be twice as smart and watch what everyone else was doing to do it and she said she once she learned to read she could look at the magazines and know what they were even just to read the ads so how do you go about teaching an adult to read well first our program is learner centered so we really try to see what their needs are so if it's for work like that you spoke about then we would help them from there and so asking them what kind of vocabulary and what kind of workplace writing you need to do or reading you need to do and other other students they they need help going to the doctor's office or reading health education information financial literacy information all sorts of things that they're not able to do on their own which is why they seek our services I see you how some books or these teaching aids yes so these are books that are created for adult learners and so this is a great series it has different reading passages vocabulary and the important thing about these books is a lot of English learning workbooks are catered towards youth and children so the content is oftentimes a little bit childish but these have more content that's content that adults would be interested in now if someone would like to volunteer I think this is nice because a volunteer could perhaps do it on their own schedule how would they volunteer who do they contact so you can contact us the reading program and our email addresses reading program at SCC ell org and it's completely based on your availabilities like you mentioned and it's you can volunteer any of our library locations and the only requirement is free to attend an orientation and a short training tell me how long have you been with Breathe California I'm actually intern at Brees California I've been here for about a month and a half now and I'm doing this internship for my school actually and what school do you go to I'm going to Cal State East Bay wonderful can you tell us a little bit about Breathe California what does the orcas an organization do so breeze California is a non-profit here in San Jose and our main goal is to help fight lung disease in all of its forms and we have different programs such as an asthma program at tobacco program tuberculosis program a sleep safe program and we also have a health seniors health and wellness program that sounds wonderful so you provide all these services for free to the public yes so we are a non-profit and our main goal is we do a lot of health education and promotion so we work with the community to raise awareness about lung health and help them and educate them in ways so they can prevent themselves from these lung diseases now what made you decide to do your internship with Breathe California I chose Breathe California meaning because I wanted to do hands-on work with the community I didn't want to sit behind a desk and typing in data so I learned to do something hands-on and as I interned for the health seniors program I get to do presentations for seniors I also get to provide them for no-cost health screenings and I feel really rewarded that sounds a lot of interesting activities what kind of health presentations do give to the seniors so we have a wide range of different topics we will I've done presentations on sleep apnea maintaining health wellness we also talked about different diseases like COPD and just like constant not concentrate and irrelevant topics within the healthcare that the seniors need to be educated about have you found any particular activity you've been involved with most the most satisfying I actually really like suing the health screenings because it's no cost and I feel that with that that's a big the seniors gonna come in and they feel like oh I got my blood pressure checked or my lungs are in good shape so I find they're really rewarding that I'm able to you know just do it like a little test for them and let them know that hey you're fine you know that is wonderful and how much longer do you plan to do the internship here well I am actually graduating but based on me my schedule I think I will be continuing here even after my graduation that is wonderful good gun thank you so much for being with us today thank you for having me as well thank you the Housing Commission helps with housing needs for people that are underprivileged in the Cupertino area as you know Cupertino is a very expensive area to live in and we work in conjunction with West Valley Community Services in providing housing to people at lower rates so the monthly rent is a whole lot lower these units are totally dedicated for the city's program and people get on the waiting list and there's income qualifications and other qualifications that they have to check in to in order to qualify for that and it's a lovely program I have seen the they've just remodeled the units if the West Valley Community Services which is right off of Stevens Creek Boulevard so their existing they're nothing new being built they're just existing and its supplemented by this West Valley organization so those are existing units already they have the rentals there they also have another set of townhomes which is in the Greenwood coat area which is also off of Stevens Creek and we also are going to be putting in some senior housing which is brand new units which is going to be off of Stevens Creek as well yeah are you the only non paid volunteer in the Commission or is it all volunteer the commissioners are all volunteered this is my first year as being the chair of the Housing Commission but all the volunteers are non paid position how many are there there are five commissioners currently and are you overseen by the mayor or the city planner so we work with the mayor's office we recently had Commissioners meeting where we go in and meet with the mayor and give them an update of what transpired in the last meeting and the rest of the commissioners also get get to know what's going on in each Commission so that we sometimes we can help each other we can collaborate and get things happening well thank you very much we appreciate having you explain what you do to volunteer Thank You Vera Lynn you have a lovely day and happy Cinco DeMayo guys I have with me right here captain Richie arena of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department welcome rich thank you for having me now tell me what are you doing here at the volunteer fair yeah well first of all I'd like to thank everybody for inviting us out of here you know we have a lot of different programs for the Sheriff's Office so any opportunity we get to we come out and be part of our community we certainly want to be there we're here today really to promote crime safety to make sure our residents are aware of some of the things that are occurring in the city of Cupertino so we have a lot of things like this where it's crime safety brochures this particular one is current prevention tips for seniors so we certainly want to talk to our residents about crime safety but we're also here because we do have volunteer opportunities within the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office to be a bit more specific we have a lot of things that we do for our community and so certainly there are opportunities for our residents to engage our office and the community at the same time so we have applications out on our booth here where our residents can take them with them and really it's a simple application just fill out the information on there and what you're interested in doing for our office and we try to pair you up with those duties and assignments that we have we're also here to talk about the teen academy in the community academy where you have the community academy that cursed twice a year you can find out all that information online on our web site at Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office I'm with some very industrious Boy Scouts its Andrew and Alex Richardson Andrew and Alex and their Boy Scouts who and they're volunteering it's all about volunteering and they've come they're now working on their Eagle spout Scouts badge which is the big one and so alex is going to tell us what they're seeking to volunteer for or if you have any ideas that's why they're here today looking so tell us all about it okay so an Eagle Scout project usually consists of us leading a volunteer project we usually can get Boy Scouts to volunteer and it has to be for a nonprofit organization there have been many Eagle projects in the past and some examples and some similar things we could do for example is like helping maintain and create new trails people often help make sheds for schools and other similar projects so there are a wide variety of things we can do and Boy Scouts have a lot of skills so that's why we're able to do all these things so basically it would be something physical that you would do outdoors yes usually something physical that we do that doors I remember sometimes it can be indoors for a nonprofit school that helped like disabled learners they help like prepare the facility inside and help like set up these different stations and stuff for them so it doesn't have to be outside but yes it's usually something physical somebody watching this once some volunteer work some very honorable volunteers they would contact your Scout leader or as a higher person they would contact yeah they could contact our Scout leader so we're from troop 466 from Sunnyvale there you have it some very willing and able volunteers how did you come up with the initial list of participants it started with Cupertino based nonprofits and we went back to our list of crest award recipients for the past ten years and we started reaching out to them but once I put the first notification on social media that we were hosting this I just started getting requests from tons of organizations to participate you know we initially had said oh you know we're only gonna get about 30 and then that numbers slowly started creeping up to 40 and then we said oh why not 50 and then we were all before we knew it we were at 64 and I had reached a point where I actually had to tell people I'm sorry I can't you know we ran out of space I can't let you but you know next year next year and so that was it was really great to have that many groups participate [Applause] the entertainers were also volunteers how did you enlist their help we wanted to keep it to Cupertino based volunteers seeing as this was a Cupertino volunteer fair you know granted it was a regional effort and regional groups came to the fair but we know how many performing groups we have especially at our Senior Center we have some awesome performing groups like harmonic hats and the various other groups and so we started there and requested their presence and then in a talent which was a crest Award winner for 2018 they were able to participate we received glowing feedbacks right off the bat I mean on the day of everyone was telling us that you know they had not ever gotten that many signups by being at a fair before and I think that just goes to show how important to our community volunteering is and everyone keeps asking me are you gonna be hosting it next year and I you know think that I'm going to have to well congratulations you did a absolutely splendid job and we hope there will be many more fairs and we would love to join you so thank you for being our guest in the studio thank you so much for having me [Applause] thank you thank you very much I am blown away by the amount of talent the commitment the dedication the support from the parents and that's represented here and the fact that this organization was started by students that have not graduated from high school yet is truly astounding so please [Applause] volunteering not only helps the community and those around us but also gives great joy to the giver we hope that we've inspired you to volunteer in your community or maybe we have given you some ideas to get you started or increase your volunteer activities remember giving the gift of time is very special and rewarding and if you live in the Cupertino area why not volunteer with us and help make programs like this one check us out at www.imtcva.org you

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