by Terri Durham, Office Coordinator
Casa Grande is a community with many resources. One resource that is the lifeblood of Seeds of Hope is volunteers. We are able to accomplish our mission because of the in-kind support volunteers give us. Matching a volunteer’s skill set, availability and passions to a program takes delicate coordination. Enlisting new volunteers to fill gaps can be a time-consuming task. Tracking involvement, providing staff support and recognizing special days of unpaid helpers is a must in the world of nonprofits.
There is one person who keeps it all together for us when it comes to volunteers. Shirley Ward has been our Volunteer Coordinator since July 2007. You can find her in our administrative office each Tuesday and Thursday morning coordinating people, recording in-kind hours, signing up new helpers and a whole lot more.
Shirley and her husband Richard moved to Casa Grande in 1996 from Iowa to retire. But not the kind to be idle, she found herself working again. She filled her time with inserting ads into Penny Saver for a short time and working in the circulation department at the Casa Grande Dispatch for over seven years.
The volunteer bug bit Shirley in 2007 and she became a page at the Casa Grande Public Library, downtown branch. About the same time, she began volunteering for Seeds of Hope doing data entry for then after school coordinator Vangie Saucedo. Seeds of Hope was experiencing a growth spurt and saw the need to hire someone part-time to keep track of the ever-growing number of volunteers who were joining us.
Nine years later, Shirley’s role has grown with the organization and she also handles community service workers – a special kind of volunteer. Recording every volunteer’s hours into our volunteer tracking software is what she enjoys most because it familiarizes her with the names of those volunteering with us – a kind of memory aid. As well, she takes great pleasure in recognizing birthdays with handmade cards sent with love to our volunteers.
To give you an idea of how important Shirley’s position is to Seeds of Hope, consider this. In 2015, 4,894.75 volunteer hours were given to Seeds of Hope. Independentsector.org calculates the estimated value of a volunteer hour to be $23.56. That equals $115,320.31 of donated time given to Seeds of Hope last year. Currently there are 123 active volunteers, so that’s a lot of people to keep track of!
Seeds of Hope volunteers are our most valuable asset. They are the faces of our organization and the heartbeat of all we do. Without a volunteer coordinator, keeping track of all they do for us would be very difficult. We are fortunate to have Shirley, a faithful and friendly part of our team.
If you’re looking for a place to get involved and make a difference in our Casa Grande community, give Shirley a call at 520-836-6335. She’d love to talk over volunteer opportunities with you. If you’re already a volunteer and appreciate what Shirley does for us, give her a shout out on our Facebook page