There is no ‘I’ in team but there is a ‘YOU’ in volunteer

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(left) Professor Teresa Ciabattari has volunteered with the Tacoma Emergency Sanctuary since it started in December 2016. (Center) Master Gardener volunteer Jodi Albright has volunteered more than 459.5 hours so far this year. (Right) Vera Brokrenshire, United Way of Pierce County volunteer, loads her can with books and activities to take to a summer meal site in Pierce County.

By Tami Jackson
tjackson@tacomaweekly.com

Amara Volunteer Teresa Ciabattari comforts children in crisis

Since December 2016, PLU Professor Teresa Ciabattari has volunteered two to three times a month with the Tacoma Emergency Sanctuary (TES). To give back to the community, Ciabattari assists staff with providing trauma-informed care to children who enter the sanctuary under urgent situations.

Ciabattara’s volunteer work might include transporting children to the doctor’s office, to school or on field trips to either the YMCA or Pt. Defiance Zoo. Sometimes she might even hang out around the Sanctuary to do fun things with the children there.

“I enjoy being able to spend time with the kids doing what it is that kids do: playing, going on outings, reading stories, helping them with dinner, bath time, and bedtime. It is really special to be able to provide care and comfort and a bit of fun to a child who is in a new environment and going through a challenging transition,” Ciabattari said. “Bedtime is especially meaningful. This can be a vulnerable time for children, and I focus on being present with them as they wind down from the day and settle into rest.”

Tacoma Emergency Sanctuary needs more volunteers to assist in meal prep and to help put the children to bed. “There are also many other ways that volunteers can help in the Sanctuary.” said Amie Newman, director of communications and outreach. “Sometimes the most important aspect of a volunteer’s job is to listen and be empathic.”

According to Newman, anyone who wants to volunteer at Tacoma Emergency Sanctuary can visit amaraputskidsfirst.org/get-involved/volunteer to get more information or please feel free to send a note to volunteers@AmaraPutsKidsFirst.org.

Master gardener volunteer Jodi Albright helped plant this growing program 

Volunteer Jodi Albright was recently nominated Master Gardener of the Year. An active WSU Master Gardener since 2007, she has volunteered 459.5

hours this year so far. In the past seven years she has volunteered an average of 557 hours each year.

“I like to garden and I like to work with people and I like to teach,” Albright said. “There are so many more positives from volunteering than there are negatives.”

Albright has held a number of leadership roles in the Master Gardener program, including serving as a foundation board member, committee chairperson, special events lead, plant sale lead, rain garden lead, shed sale co-chair, demonstration garden “Great Plant Picks” lead, volunteer coordinator for the annual Master Gardener plant sale, and she’s been the lead on numerous administrative assignments such as modernizing the program database and maintaining membership files.

“Jodi has taken the MG lead on rain gardens and has assisted with the installation of more than a dozen such gardens in the past two years,” said Danielle Harrington, Pierce County Master Gardener coordinator. “This includes planning the upcoming Pierce County Master Gardener rain garden workshop, which is open to the public.”

According to Harrington, Albright has played a major role in developing the Pierce County Master Gardener program from the ground up. “Jodi exemplifies the best qualities of a Master Gardener volunteer. Her dedication to the program shines. Whether it is sharing her knowledge and passion about plants and rain gardens, stepping up to take on new leadership roles, or her tenacity to solve problems, Jodi is beloved and admired by all of us,” Harrington said.

Interested in becoming a Master Gardener volunteer? The program is now recruiting for its 2018 training. Visit extension.wsu.edu/pierce/mg for more info on how to apply!

Where there’s a will, there’s a United Way Volunteer named Vera Brokenshire

Vera Brokenshire donates her time to Pierce County’s United Way. She recently received a Champion for Children award by Project Child Success for her volunteer service as a Launch into Literacy (LIL) reader. That’s where she has been sharing books and activities with children all year at a small childcare center in Pierce County. The LIL Readers Program is a collaboration between United Way of Pierce County and Pierce County Library.

“For Read United Summer Learning Programming, the United Way of Pierce County, in partnership with free summer meal sites, mobilizes volunteers to help children with reading and learning activities,” said United Way’s Volunteer Program Manager Allison Loft. “UWPC staff and volunteers visit meal sites in high-need neighborhoods across the county to provide supplemental summer learning opportunities and distribute free books for the children.”

“Over the course of this summer, 35 volunteers were engaged in weekly reading and activity sessions with children at eight sites and gave out over 750 new books to the participants,” Loft said.

To learn more about volunteering for United Way of Pierce County, visit uwpc.org/volunteer.

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