April 21- 27 is National Volunteer Recognition Week, and Bucks County Opportunity Council has some of the best volunteers around. The Volunteer Spotlight highlights our amazing volunteers, the people who give their time to help fulfill our mission. We want you to get to know 5 of our more than 100 volunteers here at the Opportunity Council:
Ayusa started volunteering with BCOC this year, first helping to set up for a big fundraiser, and now marketing our Adopt-A-Pantry food drive in the community. She says about the Opportunity Council, “It is a good cause that I don’t think is recognized as often as it should. A lot of people volunteer at hospitals and libraries but rarely do they realize the need for volunteers at non-profits such as BCOC.”
This isn’t her first volunteer experience: “I volunteered in Tanzania in the fall helping widows and orphans to get an education and find homes, never realizing that the same issues existed close to home. I have lived in Bucks County for almost 8 years and never thought that there would people below the poverty line or just in need of such support. I haven’t been with BCOC long, but I am very impressed by all that I have learned about them. I am surprised at the number of people BCOC has helped and touched.” We are very lucky Ayusa is spending her time at home with us- she is planning on attending medical school in the fall!
BCOC’s volunteer Board of Directors supports in many ways. Michael Woods joined the BCOC Board in 2010. Why does he volunteer for BCOC? “The people on the board, the staff, and the ongoing need to fulfill the mission.” He says, “I’ve learned that through the ES (Economic Self-Sufficiency) program we can save a lot of tax payer dollars and give people a second chance at life.”
Johanna is the newest board member, and also serves on the Community Development Committee. “I have always been interested in poverty and helping people who are struggling. After I graduated from college in the mid 1980s I went to the East End of London and worked for a summer in a homeless shelter, while I lived in a half way house. It was a chance of a lifetime and I learned so much about poverty and the challenges of living on the street. Since then I have been involved with some local non-profits and am pleased to be part of the BCOC which makes a difference in our community and helps people become self sufficient.”
Buck$Back is BCOC’s Volunteer Income Tax Preparation program, which prepares taxes for low-income people, and is staffed almost entirely with volunteers. 2013 is Virginia’s third year volunteering with Buck$Back. “I am a detail-oriented person and did my own taxes in the past and thought this would be a good opportunity to help others and learn more about taxes….. I have learned a lot about taxes and enjoy helping others do their tax returns, especially when they get a big refund. Most are very grateful for this free service we perform.” Virginia loves the other Buck$Back volunteers.
Sue is another volunteer who gives a lot of her time to her church; “(I am active) in the choir, as an Extraordinary Minister, altar server, member of a ladies group, attend special religious education topics, help with Mary’s cupboard, organize an annual Poor Man’s Supper, and more,” but still stays connected with BCOC. She found out about us through a friend of hers and wants to learn more by participating in our Poverty Simulation, which she thinks is a very special and unique way to learn about how people in need are struggling.
Thank you to all of our volunteers! We love working with you!
If you are interested in volunteering your time with us, please contact Eileen Albillar, Volunteer and Community Connections Manager, at 215-345-8175 ext 209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.