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AmeriCorps VIP members – thank you and congratulations

August 12, 2011

Today is the last day of our AmeriCorps VIP program. Ten AmeriCorps VIP members have successfully completed their year of service. Nine have served out with eight partner organizations, and one has spent the year with Volunteer San Diego. This represents an incredible accomplishment for each of them, as it has come with hard work, perseverance and  sacrifice. Volunteer San Diego is very proud of their achievements and dedication to the San Diego community.

From left to right: Todd, Abby, Seth, Lindy, Rachel, Angela, Kristy, Caryn and Catie

Here’s what the AmeriCorps members had to say about their year of service in a few words:

“Being broke is rewarding.”
– Abby Weglarz, North County Community Services

“Inspiring, life-changing and fun.”
– Caryn Burkholder, International Rescue Committee

“AmeriCorps VIP was a creative infusion of project management, social justice and creativity. I loved it!”
– Rachel Lebowitz, Outside the Lens

“That epilepsy is a life changing event which stays underground unless you’re touched by it personally, or by family or friend.”
– Todd Browning, The Epilepsy Foundation

“Incredibly rewarding and tummy filling.”
–  Kristy Coleman, Jewish Family Service

“Hot and dry.”
– Seth Connolly, Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy

“1. Delicious = all the potlucks with the community!
2. challenging = nobody is perfect
3. fun = meeting all different cultures
4. adventurous
5. friendly = met a lot of great people.”
– Angela Allen, Bayside Community Center

“Inspiring people to volunteer!”
– Lindy Capps, Volunteer San Diego

“It was worth it.”
– Elena Tanase, The Elizabeth Hospice

Volunteer San Diego congratulates Angela, Todd, Caryn, Lindy, Seth, Kristy, Rachel, Catie, Elena and Abby. You are all amazing and we wish you the best and good luck with your future endeavors!

– Volunteer San Diego

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Seagate’s Community Service Grand Slam

August 8, 2011

On August 3rd, Volunteer San Diego was pleased to provide over 200 employees from Seagate with a volunteer event at San Diego’s Chollas Lake Little League. The Seagate employees, who were in San Diego for an annual conference, took a break from their meetings to work on painting, gardening, cleaning and construction projects at the Oak Park neighborhood baseball fields. Chollas Lake Little League serves a population of immigrant, working class families and is proud to offer low-cost athletic opportunities to boys and girls throughout the year. The improvements made by the Seagate volunteer team will make the fields safer and more comfortable for Chollas Lake families for years to come.

“Chollas Lake Little League would like to thank Seagate and Volunteer San Diego for their generous gift to our league. We are a self-sufficient inner-city league that relies on sponsorships in order to operate and still be able to offer low registration cost so our community has a safe, fun and caring place to learn life skills and play baseball. We are a 100% volunteer organization who struggles each year to keep our facilities looking good with limited resources. With the generous donation of time and money our league had a much-needed face lift which included new landscaping, painting, repairs, cleaning and some new picnic tables and benches. It was awesome seeing over 200 volunteers from Seagate from all over the world come together and do such great work. Our league is sincerely thankful and is a better place because of the caring of volunteers from Seagate and Volunteer San Diego.”
– Ed Kirkpatrick, Board Member, Chollas Lake Little League

Bruce Akins, Chief Executive Officer of Volunteer San Diego, said, “VSD was thrilled to learn Seagate included a service project within their conference agenda. This project exemplifies VSD’s ability to provide local groups, as well as conference attendees, with meaningful service opportunities that have great impact in the community. We were truly honored to be part of this event.”

For more information about Volunteer San Diego’s Corporate Volunteer program, contact Maureen Polimadei at mpolimadei@volunteersandiego.org or (858) 300-3280 x213.

Finding Time

August 6, 2011

Serving SeniorsHave you ever had this feeling? It’s a typical day, the start of the new week, and you just crawled out of bed to start your morning routine. Then, like being struck by lightning, you suddenly realize that you have a mountain of responsibilities that HAVE to be accomplished. Having remembered your enormous list of task for this week, getting ready for the day starts to feel like you’re preparing for an ascent up a cliff face. Unless you’re an actual mountain climber, that’s not always the greatest way to start your day.

Just recently I was overwhelmed by that very feeling. Let’s just say that if the figurative mountain of responsibilities were real, I would have needed a very strong pair of binoculars to see the top. How was I going to do everything else I wanted to do this week? Will I still be able to exercise after work or go out in the evenings? What about volunteering? How will I be able to fit all that in with everything else I have to do? Luckily for me, Volunteer San Diego’s Flex program and their website’s built-in search feature makes finding a volunteer event that fits your schedule as easy as it gets.

Within a few minutes of logging on to Volunteer San Diego, I was able to find Serving Seniors. Serving Seniors takes place at the Gary and Mary West Senior Center located on the corner of Beech Street and 4th. Serving Seniors only required one hour of my time, and luckily for me it was during my normal lunch break. You might be asking yourself, “What could he have possibly done in just one hour?” Well, quite a lot, actually. As soon as I arrived I was handed a plastic apron and a pair of rubber gloves. Before I knew it, I had just served lunch to 87 seniors. On top of being very pleased that I was able to squeeze this event into my schedule, everyone at the event was extremely friendly and welcoming. Moreover, when I made it back to work I was positive, upbeat, and more than ready to lace up my hiking boots and finish scaling that mountain.

– James Lee, Social Media Assistant

Senior Center San Diego

If you are interested in volunteering for Serving Seniors you can search for the opportunity at Volunteer San Diego, keywords “Serving Seniors.”

Last but not least, meet Social Media Assistant, James Lee!

July 27, 2011

Photo of JamesMy name is James Lee. I am 26 years old and I am from a small town in Arkansas. I joined the U.S. Navy almost immediately after high school. After basic training, I spent a year in Pensacola, Florida studying information warfare. After graduating two schools, I was stationed on an aircraft carrier home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan. I was stationed in Japan for just over three years. Living in Japan was a great experience. In addition to living in Japan, I have also visited numerous countries in Asia and even visited several cities in Australia. After Japan I was transferred to Ottawa, Canada for two amazing years. Finally, this last December I was transferred to San Diego.

Currently, I teach a handful of courses at the San Diego Naval Base on 32nd Street. I enjoy teaching because I like helping people learn and understand concepts. It’s very rewarding when you see that your students are absorbing the information and it is always great when they finally pass your class. In my off time I go to university and I like to volunteer my time as much as possible. I have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, at the Senior Center Downtown, and at various community events. I am also doing my best to take advantage of living in San Diego by learning to surf, sail and scuba dive.

I volunteer as a Social Media Assistant because I believe there is unlimited potential in social media to bring people together. Volunteering is all about coming together to work towards a great good, common goal, or just to lend a helping hand. I want to be able to use social media to organize communities, bring volunteers together and help them connect with an opportunity that is right for them. Social media is a very powerful organization and marketing tool, and I am very happy to use it to assist Volunteer San Diego.

– James Lee, Social Media Assistant

Meet Social Media Assistant, Scott Schulte!

July 25, 2011

Photo of ScottMy name is Scott Schulte and I was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. After high school, I attended Purdue University, where I received my bachelor’s degree in Computer Graphics Technology and played an active role among the brothers of Sigma Chi Fraternity. A couple of years after graduation and having spent some time in Boston and Cincinnati, I made my way out west to America’s Finest City for the first time to visit some friends. By my second day in town, I knew San Diego was the place for me.  Five weeks later, I was settled in and digging my toes into the sand! Since then, I have never looked back and continue to love this city a little more every day.

In order to pay the bills, I spend some of my time working as the beverage manager for a restaurant. Previous to my current position, I have been a part of the opening team of managers for two multi-million dollar restaurants, and one other as a server trainer. In addition to my managerial roles, I have also worked as a private dining director, key supervisor, and lead trainer in the hospitality industry.

In my free time, I enjoy reading, playing guitar, wine tasting, live music, pretending I can surf, exercising, and of course, volunteering! I also spend much of my time learning more and more about everything I can. Currently, I am attending various seminars and workshops at the California Center for Sustainable Energy and the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center to further the development of a minimal waste self-sustaining pub concept I am planning to open down the road.

– Scott Schulte, Social Media Assistant

Meet one of our three volunteer Social Media Assistants, Ciera Davis!

July 20, 2011

Photo of CieraMy name is Ciera Davis, I am 25 years old and am a native Californian (not too many of us around here!). I went to school in Chicago (Lake Forest College), majored in Communications and have spent most of my early career in the hospitality industry.

I stated working at the Four Seasons Chicago right out of college, moved back to San Diego and worked at La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, worked for a luxury travel company in Encinitas and now work at a corporate event planning company in Mission Valley!

I also have a couple of other side ventures…I am a nanny on the weekends, I volunteer at a yoga studio in Point Loma and I have my own website/company called Coastal Career Concepts which was basically created to help advise young adults (high school to college age) on what to expect in the working world; how to get a job, how to write a resume, etc.

Recently I signed up for this project with Volunteer San Diego to do social media,

a) because I find social media to be a fascinating medium and
b) I think that Volunteer San Diego is an awesome organization.

I currently do social media (Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, blogs) for the event planning company that I work for (The Event Team) and really want to learn as much as I can about social media marketing.

– Ciera Davis, Social Media Assistant

Mixer to Benefit Volunteer San Diego

July 11, 2011

Come mix and mingle, and enjoy appetizers and hors d oeuvres!

When: Wednesday, July 27
Where: Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club (14050 Carmel Ridge Road, San Diego, CA 92128)
Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Cost: $2 entry fee (benefits VSD)

There will be a cash bar with drink specials (a dollar from each drink will benefit VSD) and opportunities to win prizes (silent auction and raffle).

RSVP to Maureen at mpolimadei@volunteersandiego.org.

We hope to see you there!

Thank you Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club for hosting this event.