When World Horizon first contacted us to see if we were interested in partnering with them, we were not sure if their program was a good fit for H.O.M.E . After further reflection and looking at our needs we determined that it would indeed be worth giving it a try for a year.
One of the biggest obstacles in growing our volunteer program was not recruiting volunteers but finding a way to host the people who were interested in volunteering with us. We decided to create a position that would serve two roles: Resident Assistant and Volunteer Supervisor.
We have always had Resident Assistants at our housing locations and by adding the role of Volunteer Supervisor to that position we were able to meet the qualifications within World Horizons framework. We are happy to report this partnership is working out quite well!
The addition of this role has led to a noted increase in volunteer activity at our intergenerational houses, this has made both our residents and our housing staff very happy.
Carla has been instrumental in helping launch and grow this portion of the program. Her enthusiasm and dedication have been awesome. She has also played an integral role in helping with our outreach to find new individual, corporate, faith based and education based volunteer groups.
Here's what Carla had to say about her experience here at H.O.M.E.
As my year of service is coming to an end, I wanted to look back on the past 12 months and reflect on my time at H.O.M.E.
I was the first long-term volunteer at H.O.M.E. from Germany. H.O.M.E. became a partner of the organization World Horizon, which lends a helping hand to social aid projects around the world by sending volunteers to assist local staff.
My responsibilities this year consisted of being a Resident Assistant at the Good Life Senior Residences at Pat Crowley House and being the Volunteer Supervisor.
Both parts of the job were fun and also had their own challenges.
Being a Resident Assistant allowed me to form relationships with the residents by accompanying them on outings, cooking for them on weekends and just trying to help them with day-to-day tasks. It was nice to interact with them and I will miss the friendships I developed.
Trying to increase the number of volunteers as the Volunteer Supervisor was a fun challenge. I really enjoyed working with the different volunteers, whether they were individuals or groups. All the volunteers I supervised were highly motivated and it was great to introduce them to the organization and spend time with them.
It was rewarding to see that some volunteers decided to regularly help out, for example as Guest Chefs or maintenance volunteers. By having the same people come to the house regularly, the residents were able to form meaningful relationships with different people of all ages.
All in all, my year here has taught me a lot of things I didn’t know how to do or thought I could to before.
I would like to thank everyone, especially staff and residents, for helping me along the way and making my year in Chicago a great experience.
The overall state of the volunteer program is in a much better place thanks to Carla’s hard work and dedication and she has set a high level of standard for the next World Horizon candidate Konrad Kebler who we will welcome to H.O.M.E in mid August.
There are so many ways to get involved here at H.O.M.E. to help seniors in Chicago. Find out more and join us in our mission today!
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