SHERIDAN COUNTY YMCA-VOLUNTEERISM IMPACT
Azia worked in the weight room and the Activate Sheridan Center during the summer months of 2010. While working in the weight room Azia assisted the beginner exerciser in learning the equipment so they felt comfortable being in that environment. She also kept the equipment clean. Azia's greatest accomplishment in the weight room is her ability to build relationships with the members. Those relationships are so important because feeling a part of a community is what continues to bring the members in and stay. She was excellent at making people feel welcomed and a part of the group.
Azia spent a great deal of time in the Activate Sheridan Center, which is a facility for the beginner exerciser, the seniors and the youth. She basically worked during times when the beginner and senior population was in the room. As mentioned above, Azia had the ability to start a conversation with anyone and make them feel at home. In fact, people today are still asking where Azia is. She would teach the members how to use the equipment, but her main job was to get the person feeling comfortable with exercising so that they would want to keep coming back. I think the majority of people continued to come back because they enjoyed Azia so much. She always had a smile on her face and she never seemed to judge a person because of their color, size, income, literacy or fitness level.
There is an elderly lady in the class who uses a walker. She was very dependent on me and didn't think that Azia was going to be able to do the job. I had special exercises for her to do since she wasn't able to do all of the strength machines. She kept saying how sad she was that I would not be there anymore and she just knew that Azia would not work out. When Azia began, she immediately took a liking to Helen. Azia always called her Miss Helen and took extra time with her. Helen fell in love with her, and I know a longer relationship existed! Even now that Azia is gone, Helen periodically asks about her and wonders how she is doing.
Azia also covered shifts for many people during her time in the weight room and the Activate Sheridan Center. She was always willing to take a shift if someone was sick or had an emergency. She just enjoyed being around people and that's what the Y is all about.
Amanda in Sheridan shared the following about her AmeriCorps service: March has been especially busy with new victims, and many more people coming to our center. One particular person that utilized the services we have available was a middle aged man, in need of a stalking order. He was very upset about the whole situation, and couldn't believe that at his age, and his stature, that HE would need something like this. I accompanied him to his court hearing, where he was very well composed and told the judge exactly why he felt he needed this order. His order was granted, and he was so thankful for the help I was able to give. He thoroughly enjoyed the services I provided to him, that he made a donation to our center, of $1,000.00 dollars. This story really makes me thankful for the work that I am able to do. I think that it helps me bring myself back to the "ground" (so to say), because it helps me to remember how valuable our services truly are to the one's we help. This story also reminds me that harassment and violence are everywhere, and that everyone is affected either directly or indirectly by the actions of others. My whole goal through my AmeriCorps service has been to instill more information into the community about the services we do, and I think this case shows my success.
In 3 hours, volunteers were able to help ESPC canvass 100 homes and share with the public the importance of voting and what issues were being voted on during this recent mid-term election. Over across town in Mills, WY, volunteers were able to complete some fall cleaning for Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies: interior painting, fill in the mud puddles in the parking lot, wash the outside of the enormous freezer, sort some foods, and clean the inside and outside of the 18 wheeler that is used to distribute goods to food pantries across the state. On October 23rd 2010, ordinary people in our community committed and accomplished a common goal, making a difference in Natrona County.
The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies (WFBR) described ServeWyoming's Volunteer Wyoming program as being "invaluable". Because of ServeWyoming volunteer referrals, the WFBR has been able to place the equivalent of 2 full time staff in their organization through volunteer hours. They average 81 hours a week, and the Wyoming economic equivalent for this type of work is $17.73 (See www.IndependentSector.com for more details). Those volunteers have contributed to the WY Food Bank of the Rockies mission of feeding people in need by a total of $68,934 of service. With the added burden of extra clients in these hard economic times, "our small staff would never be able to meet the demand of our client load without volunteers" says Marguerite Meyer, Former Director of The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies.
I met Deborah Ellis, Director and overall dog guru, through my work with ServeWyoming. Having seen Ellis in action, I am truly amazed by her determination to work for the well-being of all lost and abandoned dogs in Lander. Despite having little financial help from the city, The Lander Pet Connection continues to take in new dogs, while caring for the ones already in custody. The Lander Pet Connection is a no-kill shelter, so dogs may stay longer than in other shelters. With the help of those at Furry Friends Pet Grooming and Boarding, who graciously offer boarding at a reduced rate, LPC has managed to find suitable space for the Pet Connection dogs without actually having a shelter. They are currently working towards building a shelter of their own, but in the mean time they must do with what they have. I have volunteered my time to the Pet Connection by walking dogs. Rocky, abandoned and left outside with his mother and sister, is one of my favorites. He may be a little feisty while caged, but outside he is much more docile. Not only do I get to fulfill my need to interact with dogs, but the dogs get a chance for one-on-one attention and exercise. The Lander Pet Connection is a nonprofit truly deserving of a volunteers' time and effort.