You might not recognize them if you met them. They are high school football players, single parents, college students, and retirees. Yet, they are also some of the most valuable assets in our billion-dollar portfolio of quality affordable housing that transforms lives and builds healthy communities. They are Jamboree volunteers.
Jamboree recently celebrated the growing contributions of this diverse group at our first-ever Volunteer Appreciation & Awards. Held at The Meadows in Irvine, the gathering was our first company-wide recognition of more than 60 volunteers from across our entire portfolio of properties.
Besides providing support through key services that educate and encourage our residents to achieve their goals, volunteers are significant assets that impact our bottom line as a nonprofit. In fact, their efforts resulted in nearly 7,500 volunteer and intern hours last year, which represents almost $175,000 in labor costs donated to Jamboree.
The Resident Services Coordinator at Courier Place – who began as a volunteer herself before coming on staff – said that volunteers have helped significantly grow capacity at her community. “It’s so great to see resident volunteers, the very people living in our community who want to give back to make a difference.” This is a unique partnership that she says was a dream for her. Parents and seniors have both become involved to help tutor children, and a retired teacher has had to increase the number of ESL classes she leads from two to four sessions every week.
Individual volunteers were recognized for their contributions with the Ground Breaker Award, Advocacy and Engagement Award, Shining Star Award, Senior Sunshine Award, and Dreamer and Doer Award, among others. Residents from our senior properties at The Meadows and Heritage Villas received the Most Dedicated Seniors Award as residents who donate their time to serve their own community.
The Most Dedicated Volunteer Group Award went to the Northwood High School Jamboree Club, a dedicated group of students who help with after-school programs, donated 250 books for family properties in Irvine plus more than 175 cleaning supplies for our Cleaning Care Bucket Drive, help high juniors and seniors with SAT prep at our Doria property, and much more.
Steven Gong, one of the clubs’ two presidents, spoke about how his perspective of affordable housing has been changed by volunteering. While he used to have a one-dimensional picture of poor people in need of housing, he now sees that after-school programs open up opportunities for everyone, and more significantly, that he can play a part in helping to open those doors for others.
Patrick McCalla spoke to the group about the value of volunteer efforts from his perspective as a board member as well as a parent of a student intern at Jamboree. He watched his son Griffin grow and mature over the summer, obtaining an approved volunteer service project status for Jamboree at Sage Hill High School, and even changed his academic focus because of his internship. Griffin, who received the Jamboree Mission Possible Award, was also recently recognized at the Spirit of Volunteering 2017 Awards at the Disneyland Hotel, honoring 375 volunteers from across Orange County. We’re proud for Jamboree to be represented as part of the greater volunteer community.
Jamboree President Laura Archuleta encouraged the group saying, “Because of volunteers like you, Jamboree can offer adult, family, senior and special needs programs to our residents. You have helped us in our after-school programs, taught ESL classes, assisted with health and physical fitness programs, participated in community drives to collect back packs and back-to-school supplies, toys, cleaning products, and helped us to put on special events throughout the year. Your energy is boundless and our thanks is endless.”
Jamboree’s Volunteer Appreciation Awards will be an annual celebration of our corporate commitment to volunteers. This commitment involves weaving together a three-strand approach: volunteers (including both Jamboree supporters, friends and residents), interns, and staff. Together, we provide an unbreakable lifeline that helps families, seniors, veterans, and those living with special needs to live successfully and thrive.
There’s a place where you can volunteer with Jamboree, too, or gather some friends and serve together to help us build healthy communities.
To see more stories about our volunteers and how they make an impact, follow Jamboree on Instagram.