Honoring Our Volunteers

Volunteers are the heart and soul of AM. This week is Volunteer Celebration Week, and we are honoring our volunteers by sharing their stories of impact. In the past year, our volunteers have done some AMAZING work. They have painted houses with Paint Tacoma Beautiful, prepared taxes with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, served on our board, administered resources with Project Homeless Connect, and assisted clients in overcoming housing barriers. Thank you, volunteers!

Lillian Reanier

Lillian originally came to Associated Ministries as an intern with Clover Park Technical College, but stayed on as a volunteer with our Community Resource Connection Center where she provided resource referrals and assistance to struggling households. Throughout her time as a volunteer, Lillian learned that, “Helping others, even if it is just by listening, giving a referral, or just returning a call, can have a significant impact on their life.” Thank you, Lillian for being a source of compassion and stability for our clients!

Nancy Covey

Nancy first learned about Associated Ministries’ Project Homeless Connect (PHC) through the JustServe volunteer opportunity site. For many individuals, homelessness can feel like too big a problem to solve, but Nancy found that she had the power to make an impact. “Being able to give people who are going through tough times the hope they need to feel like they are acknowledged as individuals and that they matter makes a difference.” Volunteering with PHC allowed Nancy to get involved in addressing homelessness and see that the community response was wider than she realized. Thanks, Nancy, for being such a big part of the change we wish to see!

Jorge Martinez

Jorge volunteered with Associated Ministries’ Paint Tacoma Beautiful program, helping to provide free, exterior painting to low-income homeowners. Jorge spent long days in the summer heat scrapping, sanding, and painting with other volunteers from all walks of life. “Seeing people from all backgrounds come together helped me feel closer to my community.” Jorge volunteered during COVID-19, and like many, wanted to get out and contribute to something. “If you want to see a change in the world help by being that change.” Thanks, Jorge, for all that your hard work and dedication!

Barbara Racioppi

Barbara is a dedicated volunteer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program of Associated Ministries, which provides free tax preparation services to moderate- and low-income taxpayers. VITA volunteers go through extensive training on tax law to certify to become a volunteer tax preparer. It’s all worth it though. Barbara says that the most rewarding part of the VITA program is providing this high quality service to people who couldn’t otherwise afford it. “One experience that moved me was when I worked with a taxpayer who had a disability and little income, but still supported local charities. And what a joy he was to talk with! It was humbling and exciting altogether.” Thank you, Barbara, for your dedication and care!

Vaitai Misivila

Vaitai volunteered with Associated Ministries’ Project Homeless Connect (PHC) event. PHC is a resource fair for people experiencing homelessness to connect to a number of different services and meet their basic needs all in one place. Vaitai was heartened by her feelings of fellowship and appreciated the chance to get to know different people outside of her community. Thank you, Vaitai, for contributing your precious time to this cause!

Sharon McKellery

Volunteering with Associated Ministries was a journey of personal growth for Sharon, who helped in our Benefits Access Department, providing mail and protective payee services to people experiencing homelessness. “By giving back, personal growth and transformation was given to me.” Sharon found community at AM that made her feel supported, “The staff was like family to me. Amazing folks that checked on me daily.” Sharon wants others to know that AM is a place for anyone (volunteers or clients) to find their next step in life. Thanks for your service to the community, Sharon!

Katy Cortez

Associated Ministries’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program couldn’t operate without volunteers like Katy. As a Site Coordinator, Katy runs the show at one of our tax preparations sites for VITA. She supervises other volunteers, reviews completed tax returns for quality, and finds answers to even the most obscure tax questions! Katy is motivated by the taxpayers she serves, “Just seeing the smiling faces of taxpayers when we’ve completed their returns without charging them anything makes me feel incredible.” Katy also enjoys learning from the people she works with, “The experience I’m getting is unique. I am learning from others when I work alongside diverse people from different cultures who have different perspectives.” Thank you, Katy, for your leadership and warmth!

Julia Graves

“Volunteering with Associated Ministries is an opportunity to improve our community, uplift those in need, and strengthen bonds,” said volunteer Julia. Julia participated with AM’s Paint Tacoma Beautiful program as a Crew Lead for a house that her church adopted. Though, adopting a whole house with PTB is no easy feat. Julia coordinated dozens of volunteers from her church and oversaw the entire project from beginning to end. “Whenever I have had the opportunity to serve others, it has helped me step out of my comfort zone, focus on others, and become less selfish.” Thank you, Julia, for your hard work and leadership!

Mindie Sayers

Associated Ministries volunteer, Mindie, participated with Project Homeless Connect, serving lunches at the event and operating a crafting table for kids. Mindie didn’t expect to receive the level of gratitude she did from the clients who attended PHC. It goes to show that, as Oscar Wilde said, “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.” Thank you for your acts of kindness, Mindie!

Be a Volunteer Hero! Inspired by the stories you’ve read from our volunteers? Join our team and create your own volunteer story with Associated Ministries. Paint houses, prepare taxes, provide administrative support, or let us customize a volunteer role specifically for your skillset. We believe everyone has something valuable to offer, and together, we can end homelessness!

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