Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hands On San Diego: Signature Project

Volunteer San Diego's signature project in the roster of Hands On San Diego activities is the renovation of local recreation centers. All members of our community are encouraged to get active in making our neighborhoods a little bit better by cleaning, weeding, painting, and other general improvements at 15 recreation centers around the county. A bit of TLC for our neighborhood recreation centers is such an ideal way for volunteers to contribute to the very centers that make our communities stronger, safer, and healthier.
To get involved, sign up on Volunteer San Diego's website at, or by phone at 858-636-4131.

Anna Schulz is a member of the Flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hands On San Diego: Horton Elementary Math Games

There is no denying the "Back to School" phenomenon. Can't you just feel all of those possibilities and opportunities that present themselves along with a new school year? Perhaps you aren't even a student anymore, but that fresh new start likely calls out to you just the same.

Thank goodness for Volunteer San Diego's Hands On San Diego service event. Your potential as an active and positive member of our community is made so much easier with the slew of excellent volunteer projects at your fingertips. Check out the project list and find gems like the Horton Elementary School Math Games project, where volunteers will assist students and parents engage in fun educational activities.

To get involved, sign up on Volunteer San Diego's website at, or by phone at 858-636-4131.

Anna Schulz is a member of the Flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Hands On San Diego: Camp HOPE Project

Volunteer San Diego's annual service event, Hands On San Diego, is going on all week. Hundreds of volunteers have already demonstrated their commitment to our community by rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.

There are hundreds of volunteer opportunities still available, including the Camp HOPE playground building project taking place later this week. This new playground at Camp HOPE is the culmination of planning from California's First Lady, Maria Shriver, and the state agency that she represents, CaliforniaVolunteers, the playground wizards of KaBOOM!, and Volunteer San Diego, and a corporate sponsorship from Vons. All of these partners are working together to build a much needed playground for the young participants of Camp HOPE. Camp HOPE provides therapeutic and recreation services to young people who've survived family violence.

To get involved, sign up on Volunteer San Diego's website at, or by phone at 858-636-4131.

Anna Schulz is a member of the Flex program and a volunteer blogger for Volunteer San Diego. She also writes for her family blog, The Full Catastrophe.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Wherever I'm Needed Most

This weekend was the kick off to Hands On San Diego and a great reminder of why I love working at Volunteer San Diego. At one of our first Hands On projects, a renovation of Adams Avenue Recreation Center, I was greeted by an enthusiastic bunch of volunteers. Some showed up because it was in their neighborhood and they wanted to help it look great; others participated because their law firm, McKenna, Long and Aldridge, had adopted the project as part of their commitment to community; still others enjoyed spending quality time together as family, joking and laughing as they gave benches a face lift with new paint. I was impressed by how many people said “just assign me to wherever I’m needed most.”

The weekend also showed me how diverse the experience of service can be. One of our volunteers, Sharky, shared an amusing story of volunteering with her daughter at Crafts for a Cause two years ago. While decorating cards for veterans, she jokingly donned a star sticker on her nose. Her daughter, unable to have piercings at work, suggested that mom get her nose pierced. Sporting a nose ring and energy drink on Saturday morning, Sharky, a very young 62 years old, relayed this experience and other examples of how she gives back to community through Volunteer San Diego and other organizations that need her.

On Sunday evening, a friend and colleague approached me to tell me how much volunteering impacted her roommate. Enduring a dark time in his life, he began to volunteer through Volunteer San Diego and has become active with a number of causes. As he brightened others’ lives in service, he found his own life brightened too.

I’m constantly humbled by the power of volunteering and what is possible – personally, professionally, and as community – when we join our talents with others. See you at Hands On San Diego!

Sue Carter, Executive Director
Volunteer San Diego

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Get to Know Our New Staff and AmeriCorps Members

Volunteer San Diego Welcomes Our New Staff and AmeriCorps Members

Seth Connolly, Fire Recovery Coordinator
I joined VSD because, as an urban planner, I am interested in helping people to build sustainable and resilient communities. Wildfires are certain to remain a way of life in the San Diego region, and volunteerism can be an important means with which to help residents deal with their impacts -- while also creating stronger community bonds.
My previous position was with the County of San Diego, reviewing plans for the Department of Planning and Land Use. In this position, I was able to see many of the challenges facing survivors of the 2007 wildfires firsthand, and hope that this will serve me well in helping them to understand the processes of recovery and prevention. Prior to coming to San Diego last year, I have also lived in Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver, BC and Orange County.
I currently live in Ocean beach with my wife and young son, where I serve on the local planning board and occasionally get to play in the sand.

Adrianne Burleigh, Citizen Action AmeriCorps - Volunteer Outreach Coordinator
I joined VSD to meet people and learn about non-profits.
Before joining Volunteer San Diego, I was working at a bank.
Something about me is I like cats.

Brandi Love, Citizen Action AmeriCorps - Youth Leadership Coordinator
I joined Volunteer San Diego because when I came for my interview I had a good feeling about the people and the work they were doing for the community. I was thrilled when I got the position!
Before VSD, I recently graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a degree in Child and Family Studies and a minor in psychology.
I am really enjoying the beaches here in San Diego!!

Leia Courchaine, AmeriCorps Vista - Project Coordinator
In March 2008, I moved back to San Diego after living out of the state for 5 ½ years. I was attending the University of Texas at San Antonio where I was studying Finance. At UTSA, I was an active brother of the Co-ed Professional Business Fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi and was also taking Polynesian dancing and performing at many events in San Antonio. My return to home (San Diego) was caused by a family emergency that had me move back as soon as I could. Aside from that, I still continued to be active in the community. Since March and as of now I serve as an Officer as Membership Chair for the National Association of Asian American Professionals-San Diego (Formerly San Diego Asian Professionals) and still take Polynesian dancing here in San Diego. I have a 5 year old daughter who just started kindergarten at Olympic View Elementary in Chula Vista.

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