VolunteerMark

ROOM AT THE INN — SERVICE SPOTLIGHT WITH MOTHER’S REFUGE

Written by VolunteerMark contributor Anna Spady of anna.spadydesign.com

“She softly said, ‘I now have no home again.’ Those six little words, ‘I now have no home again,’ will forever echo in my mind.”

Those are the words of Mother’s Refuge executive director Robert Zornes, describing his memory of the fire that destroyed their community home the night of Oct. 8, 2012.

Mother’s Refuge is a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving young, single pregnant women a loving and supportive home. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Mandy Taylor, the nonprofit’s volunteer coordinator, and what struck me most about her description of their organization is how everyone becomes “family.”

“Sometimes people act as if we enable bad girls,” Taylor said. “But really, these girls have had real issues. They’re at-risk, even been homeless. Many have never really even been parented. They just want someone to listen, love them and be there for them. It’s something most of them have never had.”

The organization is dedicated to unconditionally loving and supporting new mothers, while simultaneously preparing them for life on their own. Their cozy home is filled with up to nine young women and five babies at any given time and is intentionally longer-term than other similar programs — up to almost two years. That duration uniquely enables the staff to tailor their support to the individual needs of each woman and child.

Core values of the program include:

  • Stability The linchpin of the nonprofit is a solid home base. According to Taylor, it’s oftentimes the “first real home the women have ever had.”
  • Education The program requires the women to further their education, pursuing either a GED, high school diplomaor college degree.
  • Life Skills Money management, cooking and managing a home are just a few of the lessons taught.
  • Resources When desired the staff helps facilitate adoptions, provide nursery equipment and baby clothes as well as host an after-care program for their graduates.

In their pasts, these women often faced homelessness. Like Zornes relayed, last year’s house fire forced them to face it again. Not all girls have been rejected by their families, but most have been living friend to friend or in at-risk environments all their lives.

That’s why so many have been laboring to restore the Mother’s Refuge house. Taylor reported that since the fire, there have been volunteers on site working every day towards rebuilding the structure. And they still need help.

The organization’s greatest current needs are help with manning its upcoming garage sale and transforming its once-ravished home into a more cozier one. They specifically need people willing to volunteer with construction, plumbing, sheetrock and cleanup. The goal is to move the families back in by midsummer of this year and be settled in by August. Follow them on Facebook for complete updates on the rebuild.

Lastly, Taylor makes a point of telling volunteers that if they don’t see an opportunity that appeals to them, just let her know what does. She has volunteers doing everything from gardening to training mentors to helping moms get set up for apartment life.

“Everyone has something to offer,” Taylor said.

What is your something?

For a list of current volunteer opportunities with Mother’s Refuge, visit the nonprofit’s VolunteerMark page and sign-up today.

WHY WE CARE SERIES SAYS A LOT

“It has taught me that love in action is the most important thing of all, whether you are helping those right next door, or in a remote village in a third-world country.”

That quote comes from Sean O’Malley, an intern over at our sister organization VolunteerMark. They are running a series to celebrate National Volunteer Week called “Why We Care”, a miniseries explaining how their employees got into volunteering.

O’Malley had a great post today that we wanted to share. To see the rest, check out their blog. Also, we love the idea and want to copy it. E-mail your short stories of why you volunteer to thecallkc@gmail.com and we will publish them later this month.

National Volunteer Week: Why We Care

To those in the VolunteerMark network, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Sean O’Malley and though I am new at VolunteerMark, I am not new to the world of volunteering.

I grew up in North Platte, a small railroad town in western Nebraska. The eldest of three kids, I was taught to be a loving example to my younger siblings and put others before myself.

Growing up, we often are molded by the culmination of those small moments, which make us into the people we are today. I am no exception. As I grew up, my parents preached not by words, but by example. They allowed me to complain, grumble and make mistakes, as long as the work got done. Eventually actions became thoughts and over time, my thoughts became me.

There was no single moment that defines why I give back, but my move to Kansas City to attend Rockhurst University played an enormous role in my faith and service development. Rockhurst gave me a platform to exercise my passion for volunteerism.

The school has offered me chances to help those less fortunate both in Kansas City and around the world. It has taught me that love in action is the most important thing of all, whether you are helping those right next door, or in a remote village in a third-world country.

If I could narrow down why I give back into one word, it would be love. My parents’ wisdom showed me how to love with action and purpose. Rockhurst then gave me the opportunity to love all those around me with both understanding and perspective.

The culmination of these factors thus has shaped me into the man I am today, and I feel as if I am just getting started.

COOKING AT THE KANSAS CITY COMMUNITY KITCHEN

One of the great advantages of our partnership with VolunteerMark is that the company offers us a unique link to charities all over the Kansas City area. From that pool, I would like to introduceEpiscopal Community Services.

A few fast facts for you. ECS is a cooperate network of anti-hunger ministries that serves more than one million meals yearly to the homeless and working poor in our community. Through several of its programs such as the Kansas City Community Kitchen, Meals on Wheels, the Episcopal Hunger Relief Network and Breakfast at St. Paul’s, the ECS is helping eliminate hunger for thousands of Kansas City families.

“…from which they serve anywhere from 400 to 600 meals daily, they also have a gob of volunteer opportunities.”

I bring all this up because recently I was able to visit the wonderful folks at the Kansas City Community Kitchen. Not only do they have a fine operation, from which they serve anywhere from 400 to 600 meals daily, they also have a gob of volunteer opportunities.

From food prep in the morning and evening to serving meals at lunch, the Kansas City Community Kitchen needs help throughout the week. They even have weekend projects for groups of all sizes.

We are looking to get a batch of volunteers into the kitchen as soon as possible. Please contact us if you are interested.

MLK DAY 2014: PHOTO GALLERY

There was just five of us, but that didn’t matter. The beauty of community service is that every little bit helps. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2014 was no different.

Over a hour’s time on Jan. 20, three of our Park Hill South high school volunteers and two others were able to collect eight bags of trash at Ermine Case Jr. Park in downtown Kansas City. As Dr. King once said, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”


MLK DAY SERVICE PROJECT

Character unmatched. Integrity unequaled. A legacy untouched. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest Americans in our nation’s history and it’s because he stood up for what he believed in — equality for everyone.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal,’” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Every year we celebrate the honor of Dr. King with a national holiday and a day of service. To commemorate that tradition, The Call KC has teamed up with VolunteerMarkto complete a community service project on Monday, Jan. 20.

The two organizations will be cleaning up road debris at Ermine Case Jr. Park, Mulkey Square Park and Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park from 11 a.m. to noon. The outing is open to the public and supplies will be provided, except for work gloves. To sign-up, follow this link and apply for the volunteer shift.

“It’s important to me that we continually strive to improve our community and what better way to do that than to honor a man who embodied the word community,” VolunteerMark president Andrew Stanley said.

In conjunction with the service project, VolunteerMark will also be offering a $49 monthly subscription rate for any organization that signs up throughout the month of January. As always, volunteer subscriptions are free of charge.

“You grow up learning how great a man Dr. King was, but you can’t truly appreciate how he genuinely cared about other people over himself until you experience it yourself,” Call KC founder Brent Lager said. “Even the simplest act of picking up trash in a local park can foster that feeling and then hopefully it grows from there.”

For more information about the MLK Day service project, contact thecallkc@gmail.com or 877-203-5848.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR GILLIS

With Christmas just two weeks away, The Call KC and VolunteerMark are teaming up to provide any last-minute shoppers the opportunity to give back to the Kansas City community this holiday season.

Over the next 12 days, the two organizations will be collecting gift donations for the kids ofGillis to give to their families and loved ones. As one of the longest-standing nonprofits in Kansas City, Gillis helps at-risk children and families reach their potential through counseling, education and social services.

The “Christmas Gifts for Gillis” donations can range from bath and body products to small household appliances to watches and other apparel accessories. Also, the organizations ask that all items be newly purchased and not gift-wrapped.

Items can be donated in various ways: dropped off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the VolunteerMark’s offices located inside the Archer Foundation, 5250 W. 116th Place, Suite 200, Leawood, KS 66211; or contact info@volunteermark.com and a VolunteerMark representative will set up a time to come collect the donations.

Final donations will need to be made by Friday, Dec. 20.

After delivering the gifts to Gillis, the kids will then select one or two items to gift-wrap and present to their loved ones on Christmas morning.

For more information about “Christmas Gifts For Gillis,” contact TheCallKC@gmail.com or 816-721-5529.

VOLUNTEERING MADE EASY

What has been in the works for a while officially came to fruition in early December 2013.

We here at The Call KC are proud to announce that the organization has entered into an exclusive partnership with VolunteerMark, a software company that is working towards maximizing the overall experience for both nonprofits and volunteers alike.

Through innovative and interactive technology, VolunteerMark is seeking to streamline the management of community organizations, thus making it easier for people like you and me to get involved.

In essence, VolunteerMark is ushering volunteerism into the 21st century.

Once we heard of the product and surveyed it firsthand — via desktop, cell phone and tablet — the connection became obvious. The implications of this management system would and will greatly enhance the impact we have on the needy of Kansas City, which is the whole point of this organization’s existence.

Therefore, thanks to the open minds and hearts of VolunteerMark’s founders Andrew Stanley and Venkat Dulipalli, we are happy to announce this newest partnership.

To start maximizing your volunteer experience today, sign up for an event right now or contact us for more info.