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Volunteer6345

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Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
July 10, 2012

Volunteered here one day to help sort food. Spent the day preparing corn and bagging carrots. It was a fairly big warehouse and I'm certain they do good for people. My activity wasn't particularly exciting though; so I would probably spend my volunteer time somewhere else. I think the setup for that activity might have been able to be improved (more scissors, trash cans, and the sort) given the number of volunteers.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unlikely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A little

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Unsure

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter
July 10, 2012

I've volunteered here for several years as a client caseworker. This local Red Cross chapter does an excellent job and has some of the best volunteers in the country. I've supported local families recovering from fires and this organization really helps when a disaster unexpectedly strikes. All of my clients have been very thankful despite the shock they are in when they lose everything. It can be very jarring, but the Red Cross is there to help and provides monetary assistance, referrals, counseling, and medical attention through it's volunteer nurses. The organization also provides local disaster preparedness training and we are lucky that they will be there when an earthquake or something worse happens. The office also has a blood donation center. I've always been pleased with this chapter and would recommend both volunteering or making a cash donation.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

American National Red Cross
July 10, 2012

I have supported three national disaster responses, (Hurricanes in Florida, as well as Hurricane Katrina, and Alabama Tornadoes.) The Red Cross does make a profound difference for people that I've witnessed directly and even when the Red Cross doesn't have services to help, people all over have been very grateful just for their presence. Providing aid in these situations is extremely challenging on many levels, and there are few organizations that are capable of helping the way the Red Cross is. As a volunteer, you work nearly every day a week on up to 12 hour days and while the days are long they can be very rewarding. In spite of some amazing results, I do have some conflicts with the way they staff their operations and have had more than a few poor managers who are lacking the appropriate skills for their roles. This can lead to significant waste of donor funds and is really ineffective. Red Cross is good, but they could do just so much more with the right people. If you make a donation to the Red Cross, I would recommend you do so to your local chapter as in my experience the local chapters are far more efficient with their donor dollars. This is also a good organization to volunteer in particularly for recent college graduates as it can give you a new perspective on life, meet some great friends, and do a little travel. As to several of the poor ratings on this site from clients, a lot of these seem to be asking for services that the Red Cross does not perform. (I.E. Clothing donations are provided through Salvation Army among others in a disaster, Red Cross does not provide this service and if they accept any of these donations, it requires someone from the Red Cross to deliver to other agencies taking time away from their mission of immediate disaster relief services such as food, shelter, and medical needs a simple task but one that quickly grows out of hand in larger emergencies)

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Decentralize the organization giving more power to the local chapters, invest in some improved scheduling/staffing systems, review training methods and the time it takes to train vs effectiveness of on the job training, act immediately

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unsure

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Somewhat badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

There's not a simple change, but a greater focus on the donor dollar and be efficient with it, would make everyone feel better about their experience. Within the same context, the organization needs to improve its staffing strategies.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Life-changing, made me a better person, made long term friends, provided career opportunities

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

Sacred Heart Community Service
July 10, 2012

I volunteered with Sacred Heart for their La Mesa Verde project. La Mesa Verde builds urban vegetable gardens for families that were already receiving Sacred Hearts food donation services. This allows families to have easy access to fresh nutritious food and reduce their dependance and some of the expense of donating foods. After about an hour of training, I went with one other volunteer to a family's house, and the two of us along with the husband and wife of the house together built two gardens on their property including a drip irrigation system. They were pretty impressive gardens and I would've love to have had one myself. The family was very appreciative and it was a wonderful experience.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

OUR CITY FOREST
July 9, 2012

Planting trees is fun! Actually, it's kind of a lot of work, but interesting work. I volunteered at one of their tree planting days in a neighborhood in South San Jose. They did a very good job of explaining what was needed and having enough senior volunteers to lead everyone else. Where many organizations just say go make things better, this one showed you how and was very well planned. Donuts!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I really enjoy going by the trees we planted and seeing the neighborhood. It's a nice sense of accomplishment to see them grow and the area looks much better already.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I have new superior tree planting skills.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Worn out, but accomplished.

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

UPWARDLY GLOBAL
July 9, 2012

Upwardly Global truly impressed me with their services, cause, and effectiveness. Most people probably know someone (if not in their own family) who has come to this country to make a better life of it, but never consider just how hard this is. I volunteered at one of their networking and interview training sessions interviewing a pair of clients and networking with many more. There were probably about 40 professionals (not including local employee volunteers from Cisco, Apple, Google, banks, etc) that Upwardly Global was helping that day and everyone I met was skilled and experienced in their professions. It's absolutely incredible what these people are doing and have overcome just to get here and then they are faced with having no professional network in the United States, and almost no experience in getting a job the way Americans do in spite of their abilities to actually excel at those jobs. Upwardly Global provides more than just hope for these people, they gain actual skills that can put them in a position to make money, support their families, and contribute fully to society. Upwardly Global seems to set their bar pretty high for those they support (permanent work authorization, Bachelor's degree minimum, English speaking, from a developing country or refuge status, multiple years of work experience), which is actually something I appreciate, because you know your time and any donations are being used by people who need it, are capable of doing something with it, and won't become dependent on assistance down the road. As a volunteer, this event was very beneficial to me as well. It gave me more confidence in speaking/approaching people related to networking and was a fantastic refresher on common interview questions and evaluating what sounds good and what I should focus on in an interview having been on the other-side of the table. When I got home I immediately told former employers / colleagues about what this organization was doing and that their amazing untapped talent pool. Check out their website for more information, and consider a worthy donation. I highly recommend volunteering with this organization.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

It added another level of respect for my grandparents who immigrated here as refuges themselves. I also improved my own interviewing and networking skills and got valuable feedback.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Amazing! Exhilarated.

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & Interviewed and networked with recent immigrants; practiced job building skills.