Member Stories

Networking is a key role of any professional network. SAVMA is no different. Sharing member stories is an important part of networking. Meet your peers. Share your struggles. Introduce yourselves. Do it online, in person, in writing, over the phone, in different ways. Networking with your peers will keep your skills fresh and your connections current.

  • Sandra Wong: Volunteer Recognition

Sandra Wong: Volunteer Recognition

Sandra Wong: Volunteer Recognition Sandra Wong: Volunteer Recognition recipient was born at TMC and grew up in Marana and Tucson. After receiving an engineering degree from the University of Arizona, she moved to California to pursue a career in aerospace. She enjoyed her time working on satellite systems, but eventually she tired of the California life and missed the Sonoran dessert. Upon her return to Tucson, she continued work as an engineer. It was at this time she found her passion for Hospital-based volunteering. After approximately 16 years of hospital volunteering at Banner- University Medical Center and Tucson Medical Center, she’s contributed over 14,000 hours of volunteer time. Most of that time was spent working with Tucson hospital NICUs, helping the staff care for their tiny patients. Community Service Recognition Sandra Wong's volunteerism is a wonderful story of commitment to community. TMC's volunteer engagement professionals submitted Sandra for the Community [...]

  • Heather Volpe Community Service Recognition

Heather Volpe: Community Service Recognition

Heather Volpe: Community Service Recognition Raquel Cooley from Nova Home Loans would like to recognize Heather Volpe with a Community Service Recognition. She is a nurturing mother with a heart committed to service. Heather embarked on her remarkable volunteer journey over 20 years ago. Her altruistic path began at the Tucson Community School, where she actively participated in the parent co-op, fostering an early appreciation for community engagement in her children. Heather's dedication soon enlarged beyond the school gates, leading her to the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Girl Scouts, where her nurturing spirit finds a natural home. She imparts valuable lessons of leadership and community service to the next generation. Heather’s volunteerism is a testament to her diverse and enduring impact. From ladling soup at Casa Maria and the Gospel Rescue Mission, to wielding a hammer with Habitat for Humanity. She embodies the principle that compassion knows no [...]

  • Zainab Rana Community Service Recognition Children's Museum Tucson

Zainab Rana: Community Service Recognition

Zainab Rana: Community Service Recognition Children's Museum Tucson celebrated Discovery Nights volunteer, Zainab Rana: Community Service Recognition recipient at the SAVMA Awards 2024.  Zainab has been volunteering regularly during Discovery Nights programming at the Children's Museum Tucson helping run the program alongside paid staff members. Discovery Night is every Thursday evening and it is free admission during the time the program runs, so they see many visitors. Zainab helps run the activity planned for each Discovery Night by learning how to do it and showing children and their families how to do it too. She has helped with several different activities, including during some very highly attended nights, and she knows the drill at this point. When she arrives for Discovery Night, she jumps right in and at the end of the activity, she helps wrap up and organize things before the event ends. The staff have noticed how Zainab [...]

January 16th, 2024|Tags: |
  • Eric Majchrzak: Community Service Recognition

Eric Majchrzak: Community Service Recognition

Eric Majchrzak: Community Service Recognition Eric Majchrzak is the Community Service Recognition recipient from ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. has willingly given his time, experience and over the past several years. He has helped grow our Center’s Leadership Council and has turned it into a collection of champions.  These champions are fully aligned to advance our mission. As a result of Eric’s leadership, our Center has realized greater levels of achievement and impact than ever in our 25-year history. Eric is a volunteer extraordinaire. He leads our Leadership Council, the constituted board of our Center, with humility. His purpose-driven approach successfully engages others. Nothing speaks to Eric’s abilities as a volunteer leader more than his contributions over the past 18 months, by guiding our Center’s strategic efforts. During that time-frame, Eric led an extensive planning effort to assure our long-term relevancy and sustainability. His keen understanding of [...]

  • Larry Housner: Community Service Recognition

Larry Housner: Community Service Recognition

Larry Housner: Community Service Recognition The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona would like to present Larry Housner the Community Service Recognition. We are proud to express our deepest gratitude to Larry Housner for his outstanding dedication and unwavering commitment to the mission. Since March of 2020, Larry has been an invaluable member of our volunteer team, standing out as a shining example of selflessness and compassion. One remarkable aspect of Larry's service is the amount of time and effort he has dedicated to our cause. Over the course of his volunteer journey, Larry has generously contributed over 1582 hours of his time. This remarkable commitment goes beyond, highlighting his passion for serving our community. Throughout the challenges posed by the pandemic, Larry has consistently demonstrated his loyalty and passion for serving others. His steadfast support in our Emergency Food Distribution efforts has been nothing short of exceptional. Larry goes [...]

January 13th, 2024|Tags: |

Art Hoffman: Community Service Recognition

Art Hoffman: Community Service Recognition Arthur Hoffman is a Community Service Recognition recipient for his loyal volunteer service to Habitat for Humanity Tucson since 2011. Contributing in countless ways, Art not only gives Habitat Tucson his precious time, but the gift of wisdom, skills, and tremendous professional experience. In his time with Habitat Tucson, he leads the IT efforts, participates in construction, lays new flooring, attends and builds at events such as the Veteran Builds, Women’s Builds and more. Moreover, he is counted on for strategic consultation in the areas of technology and project management. Art is an active ambassador and advocate for the work at Habitat Tucson. He traveled internationally with Habitat for Humanity on three, 4-month assignments in France, Australia, Scotland, and Japan. With over 34+ years of experience at IBM leading IT standards worldwide, large contracts and project management, Habitat Tucson is grateful to leverage his many [...]

January 12th, 2024|Tags: |

Fredericka Hills: Community Service Recognition

Fredericka Hills: Community Service Recognition Interfaith Community Services nominated Fredericka Hills for the Community Service Recognition. Her volunteering shows the love to empower and teach others. Since 2015, she has volunteered with Workforce Development, helping job seekers find employment, for instance. Fredericka works with clients to update their résumés by listening and identifying their skills, building up their confidence and teaching them how to get hired and stay hired. About half of all clients who come to ICS looking for employment, find employment. Fredericka’s role is key to that success. Fredericka fondly recalls how she connected a neighbor needing help at her assisted living business to a client with care-giving skills. She recalls listening to one individual having a hard time holding a job, and how she spoke truthfully and kindly as she would to her own son. Additionally, he has since maintained his employment. With an inspired faith at [...]

January 11th, 2024|Tags: |
  • Aimee Graves Community Service Recognition

Aimee Graves: Community Service Recognition

Aimee Graves: Community Service Recognition As the CEO of The Haven, Aimee Graves: Community Service Recognition was a perfect fit.  is a nonprofit professional who selflessly invests in emerging leaders through her volunteer work with Community Foundation for Southern Arizona's Center for Healthy Nonprofits. She imparts lessons learned, and offers expert guidance. Her legacy of generosity inspires a mentorship pathway for nonprofit leaders today and into the future.    

Community Service Recognition: James Geringer

Community Service Recognition: James Geringer Easterseals Blake Foundation honored event volunteer with a Community Service Recognition. James Geringer is flexible and versatile, two skills that serve the organization well in his role as a special event volunteer. Additionally, the the events team describe him as passionate, reliable, cooperative, patient, creative, energetic, positive, willing to help, compassionate and organized. Without ever being asked, and with a smile on his face, James signs up for the holiday food box project. His willingness to fill in last minute or serve as a floater has made him an essential part of the team. From making the 100 mile trip for "Blues in Bisbee" to help out with a few small tasks, to popping into Mr. An’s before his day job for event set up. He has an ever courteous attitude to guests, volunteers, and clients alike leaving all with a positive and lasting impression [...]

  • Community Service Recognition: Linda Down Reid Park Zoo Docent

Community Service Recognition: Linda Down

Community Service Recognition: Linda Down Reid Park Zoo honors retired educator and volunteer Docent, with Community Service Recognition: to Linda Down! As a volunteer Docent, Linda engages Reid Park Zoo guests by utilizing interpretive artifact stations and handling small animals, educating about species natural history, individual history, and conveying conservation messaging and actions; she is instrumental in furthering the Zoo’s mission “to create inspiring memories for all by connecting people and animals to ensure the protection of wild animals and wild places.” Linda is also a Docent Mentor, training new Docents on a number of artifact stations, running the giraffe encounter, species and habitat conservation concerns, and in interpretive techniques. In addition to her daily volunteer duties, Linda routinely assists with special evening events educating guests and assisting staff with a number of tasks. Linda is proactive, and where she sees a need, she will take steps to become qualified [...]

January 7th, 2024|Tags: |
  • Gabriela Cervantes Community Service Recognition

Gabriela Cervantes: Community Service Recognition

Gabriela Cervantes: Community Service Recognition Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona submitted Gabriela Cervantes for Community Service Recognition in 2024. She is a Marketing Specialist for Snell & Wilmer, and the founder of Gabriela with one L Consulting. Additionally she facilitates University of Arizona courses, is an Independent Fora Travel Advisor, serves on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona Board of Directors and is a "Big Sister." Gabriela, while originally from Nogales, has been a Tucson mover and shaker for over 25 years. She has served on many nonprofit boards, fundraising committees, and leadership councils over the years. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona is privileged to have had her time, talent, and treasure for the past six years. Gabriela was matched to her Little Sister in 2013, when her Little was just six years old. In 2018, she joined the Board of Directors and has [...]

January 6th, 2024|Tags: |
  • Community Service Recognition: Alexis Carreon

Community Service Recognition: Alexis Carreon

Community Service Recognition: Alexis Carreon Children's Clinics honors Weekly In-Clinic & Adaptive Recreation Volunteer with a Community Service Recognition: Alexis Carreon! Alexis is a full-time honors college student at the University of Arizona. She fills her time with volunteering, athletics, and creative activities. Alexis is majoring in physiology and medical sciences and has her eye on being a physical therapist. After seeing a posting in a newsletter on campus, she joined Children’s Clinics as an adaptive recreation volunteer for their soccer season. Alexis immediately connected with the kids in adaptive recreation and stayed on for tennis, dance, theatre, cheer, and rock orchestra. In addition to Adaptive Recreation, Alexis volunteers weekly at Children’s Clinics playing many roles including supporting the rehab and physical therapy teams, photographing special events, designing flyers and other promotional materials, and creating video content for the childhood experiences program. She is a motivated, kind, and generous individual. [...]

January 5th, 2024|Tags: , |
  • Introducing AmeriCorps Member Lillian hiking in the Gila Wilderness, AZ

Introducing AmeriCorps Member Lillian

Introducing AmeriCorps Member Lillian Through a partnership with Arizona Serve, SAVMA leadership is introducing AmeriCorps member Lillian Ledner to our members. Lillian was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, where she attended Mountain View High School, and graduated in 2008. She attends Pima Community College, and proudly is an 8- year Crew Member at Trader Joes. Markedly, inspired by a volunteer experience through the Jett Foundation at Camp Promise, Lillian committed to pursuing a career in Occupational Therapy. In her free time, she teaches West Coast Swing dancing. Her adventurous love of the outdoors includes activities like hiking, camping, fishing, jumping out of planes, and trying any new activity or opportunity. She enjoys meeting new people and helping others find their passions, consequently making her well suited for volunteer engagement work (noted Gina Hansen in the interview). Arizona Serve, a program of Prescott College, places AmeriCorps members with local organizations to [...]

December 26th, 2023|
  • Presenting the Public Allies Arizona 2024

Presenting the Public Allies Arizona 2024

Presenting Public Allies Arizona 2024 SAVMA Leadership takes pleasure in presenting the Public Allies Arizona 2023-2024 class to the volunteer engagement professionals of Southern Arizona. The AmeriCorps program is operated by the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, unquestionably, a valued civic partner of volunteer managers. Therefore, Public Allies Arizona is a perfect addition to the service programs SAVMA is proud to promote. Building a Brighter Future: Public Allies Arizona Kickstarts Their 2023-2024 Program Year Authored by: Lou Haiduk (she, her) A new cohort of Public Allies has embarked on a transformative journey. Public Allies Arizona, a program of the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, is part of the national movement committed to advancing social justice and equity by engaging and activating the leadership capacities of all people. This group of emerging leaders in Greater Tucson and Phoenix communities is dedicating the next 10 months of [...]

November 17th, 2023|
  • 2024 Proposed SAVMA Leadership

2024 Proposed SAVMA Leadership

2024 Proposed SAVMA Leadership The SAVMA Board of Directors would like to present the 2024 proposed SAVMA Leadership. To identify barriers to leadership, the Willing and Able Leadership Survey opened September 1st, posing four questions about willingness and ability to serve. The results of that data will be presented in 2024 blog posts. Those identified as willing and able to serve (and qualified) are hereby presented as your leadership team for 2024. As there are open positions there will still be a call for nominations from the floor on December 7th at the annual meeting. If you have not registered, please do so here as the hosts are providing food and beverages. Board of Directors Officers (terms end 12/2024) Jennifer Lohse (President) Jennifer has served in the nonprofit sector for more than 25 years in a variety of leadership positions. She holds a Certified Nonprofit Professional credential from the Nonprofit [...]

November 1st, 2023|

Ask a Volunteer Manager: Alexander Swain

Q&A with Alexander Alexander Swain is the Volunteer Services Coordinator at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Originally from a town near Ann Arbor, Michigan, Alexander studied Biology at Hope College in Holland, MI. After graduating, he attended the University of PIttsburgh to get a Masters degree in Neuroscience. Alexander has also recently been elected to the SAVMA Board of Directors for 2021. Alexander Swain Volunteer Services Coordinator at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona   Ask a Volunteer Manager Series To be featured in this series, email with your request. We would love to hear from you! What is one technique or strategy that you use to recruit volunteers? Being very responsive over email to inquiring folks has been really helpful, and communicating how grateful for people’s desire to offer their time, labor, and skills is key, I think, to [...]

February 6th, 2021|

Ask Volunteer Manager: Genie Patterson

Get to Know Genie Patterson   Genie Patterson, Volunteer Manager works at Heartland Hospice. Born in Tucson, Arizona, she graduated from the University of Arizona with BA in Anthropology and Museum Studies while working in the family business. Her family was in the restaurant business for 62 years in Tucson.     SAVMA'S Ask a Volunteer Manager Series To be featured in this series, email with your request. We would love to hear from you! Genie Patterson How did you get started in this field? I began working with volunteers and committees with my mother many years ago. She recruited me to help her with the Arizona Opera Company, Tucson Symphony, and the Tucson Arts Council. I learned by observing her, thus learning about recruiting, matching people, retention, recognition, and how to ask for money! That became a passion and [...]

January 4th, 2021|
  • SAVMA Member has a question about Volunteer Background Checks

Volunteer Background Check? A Question from the field

Volunteer background checks Question from the field: a company referral SAVMA Member TIHAN, would like to know, "what volunteer background check company does your organization use and would you recommend them?" SAVMA members may respond in the comments below. Do you have a question from the field? SAVMA members are encouraged to send their questions forward for member feedback and brainstorming. Even if you do not receive an answer publicly on the forum, you will receive feedback from members in your email. Do not be shy. Volunteer background check vendor referrals As professionals in the industry, we are regularly solicited by vendors seeking our business. It is important to do your research as the organization hiring a vendor. SAVMA does not endorse any vendor, but we do find the information provided by this particular vendor around compliance to be a very helpful on demand webinar. 

October 7th, 2020|