Southern Arizona’s top volunteers to be honored at awards breakfast
“The latest statistics from 2018 show that the estimated value of each volunteer hour was $25.43. Volunteers are really an incredible asset to our community,” Dennes said.
The volunteer association also works to promote awareness about the availability of diverse opportunities and the ability to customize roles to fit the needs of individual volunteers, from those who want to donate a few hours on a one-time basis to those looking for regular weekly or monthly commitments.
“There is a way for anyone and everyone to give back … so many nonprofits have great missions but not always the number of people on staff they need to get the work done,” she said. “SAVMA provides a direct connection to different resources and information to help get needs filled in the community.”
He initially learned about CASA while volunteering at a children’s shelter.
“As a volunteer, there was no way to know what happened to the kids after they left the shelter. … I never knew if they had a happy ending or not, and that led me to the CASA program,” he said.
CASA Support Council of Pima County trains volunteers to act as advocates for children who have been removed from their homes and placed in foster care or kinship placement by the Department of Child Safety due to family crises such as domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness, abuse and neglect.
The opportunity was tailor-made for Johnson, who spent the first 11 years of his life in the foster-care system in Boston.
“I went through 14 different foster homes in 11 years. This is my way to pay it forward,” he said.
“At that time, CASA was not around and I think it would have been really helpful to have someone as an advocate. I think it is a great idea to have someone who isn’t in the system to help if the kids need to talk to someone or if they have needs that they can’t really express.”
Johnson said volunteering as an advocate generally requires a time commitment of five to 20 hours monthly, and that he has a tendency to get very involved.
He said the time and emotion he invests is more than worth it and encourages anyone who might have a possible interest to investigate CASA Support Council.
Contact freelance writer Loni Nannini at [email protected]ast.net
If you go
Southern Arizona Volunteer Management Association Awards and Workshop
When: 8 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 16.
Where: Tucson Convention Center ballroom, 260 S. Church Ave.
Cost: $45 per person; $40 per person for SAVMA members.
Festivities include an awards breakfast honoring 2020 volunteer winners. Keynote speaker at the event will be Dana Litwin, president of Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement. After the breakfast, Litwin will lead a professional development workshop for volunteer managers and others who work directly with volunteers. Registration for the workshop, “Hold ‘Em or Fold ‘Em: How to Inspire, Fire or Move Challenging Volunteers,” is $25 per person.
For tickets to the awards breakfast, registration for the workshop or for more information, visit SAVMA.org