At a recent special gathering of the Helping Hands Board of Directors two special people were invited to attend. This is the meeting in which the Board of Directors announces and honors the Volunteer of the Year shared by two individuals this year. The two people were selected because together their efforts have had a significant impact on our organization. Vicki Rakowski our volunteer Volunteer Coordinator and Katie Donovan our Marketing and Fund Development Consultant.
Executive Director John Stauffer presented his comments and acknowledgement on behalf of the staff and Board of Directors:
There is not a single word that describes Vicki Rakowski. She is a very complex individual who lives life to the fullest. Vicki is a retired nurse, but this does not stop her from lending a hand wherever she can. She is energetic, knowledgeable, driven, compassionate, motivating, a great friend, a motivator, and an all-around class act. Vicki is known to bring a high level of energy to anything she takes on. When there is a need, Vicki is there to tackle the problem. Helping Hands has been fortunate to have Vicki help create a volunteer handbook/manual, as well as forms required to bring volunteers on board. This process has improved the volunteer program by creating efficient processes for finding, recruiting, retaining volunteers, and making them feel like part of our family here at Helping Hands Respite Care. Her presence, opinions, and skills, are greatly valued.
“I am so honored to be recognized like this – truly I am the one that is on the receiving end of this relationship,” shared Rakowski.
Katie has worked with Helping Hands for approximately three years in both consulting and volunteer roles. She has always been committed to the agency and its mission. Katie is responsible for guiding the process for creating the current name and brand identity for Helping Hands Respite Care. In addition to being a wonderful marketing consultant, Katie has implemented our sustainable fund raising model. She has become the voice and creator behind the technology and communication aspects related to our excellent electronic newsletter, website, and Facebook page. Katie also single handedly created Kate’s Memory Café, which takes place on the second Sunday of every month at the Adult Day Services program building. She volunteers to facilitate the monthly event and create the agenda for the Memory Café. Katie recently took on the project of soliciting and coordinating volunteers for our Respite House renovation, donating over 50 hours of time over and above her consulting responsibilities. Katie has generated more funds, members, and support from the community all because of her belief in Helping Hands Respite Care.
“Choosing to create and facilitate the Memory Café has been a very personal labor of love. I do it to honor my mother and my father. Mom was the caregiver for Dad as he fought the losses and diminishing awareness that the cruel disease of Alzheimer’s brought on our family,” commented Donovan.