All employees completing their EVP day of service will be entered into a monthly drawing for a $20 gift card to a local restaurant. The names will be taken directly from Employee Volunteer Approval Forms received in the Volunteer Services Office.  The drawing will be held on the first of the month from the previous month’s submitted forms. (All forms must be received into the Volunteer Services Office by the first working day of the month in order to be included in the drawing.)

Previous Winners...

Marva Robinson, from University Campaigns, volunteered at the Wildlife Rescue Center. She shared this about her experience, “We prepared raccoon cages, removed honeysuckle from the perimeter of the outdoor cages, and helped with the general cleaning of the indoor facility. It was such an amazing experience to help care for the animal patients. Being able to help in any way possible felt very rewarding. It was also interesting to see the animal patients that were there recovering from injuries. One patient was a squirrel named George that was found abandoned and rescued as a baby. There was also a turtle that had been hit by a car and a one eyed rabbit that had been shot. Many of the animal patients that were in the process of recovering will soon be released to go back into the wild. Seeing the work of Wildlife Rescue Center really helped me understand the need to help care for our wild animal population. I would definitely volunteer again!”

Charles Ellis from the Office of Research Administration spent the day during his holiday break volunteering with Lutheran Senior Services. “My Employee Volunteer Program experience at Lutheran Senior Services was very exciting.  Not only was I able to assist with putting together marketing and HR materials, but I also got to tour one of their facilities, part of which occupies the former Affton High School. Lutheran Senior Services is truly making a difference in the community and I was proud to help.”

Maggie Meyers from University Advancement volunteered with Habitat for Humanity  on November 9. “I had a wonderful time volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.  It’s a good feeling to participate in building a home for a family that needs it.  I’m humbled by the experience and proud to work for an institution that encourages its faculty and staff to engage in activities that make the St. Louis community a better place!  It was a fun team building idea for Advancement along with representatives of other UMSL departments to do together, plus I got to use a nail gun for the first time ever!” 

Samantha Matchefts, from Student Financial Aid, volunteered at the World Bird Sanctuary on October 22. "I volunteer as a member of the Field Studies team at the World Bird Sanctuary.  A large part of their mission is education.  On the day in October I volunteered, we held an education program for 30 middle school children.    We talked about birds and nature and then demonstrated our bird banding activities in which we catch, evaluate, and release songbirds.   We send the information we gather about these birds to the National Bird Banding Laboratory at USGS, where it is added to data collected around the country.  This information gives researchers and conservationists a clearer picture of the health of our bird populations.  We hold education programs throughout the year with kids on a variety of topics and bird banding is one of those."

Kathy Kirkpatrick, from the Biology Department, volunteered at the Animal Protective Association of Missouri on September 28.  She shared this about her day:  “It was fun!  Got to play with a couple of dogs and a cat when I needed to give my arms a break!  They are getting ready for their Canine Carnival so I folded t-shirts and filled registration bags with dog/cat food.  Met some nice people and they were very appreciative.  Small place and lots of barking but I loved it.  I DID manage to leave without bringing an animal home!“ 

Thomas O’Connell, an employee from Continuing Education, volunteered with the International Institute of St Louis  on August 24. He spent his day assisting with the set-up for the Festival of Nations Event in Tower Grove Park. Thomas shared, “I was put to work almost immediately upon arriving.  There were tons of volunteers from around the community who had been volunteering all day, it appeared that I provided relief to people who needed a break.  I did a lot of heavy lifting, helping booths get set-up.  The organization asked on the volunteer form for certain specialties, but it seemed like mostly general labor was needed.  It was a fun experience, I got to meet some interesting people and learn a lot about Tower Grove Park by spending the afternoon shuffling around the entire park.” 

Cynthia Fleisher, from Missouri Institute of Mental Health, spent July 30 volunteering with Lutheran Senior Services.  Her assistance was much appreciated  and she received the following kind words from the organization: “Thank you again for supporting Alan’s move to his new home with Lutheran Senior Services at Mackenzie Place.  I am still amazed that we were able to unpack his boxes so quickly – you were awesome at it!  In addition to physically helping him with the move, I am certain the conversation and interaction was a real emotional boost for him.”

Tara VanDeVoorde, from Human Resources, spent her day volunteering with the St. Louis Crisis Nursery on June 20.  Tara shared her experience, “Volunteering at the Crisis Nursery was a completely humbling experience and one that I will cherish for many years to come. As a volunteer I was involved in many activities with the children from coloring to nap time. What a great way to spend a day! No matter what your passion is, there are opportunities for you to share it with those in need through volunteering.”

Jeff Lovell from ITS spent his day volunteering with the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis  on May 17.  Shakespeare Festival St Louis is an organization that puts together a free, professional production of one of William Shakespeare’s plays in Forest Park every summer. Jeff was introduced to the Shakespeare Festival last year when he volunteered with a home school group for one of the preview nights. He had such a good time, he kept going back and is now one of their core volunteers helping out as often as he can fit it into his schedule.   

Congratulations to Rachel Christiansen, from Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH), who was our winner from March.  This is what Rachel had to say about  her EVP experience, “During my day volunteering at Safe Connections, I had the chance to help out with a self-care day for teens. Other volunteers did yoga, facials, massages, manicures and haircuts, and staff provided programming that encouraged the young women to love and care for themselves. It was awesome to get the chance to interact with the teens and play a small role in helping the day to run smoothly by helping with lunch and making gratitude cards with them. I definitely felt refreshed and recharged myself. “

The winner for February 2012 is Cassidy Cooley from the Optometry Clinic. She “made a difference” with the American Heart Association. Cassidy shared, “I think one of the greatest benefits of the event was the opportunity to get informative literature to the students, and to also make them aware of how important heart health is, even at their age. It truly was a great opportunity, and one that I look forward to participating in again in the future!”

Congratulations to Pat Hinton from the Biology Department on being the first winner of the “Make a Difference” drawing. She was chosen from employees volunteering from May 2011-January 2012.  She volunteered her day with Girls, Inc., providing invaluable assistance in completing a special organizational project.