Volunteers Make a Difference at PPL
Our thanks to the over 2,300 volunteers who contributed over 61,000 hours of service at PPL last year. Here are some of their stories:
Jake makes everyone feel included at Homework ‘n’ Hoops, a PPL afterschool program for 2nd-6th graders. Over the four years he’s been volunteering with the program, Jake’s warm welcome has helped kids and volunteers alike feel as if they are part of something. He draws kids out of their shells or connects or inspires them. He make friends with volunteers. He inspires people to come back, and when they do, they get the sense that they belong. As much as Jake’s done to build a strong feeling of community at Homework ‘n’ Hoops, he still seeks out ways he can improve and become a better mentor. Jake’s all in!
Karen joined the PPL volunteer force nearly seven years ago. Considering her background in healthcare, you might expect Karen to be a reliable and caring person. And she is. But at PPL, some of her best qualities are revealed in the responsibility she takes for PPL’s financial direction. A member of the PPL board of directors and the finance and audit committee, Karen became thoroughly grounded in PPL’s complex structure before she stepped up to chair the committee and become treasurer of the board two years ago. Since then, she’s grown to be a trusted and reliable resource for the board and staff. Karen’s knack for numbers makes her a treasured volunteer.
Lisa uses her own experiences to make strong connections with the middle-schoolers she works with—six of them over her years with PPL’s College House. She takes her commitment beyond simply putting in tutoring time. Lisa goes the extra mile, sticking with students over the long term and helping other mentors navigate rough patches. Using what she’s learned studying sciences at the University of Minnesota, she is responding to her mentee’s interests and enriching his experience this year by bringing micro-biology experiments to sessions. She’s also co-facilitating the Improv Club at Collaborative Village, a PPL supportive housing site. Lisa’s congeniality and commitment make her a model volunteer.
Reggie has leapt academic hurdles and become a rock-star to the kids at Early Wonders Preschool. A high school student at MERC, housed in the same building as the preschool, Reggie started working as a lunchtime helper to meet his course requirements. You’d never know it from watching him. By taking his role a step further, Reggie has built a following of adoring children. He sits with them when they’re having a tough day, talks with them, gets to know them and makes them feel special. Reggie responds to every enthusiastic preschooler he meets in the hallway and comes home with piles of original artwork. We agree with the kids: Reggie’s a volunteer idol!
Tracy has been volunteering with PPL at the Learning Center for many years, as well as being a stalwart board committee member. A banking industry human resources expert, he shares his significant insight with participants in our Train-to-Work-Banking classes, but the classes account for only a fraction of his PPL time. In the words of one staffer, “He’s at the Learning Center A LOT.” Tracy works with participants in all stages of their job-hunts: learning about the industry, preparing resumes, mock-interviewing and responding to jobseekers at every step. He’s always finding something new to help get people on the road to self-sufficiency—everything from helpful sites for jobseekers to sources of donated flash drives. His energy and expertise make him an exemplary PPL volunteer.