Volunteer Summary 2017

Continually making a difference

Dominic Bann, a junior year at Kapaun Mount Carmel High School, plays football, enjoys CrossFit workouts and likes building computers. But perhaps his favorite hobby of all is participating in Boy Scouts.

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation's largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The Eagle Scout Service Project, or more simply the Eagle Project, is the opportunity for a Boy Scout in the Boy Scouts of America program to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a special project for the benefit of his community. Dominic and his family approached Rainbows earlier this spring looking for a service opportunity in order for Dominic to complete his Eagle Project.

“Boy Scouts from Troop 520 helped me repaint a large map of the United States on the concrete slab near the West end of the playground. I was also able to clean up and redo a large portion of Rainbows’ outdoor furniture. We spent a whole Saturday sanding and re-staining benches, some fencing, planters, rocking chairs, and balance beams that are situated throughout the entire playground,” said Dominic.

Dominic’s hard work and leadership really paid off, as Rainbows’ backyard space is beautifully revitalized! We are thankful that Dominic chose Rainbows as the beneficiary of his Eagle Project, but even more delighted that he was able to spend time learning about what we do as an organization.

“I was able to observe the staff interacting with kids a couple of times while visiting,” he said. “I was impressed by the fun and positive atmosphere and by the beautiful campus, and facilities, both inside and out.”

Kristen Sellin, a Talent Development Specialist for Enterprise, helped coordinate a corporate volunteer group earlier this year. “Enterprise chose to host ‘a day of caring’ on June 8th this summer,” said Kristen. “This day of caring is a time to give back locally with our interns from around the region. I was personally familiar with Rainbows United, but our Business Rental Team at Enterprise had recently volunteered at the agency in a different capacity. They told me about what they did and why it was great, which is why I reached out about bringing our interns for this special day of volunteering.”

Kristen brought about 20 people total to Rainbows, between administrative and rental employees along with their summer interns. Rainbows was throwing not one, but two, 45th anniversary “birthday” parties this day. The group started their day at Rainbows’ East location, Kids’ Point, to help set up and decorate for the first celebration. “We did our best to make sure the place looked special. I think our employees enjoyed the sidewalk chalk as much as the kids did,” said Kristen. “We got to participate in the party by serving (and eating!) breakfast and passing out fun party hats and noisemakers to staff, children, and special guests. Our interns were able to interact and play outside with the kids in childcare after singing ‘happy birthday’ to Rainbows.”

Once the first party was complete, Kristen’s group cleaned everything up, went to lunch, and made their way to Kids’ Cove, to do it all over again. “The kids at Camp Woodchuck made sure to keep us entertained and were such fun to hang out with”, she said. “I think we all learned that giving back can be fun and that just because someone is different doesn’t really make them unrelatable to us. I know we would all go back in a heartbeat.”

Over the past year, Rainbows United benefitted from the donation of 7,949 volunteer hours from committed volunteers, just like Dominic and the group from Enterprise. Included in those hours are 1920 hours contributed by our Board of Directors, and 580 hours that were given by the ladies of Friends of the Heart. The estimated value of volunteer time in 2016 was $24.14 per hour, according to Independent Sector, a coalition of charities, foundations, corporations, and individuals that publishes research important to the nonprofit sector. This means Rainbows accumulated the equivalent of $191,888 in volunteer hours for 2017. In addition, from January 2017 to December 2017, Rainbows provided 22 group volunteer opportunities to the community.

“We rely on volunteers for so many things,” said Sidni Garwood, Rainbows’ Volunteer Coordinator. “It is such a privilege to be able to find the perfect match between a volunteer and an agency need. I find such fun in linking their experience, talents and eagerness to serve with an open opportunity to help! True volunteerism is beneficial for both those giving and receiving.”

We love our volunteers at Rainbows! If you have participated as a volunteer for Rainbows, in any capacity, please know that we recognize the importance of your role in this organization and we THANK YOU for your service. We couldn't fulfill our mission without you! If you are looking for ways to give back and volunteer at Rainbows, consider contacting Sidni Garwood at any time throughout the year to learn about the current volunteer opportunities available. Email her at sgarwood@rui.org for more details!