National Volunteer Week
Day 1: Jean Harrell
At Orangewood Foundation, we are very fortunate to have dedicated volunteers like Jean who help our organization succeed. Jean has been an Orangewood volunteer since January of 2017. Jean, along with her friend Cindy and her two sons, cook and serve delicious meals to youth in our on-site resource center every month. Additionally, she has volunteered at various Orangewood fundraising events such as the Athletes First Classic and the 44 Women Scholarship Lunch. “Jean is a generous and loving individual who always goes above and beyond for our youth,” says Humberto Rojas, Volunteer Manager. “Her cooking and presentation is always fun and creative and the youth are so appreciative of the effort she puts in.”
“My favorite thing about volunteering with Orangewood is seeing the young people enjoying the food,” Jean says. “One time one of the youth told me that my food tastes like it was made with love. He couldn’t have said anything to make me happier. The kids in the Resource Center and the staff who are there for them make me proud to be associated with Orangewood.”
Thank you, Jean, for your service and dedication to our youth. It is a joy to have you in our kitchen!
Day 2: Michelle Koontz
Next up, we would like to recognize one of our amazing mentors, Michelle Koontz! Michelle has been involved with mentoring at Orangewood Foundation since 2011. She has been matched with her mentee, Alicia for almost 2 years. Michelle is extremely patient and understanding, and has been a tremendous support and advocate for Alicia. She assists Alicia through life’s challenges and barriers, and celebrates her successes and milestones.
“There have been lots of firsts for her during our time together,” Michelle says. “The first time she did a horseback trail ride, the first time she bowled a strike, the first time she lived in her own apartment, the first time she had a makeover. We have experienced many fun and happy firsts together, but there have also been some firsts that are memorable but not in a good way. That’s what being a mentor is all about, being there for your mentee no matter what life throws at them. I frequently think back at what I was doing and what I was experiencing when I was a young adult. I realize how privileged I was to have a strong family support system and opportunities to go to college and find jobs with relative ease. Being a mentor is life altering and has allowed me to give back to young women who want a better life for themselves and their kids.”
Thank you, Michelle for your continued dedication and support of Alicia. You have impacted her life in a tremendous way, and we are so thankful for you!