Spotlighting a Few of our Volunteer Stars
Volunteer Supernova: Sandra Baron
I have had a good life and I want to give back to help others to also have a good life. Cornerstones supports my Herndon community. I like being part of the solution for homelessness and food insecurity.
I have volunteered most of my life from Cub Scout leader, to church leader, to post employment with Cornerstones. In all I have probably volunteered about 25 years. I have volunteered with Cornerstones since I retired 4 years ago. Currently I also volunteer at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital (my previous employer), Community of Faith United Methodist Church food pantry, Wolf Trap Filene Center volunteer & RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) lead volunteer.
My primary assignment is at the Front Desk & Kitchen help at Embry Rucker Community Shelter. I like working at the shelter because I feel some of the clients need a friendly smile to lighten their day.
In addition I volunteer to support the Fall/Winter Coat Closet drive, Food Pantry distribution events, and have provided administrative support to the Connections for Hope Partnership program. This past year, I excited to volunteer at Cornerstones 50th Anniversary Celebration and honored to be part of the volunteers helping sort clothes donations for Herndon families impacted by a multi-apartment fire in 2021.
I love volunteering! Volunteering gives me the opportunity to be involved in my community. I know how much the Cornerstones’ staff appreciates the help that I am able to give. That makes my day!
Don’t be afraid to help. Anything you can do to help is always appreciated. There are many opportunities available to choose from. Sample as many opportunities as you can and enjoy.
Thank you, Sandra, for helping Cornerstones build stability, empowerment, and hope for everyone in our community.
Volunteer Family Rising Stars: The O’Connor Family
We like to give back to our community and want to teach our boys about giving back and service for others. We originally found you all through a Volunteer Fairfax day a couple of years ago. My oldest son and I enjoyed our first time volunteering so much and were struck by your mission. My husband and younger son expressed interest in joining so we signed up as a family and just kept doing so. We love the variety of services you provide and the fact that it is within our community.
So far, we’ve participated in Food Pantry sorting and distribution, and School Backpack and Winter Coat Closet Drives. Timing is a factor with jobs, school, and sports and band activities. We try to join whatever we can when we can.
We like them all, but I think our favorite is helping with the Food Pantry distribution events. We get to see so many people benefitting from the work. It also is busy. Our family likes to stay busy. We feel like everything you do is special, so we honestly enjoy all of it.
We started very young with our kids picking a charity to donate to for their birthday and Christmas. Our first volunteer project was when our oldest was about 12 or 13. Our youngest was 8. We started with you all when our oldest was 16.
While there hasn’t been much positive about COVID, it did open the door to finding the time in our schedules to volunteer. The boys are super busy with sports and band activities, so we try to work around those as much as possible. Now that we’ve got it in the calendar, it’s easier to build things around our schedules. Every once in a while we have to cancel because of mandatory activities but usually we all get there or at least 3 of the 4 of us.
Absolutely! We like giving back to our community and learning. It also provides our boys perspective which we think is important. All four of us find it very rewarding and enriching of our own lives. It gives us a chance to bond over important work.
Just do it. I know that sounds easier said than done, and I totally understand busy schedules. Between my husband and I having demanding careers and very busy teenagers, I understand it can be hard to find the time. One way to “get ahead of the curve” on the busy schedules is to schedule some volunteer activities ahead of time…that helps get it firmed up and then you can protect it on the calendar. Also, it might be easier to build up to volunteering regularly. Start out with one time and then add slots after that. That’s how we did it. We also have the chance to volunteer more during the winter and summer (rather than spring and fall) because of schedules, so think about when might work best for you.
Thank you for all that you all do for the community. We have learned so much volunteering with you and look forward to continuing to do so in the years to come.