There is one rule at the St. Vincent de Paul Dream Center in Phoenix: homework must be completed before students can play board games.
In January, some 14 U-Haul Team Members volunteered to give homework help to the students visiting SVdP. While some students were reluctant to tackle their assignments first, all homework was completed before the games were pulled off the shelves.
“It was nice interacting with the kids,” said Jennifer Borbon, project manager for U-Haul Retail Sales. “As volunteers, we had the opportunity to help with their homework. The students were funny and smart. That time together ended up making my day a little better.”
Filling a Need
SVdP has a mission to feed, clothe, house and heal people in need. Similarly, U-Haul has a philanthropic mission to help organizations provide the most basic of human needs: food, clothing and shelter.
Volunteer opportunities at SVdP can range from helping in the kitchen or warehouse to working at the thrift store.
During the latest U-Haul volunteer night, the need was food and homework help. That meant Team Members, sporting their bright orange shirts, would be working in the SVdP dining room and dream center in Phoenix.
Pizza and Board Games
After the students finished their homework, everyone was able to eat and play games. Some students ran to the kitchen, while others tugged on their volunteers to play chess or Jenga.
There were also coloring books, puzzles and pianos, depending on the child’s preference. The hungrier ones in the group left their volunteers and quickly found a table in the dining room. Pizza, salad and cookies were on the menu. U-Haul Team Members served the guests.
“Volunteering may seem daunting for some,” Borbon said. “U-Haul takes the guess work out by offering volunteer opportunities every month. This means more Team Members volunteer more frequently, which makes a big difference to organizations like SVdP that rely so heavily on volunteers.”
Once the pizza was eaten and the tables were wiped, the students waved to their volunteers and went home with their families.
“The sheer impact felt by helping those less fortunate is astounding,” said Todd Cooley, SVdP corporate development officer. “It is vitally important for SVdP to have corporate volunteers, such as U-Haul Team Members, to assist in our operations. Without volunteers, we could not operate.”
SVdP volunteer days are a quick commute to the Watkins Campus.
Finally, a special thanks to U-Haul Team Members who volunteered: Erick Acevedo, Tim Armstrong, Jennifer Borbon, Paige Brown, Kelie Budd-Hale, Jeff Jenkins, Steve Dudley, Gayle Hutchinson, Lydia Martinez, Kat Miles, Lanny Olds, Latasha Ross, Ed Trojanowski and Stephanie Tutt.