Monday, March 19, 2012

A Volunteer's Story!

When one good thing turns into another good thing, you know you're into something really good! For volunteer Lygia Lostal, that's exactly what happened.

While still in her senior year at USF pursuing a degree in biology, our hard working volunteer, had her sights on a Genetics Counseling Graduate program that required advocacy experience as a requirement for admission. While researching the many non-profits in the Tampa Bay area as possibilities to gain the advocacy experience as a volunteer, Lygia decided on 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares in Clearwater. Starting out as a Skill Level 1 Contact Center volunteer, she has not only gained the advocacy experience she needed to pursue her graduate degree, but the training helped her become more comfortable talking to people, developing her skills at assessing and understanding each caller's personal situation.

The work must have been a good fit for Lygia because within only a few months, she found out that she was very close to accumulating enough hours to win a President's Volunteer Bronze Service Award. But then with a heavy school schedule and a new job Lygia was finding it difficult to fit in the additional hours needed to meet the requirements for the award. To help accommodate Lygia's schedule, she was offered an opportunity to volunteer remotely on a special project.

Lygia was given the assignment of researching live-chat systems through out the country, which led to 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares own live chat system which is a successful and valuable service to the organization and the community.

Not long after Lygia completed the live-chat project, she was back in the Contact Center, now as a Skill Level 2. But then, Lygia needed ankle surgery! Once again she was offered a project to work on remotely since she was unable to drive. This project required research for a disaster preparedness guide which will eventually be posted to our website. This project afforded Lygia the opportunity to accrue the number of remaining hours needed to qualify for the President's Volunteer Bronze Service Award.

Lygia's story is a perfect example of a win-win situation. Not only has she gained valuable experiences and recognition that will be beneficial in pursuing her dreams, her work has made a difference in the lives of so many people in her community.

As Lygia says, "Ït's definitely a great organization to volunteer for and all the hard work the volunteers put in are always appreciated and everyone goes out of their way to make you feel at home and welcomed."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Stop By & Visit Us!

Country In The Park
Saturday, March 17th
10am to 4pm
Town Square Plaza Park, located at 5010 81st Ave N, Pinellas Park.

Country In The Park is a Community Service Expo hosted by the Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce and features dozens of agencies and organizations providing education, youth, recreation, health, housing, special needs care and other services.

So stop by and speak to one of 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares staff or volunteers to learn how you can access information about critical health and human services available in your community for every day needs and in times of crisis.