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Volunteers - May 2019
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Habitat Volunteers Honored at Annual Luncheon Event

We are proud to feature Habitat Greater Fresno Area star volunteers Bryana Johnson, Knights of Columbus at St. Anthony of Padua parish, and Jim Tienken, in this edition of the newsletter. They were recognized and celebrated on April 24th at the 51st Annual “Hands Across the Valley” Volunteer Awards Luncheon by generously giving their time and talent to make a difference and improve the quality of life in our Valley.

The event, sponsored by Hands On Central California, raises the profile of civic engagement and advocates for citizens to make positive change in their communities. Please take a moment to hear from Habitat's Volunteer Coordinator, Sarah Pedelty why Bryana, Knights of Columbus, and Jim were selected as three of the 12 Volunteers of the Year for 2019!   

Bryana braves roofing at the Habitat construction site!
Bryana Johnson:  "Adult Volunteer Award"
When Bryana first came to Habitat as a work study student from Fresno City College last fall, it didn’t take long to see her kind, thoughtful and eager-to-learn demeanor shine as her responsibilities grew from basic data entry to volunteer engagement at sites, assistance with partner family services, planning events and more.  
 
“She has gone above and beyond to meet real community need as it was discovered,” Sarah described in her nomination of Bryana. Sarah said it was her persistence and countless hours of helping with logistics, like walking door-to-door signing up children, that made it possible for Habitat to hold their largest ever annual Toy Drive for 300 children in southwest Fresno. 
    
Bryana also stepped up to help with customer service at the main office and demonstrate volunteer engagement best practices at Neighborhood Revitalization and Construction sites. She helped to better engage and retain volunteers through proper onboarding, tracking and evaluation and played a vital role in working with our partner families to ensure their sweat equity hours are scheduled and tracked so they qualify for down payment assistance.
    
She has served a total of 400 volunteer hours herself and tracked 2,000 other volunteers who have contributed a total of 15,000 volunteer hours since coming to Habitat. She is definitely the quintessential “Adult Volunteer of the Year!” 
Knights of Columbus hard at work at the Habitat construction site!
Knights of Columbus, St. Anthony of Padua: "Adult Service Club"
The Knights of Columbus organization at the St. Anthony of Padua parish received recognition in the “Adult Service Club” category for their contribution of thousands of volunteer hours to build more than 50 homes, the repair and retrofit of 10 homes for senior residents, and the assembly of countless pieces of furniture at Habitat’s ReStores.

Sarah, explains, “Habitat believes everyone plays a role in ensuring everyone has a safe and decent place to live, and while many have the same vision, not all take action and consistently respond with what they can do next and how their group can make it happen, like the Knights of Columbus have.”
   
The Knights of Columbus have reliably and consistently been present and continually go above and beyond to ensure each family is served, loved and empowered.
    
For example, one of their most skilled members assumed a leadership role in teaching volunteers and partner famililes how to cut and install baseboards, saving Habitat's construction team a great deal of time. Sarah explains, “By putting this into place, they have created an innovative approach to address poverty while also providing safe shelter and affordable housing."
 
Jim Tienken (far right), and volunteers participate in annual LEGO Build Day.

Jim Tienken: "Building Strong Families and Children"

Jim Tienken received recognition for leading Habitat Greater Fresno Area’s Lego Build, a free, annual event to educate children from diverse backgrounds on affordable housing in a fun, interactive environment while providing parents information on Habitat. 
    
With a commitment to engage his church families and a desire to connect all children, regardless of income level or demographics, the Lego Build event engages children up to 12 years old in age appropriate activities. Children partner with another child in their age range to build their interpretation of an ideal Habitat home out of Legos and write a summary about what makes their Lego house a good Habitat home. When finished, the home is displayed on “Happy Family Lane” to showcase the diversity of each Lego creation. Meanwhile, parents are engaged as they learn more about our programs and services and how to apply. 
 
Lego Build is just one contribution Jim has made to Habitat. He also serves on the Volunteer Committee, partners with Habitat’s campus chapter at Buchanan High School with Lego Build events, fosters an impacting partnership with veterans, and is a master collaborator. 
 
Sarah adds, “With Jim, we have the rare opportunity of working beside a man who has no limit in his imagination and commitment to not only engage youth, but also encourage them to unhinge their imagination and to instill in them a commitment to their community.”  

Congratulations, Bryana, members of the Knights of Columbus, and Jim!!! We wouldn’t and couldn’t be where we are today without you.

If you are interested in volunteering or learning how you can get involved, email us here

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