Each month, a volunteer at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services is featured for their dedication of time and talent. This month's volunteer spotlight is:

Jim Weske - April 2017

Meet Jim Weske. He can be found in the technology lab at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS), teaching computer skills in Adult Education classes. Jim’s journeys in volunteer service began several years ago at Senior Gleaners, Inc. (SGI). When SFBFS merged with SGI in 2014, Jim was eager to continue helping at SFBFS. He initially met with SFBFS’ Technology Manager, Shay Smith, to discuss his talents helping in the computer department at SGI. There, Jim helped create and implement an entirely new data tracking and volunteer management database, bringing the organization’s technology level into the 21st century. Shay asked if Jim would be interested in doing something somewhat different - teaching a technology class to adult learners who were new to technology.

Jim was slightly hesitant at first. His diverse career background ranged from working as a checker at Raley’s during college, working in the news department at the local news station, KCRA, moving into radio at KROY and KFBK as a disc jockey and writing award-winning commercials and later moving into restaurant management. He did not have teaching experience, but quickly realized his combination of skills would make teaching a natural fit. Jim loves a challenge and he decided to take it on. After observing the existing computer classes, Jim noticed several ways he could improve them, most notably by incorporating humor, more student interaction as well as a more user-friendly and visual presentation. He updated and revised the course materials and presented them to Shay, who was delighted to incorporate the improved curriculum.

“Jim is dedicated to SFBFS’ educational culture,” notes Shay. “He has created quality curriculum for our students and helps push them to their goals of self-sufficiency.  In addition, he is hilarious and gets along well with the clients, staff and other volunteers.” Jim found that he both enjoyed and excelled at teaching. He added further improvements such as standardizing the curriculum across teachers, so students could attend alternate days if necessary and incorporating an end-of-class evaluation where teachers could gather feedback from the students.

Jim works together with the other volunteers to ensure that students are maximizing their learning time in the free technology classes. Right now, Jim is putting the finishing touches on a new Beyond Basics class, which will launch soon. The Adult Education program is kept afloat by dedicated volunteers like Jim. “Due to the amount of clients that access our services and all the simultaneous activities that we offer, we could not offer these classes without our volunteers,” says Shay.

Upon starting volunteer work, Jim expected to share his technical knowledge, but teaching classes wasn’t on his radar. He is glad to have found his niche. “I have lots of memorable moments with our students,” reflects Jim. “It is rewarding when a student excitedly raises their hand in class and says ‘I got it!’ and you realize, ‘It’s working!’ There is no greater feeling than to watch someone’s self-confidence, knowledge and pride of achievement blossom right before your eyes.”

Click on a link below to read archived Volunteer Spotlights:

2014
December 2014 - Raina Graves
November 2014 - Anna Guzavety
September 2014 - Lisa Wolfman
August 2014 - Edie Blackshire
July 2014 - Marcella Ramirez
June 2014 - Christine Trillo
May 2014 - Michelle Garcia
April 2014 - Linda Von Schoech
March 2014 - Rosalie Ferguson
February 2014 - Kimberly Swenson
January 2014 - Nana Djunga

2017
April 2017 - Jim Weske
March 2017 - Andrew and Arcade Church
February 2017 - Minnie
January 2017 - Jake

2016
December 2016 - Trish
November 2016 - Jacinto
October 2016 - Cristo Rey student interns
September 2016 - Laurie Owens
August 2016 - Karen O'Hara
July 2016 - Teresa Suter
June 2016 - Jennifer Tillman
May 2016 - Ms. Joyce
May 2016 - Dan Decious
April 2016 - Pat,Judy, Steve & Ted
March 2016 - Gloria Clark
February 2016 - Sydney Donnell
January 2016 - Sarah Cheung

2015
December 2015 - Hattie Lagrimas
November 2015 - Chariss Fong
October 2015 - Bette Simpson
September 2015 - The Green Family
August 2015 - Katie Price
July 2015 - Ric Burwell
June 2015 - Eugene Asampong-Oduro
April 2015 - Makoto Hawkins
March 2015 - Dustin Richardson
February 2015 - Teri Weesner
January 2015 - Alec Gonzales