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:

Cristo Rey High School Student Interns - October 2016

Every year, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) opens its doors to thousands of volunteers, engaging them in activities such as sorting food and clothes, educating new parents, tutoring students, resettling families from countries thousands of miles away and engaging children between the ages of 0-5 in youth education. When staff say volunteers are the backbone of the organization we are not exaggerating. With approximately 75 – 100 volunteers each day, staff is usually outnumbered by the helping hands of members throughout the community. Throughout the year, SFBFS hosts groups ranging from five to 100 people willing to join in the fight against hunger. We host over 500 groups annually! Now, aside from the groups, aside from the 75 to 100 daily volunteers, SFBFS also has committed volunteer groups; groups that commit to certain volunteer shifts on a repeating cycle, whether it be weekly, monthly or quarterly. We are fortunate to partner with Cristo Rey High School each year and host student interns during the school year, in all areas of SFBFS. This month, SFBFS’ Youth Education program nominated their Cristo Rey student interns as the volunteers of the month!

Cristo Rey student interns serving with the Youth Education program range from 14 to 16 years old and are a part of a Work-Study program put on by the school. When asked to describe their Work-Study program, Vanessa Alvarez, Work-Study Program Coordinator for Cristo Rey says, “Each of our 367 students works five days per month in companies and organizations throughout the Sacramento region. This transformative program not only helps offset 60% of the cost of our student’s college preparatory education, but allows our students to receive mentoring from local professionals, cultivate workforce skills and gain real world experiences."

Most Youth Education interns bring experience working with children while some have no experience. A lot of times experience isn’t necessarily what is most needed from our volunteers; something as simple as a smile can make a world of difference to the children in Youth Education. Teri Weesner, SFBFS’ Playcare Academy Coordinator chose the interns for this month’s Volunteer Spotlight because they bring so much to the table. “Itsel has an infectious smile and obviously enjoys being in a learning environment with children.” “Michael follows through on projects and asks relevant questions.” “Angel and Jose are gaining real life skills through data input.” These are a few of the comments Teri made about the interns serving with her this school year. This shows that these students, from differing backgrounds, can come together to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for children while their parents are using other services offered at SFBFS.

Not only do the students positively affect the children and the classroom, they also grow throughout the school year and internship. Like any class, the Youth Education classroom has a class pet; a turtle! Because of this, Jose, a 14-year-old intern, was able to hold a turtle for the first time. “The children are beginning to recognize Itsel giving her more opportunity to lead daily activities and experience in front of a classroom,” shared Teri. While most of the students have direct interaction with the children, not all students have the chance to offer direct service in the classroom giving them a chance to learn about data input, client tracking and customer service over the phone and in person.

When asked what they wish people knew about the organization, all Cristo Rey Student Interns said, “I wish more people knew about the services SFBFS has to offer!” SFBFS is more than appreciative of their time and service and are looking forward to having them around all year, and becoming SFBFS ambassadors as they continue on after the school year! Thank you Cristo Rey student interns!

Click on a link below to read archived Volunteer Spotlights:

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

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

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