Each month, a volunteer at SFBFS is featured for their dedication of time and talent. This month’s volunteer spotlight is:
Makoto Hawkins - April 2015
Makoto Hawkins is a strong advocate of community service. With a background in photography and graphic design, Makoto is driven by the desire to give back, to share his skills, in a way that benefits Sacramento. In 2013 this drive brought him to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) where he assisted the Communications and Development Director, Kelly Siefkin, with flyers for the annual Turkey Drive and also spent a little time getting his hands dirty in the garden. When Senior Program Manager, Marie-Louise Nelson, was looking for a creative gift for the seniors in her program, Kelly knew just who to refer who to.
In early 2014, Marie-Louise met with Makoto and told him that she had a growing list of volunteers paired with seniors and wanted to create a gift that was meaningful but low-cost. With Makoto’s photography skills and equipment, they began working on a photo project where volunteers would be photographed with their senior match to be given as lasting tokens of their friendships.
While his background is in photography, Makoto admits that the act of doing photoshoots in someone’s personal space was a new environment for him. “I’m always pushing myself into new areas and seeing where else I can take my creativity. I definitely try and get a feel for the type of person they are,” he explains. “I may notice a lot of various memorabilia or quilting items. While I’m setting up my equipment, I will chat with them to get a feel for who they are and what kind of background in their space is best to tell that story of them.”
Makoto recalls one of the seniors he visited, “She was extremely comical and had the greatest attitude towards life. It was really helpful how open she was, how relaxed she made me feel. That visit really set the tone for what I could expect and everything has been pretty positive since!”
Makoto says a big part of what drives him to contribute his skills is that he is supporting an organization that helps the Sacramento community. “I work freelance a lot and I spend a lot of my time working hands-on with organizations that are fighting for local education, health, medical causes. Whatever the cause might be, I am focused on what’s available in Sacramento and who is giving back to the city. At SFBFS, I keep coming back because of the people. It’s definitely been an easy and fun experience working with the staff at SFBFS.”
In addition to volunteering his time with SFBFS, Makoto also works with Verge Center for the Arts, American Diabetes Association, and sits as a design lead for Tedx Sacramento. “I think it’s a social obligation to support your city,” he says. “I hope to continue the efforts of those who built Sacramento and helped make it what it is today. Here, we are all parts of the whole that is Sacramento so I think we should all take responsibility in supporting it and furthering its future.”
Are you interested in furthering the future of your community? Check out our list Volunteer Opportunities to see how you can help!
Click on a link below to read archived Volunteer Spotlights: