Each month, a volunteer at SFBFS is featured for their dedication of time and talent. This month’s volunteer spotlight is:
Edie Blackshire - August 2014
Miss Edie Blackshire, age 65, has been volunteering in Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services’ (SFBFS) Playcare Academy, part of the Youth Education program, for the last few summers. Originally from the Bay area, Miss Edie worked for Packard Bell (now AT&T) for 30 years before she retired to pursue her longtime dream of working in the hotel industry. After doing that for 9 years, she decided to relocate to Sacramento to be closer to her son. Almost more unbearable than the heat in Sacramento was the way Miss Edie’s first summer as a retiree dragged on and on. Being used to having a schedule and contributing to something, she was motivated to join Sacramento County’s Foster Grandparent program that would place her in classrooms and childcare facilities where she would be working with kindergarten-aged children.
Miss Edie has been a Foster Grandparent for four years, volunteering in kindergarten classrooms during the school year. After school was out last year, one of the summer programs she had to choose from was SFBFS’ Youth Education program. She enjoyed her experience volunteering in Playcare Academy so much that she wanted to return to the program again this summer.
Now a month into her second summer at SFBFS, Miss Edie is having a lot of fun. “I love the staff at SFBFS and how organized the Youth Education program is,” she says. “She knows exactly what she wants me to do every day.” As a Playcare volunteer, Miss Edie assists program staff with daily tasks and activities. Meanwhile, she is developing some meaningful relationships with some of the toddlers in the program. “She has a very calm demeanor that feels safe and welcoming to our more timid children,” says Miss Lindsey Larrimore, Youth Education Program Assistant.
One little girl comes to mind for Miss Edie, a 2-year-old who is non-verbal. Quietly, they will sit and do puzzles together or Miss Edie will read aloud to her. “A few weeks ago, she started blowing me kisses when she leaves,” she recalls, grinning. “That just touched my heart. I would definitely say little things like that are what keep me coming back.”
All of us at SFBFS are more than happy to have her. “Miss Edie stands out as a volunteer because she is very sweet, very affectionate with the children and also very hard-working and enthusiastic,” beams Miss Lindsey. “She even helped us frost over 100 cupcakes for the children’s community service project. Everyone worked together to prepare more than 500 cupcakes to donate to Loaves and Fishes, a local nonprofit that serves hot meals to the homeless.”
What would we do without volunteers like Miss Edie? “Volunteers are so important to our program,” says Miss Lindsey. “They help add to the quality of the Youth Education program. We expect the volunteers to come up with a lot of their own activities, giving them the freedom to develop new skills or utilize the ones they already have. By trying new ideas all the time, we are able to create a more diverse educational setting for the children in the program. We rely on our volunteers to provide childcare and create a safe environment for the children that come through our program.”
Are you interested in becoming a volunteer in the Youth Education program? Click here for more information on getting involved!
Click on a link below to read archived Volunteer Spotlights: