Volunteer Spotlight

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 & Makoto Hawkins ProfileFamily 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:

April 2015 - Makoto Hawkins
March 2015 - Dustin Richardson
February 2015 - Teri Weesner
January 2015 - Alec Gonzales
December 2014 - Raina Graves
November 2014 - Anna Guzavety
September 2014 - Lisa Wolfman
August 2014 - Edie Blackshire
June 2014 - Christine Trillo
April 2014 - Linda Von Schoech
March 2014 - Rosalie Furgason
February 2014 - Kimberly Swenson
January 2014 - Nana Djunga
December 2013 - Melanie Freer
November 2013 - Mike & Judy Evitt
October 2013 - Tricia Henderson 
September 2013 - Rachel Teater
August 2013 - Micheal Carter-Morse
July 2013 - Angelica Munoz
June 2013 - Bill Byrne 
May 2013 - Theresa Defazio-Darosa
April 2013 - Brenda Adams 
March 2013 - Maggie Ortega

 

 

February 2013 - Elitas Schmidling
January 2013 - Matt Shields
November 2012 - Kara Schunk
October 2012 - Brian Trieu
September 2012 - Candace Chwierut
July 2012 - Rosemary Guzman
June 2012 - In Memory of Margot Abrott
May 2012 - Jane Eiferle  
April 2012 - Kevin Price
March 2012 - Kris Morris & Ryan Alvey
February 2012 - Green 1 
January 2012 - Ellie and Maggie Keenan
December 2011 - Brian Geary
November 2011 - Pat Palley
October 2011 - Yolanda Moore
September 2011 - T. Jackson
August 2011 - Julia Siegel
July 2011 - Leslie Marria & George Langley
June 2011 - Pornpun Briggs 
May 2011 - Charlotte Hansen
April 2011 - Becky Starr
March 2011 - Russ Landers
February 2011 - Evan Berry 
January 2011 - Christina Ubaldo

 

December 2010 - Volunteer Spirit Awards 
November 2010 - Cynthia Bows 
October 2010 - The Jensen Family 
September 2010 - Markus Mar-Liu 
August 2010 - Peter Fusselman 
July 2010 - Steff Echeverria 
June 2010 - Michael Adams 
May 2010 - Ericka Jansen 
April 2010 - Rudy Garcia 
March 2010 - Erv Bradley 
February 2010 - Chris Suter 
January 2010 - Nellie Mackie & Hank Greenfield
November 2009 - Carrie Detwiler
October 2009 - Jim and Wally Hofssis 
September 2009 – Pat McManus 
August 2009 – Dale Hinnen 
July 2009 – Elaine Liu 
June 2009 – Aiyanna Pearson 
May 2009 - Lee Salerno 
April 2009 - Elliot Wenzel 
March 2009 - Ignatius Gruenwald
February 2009 - Helen Parra

 

May 2012 - Michelle Garcia
April 2014 - Linda Von Schoech
March 2014 - Rosalie Furgason
February 2014 - Kimberly Swenson
January 2014 - Nana Djunga
December 2013 - Melanie Freer
November 2013 - Mike & Judy Evitts
October 2013 - Tricia Henderson

September 2013 - Rachel Teater

August 2013 - Micheal Carter-Morse

July 2013 - Angelica Munoz

June 2013 - Bill Byrne

May 2013 - Theresa Defazio-Darosa

April 2013 - Brenda Adams

March 2013 - Maggie Ortega
February 2013 - Elitas Schmidling     
January 2013 - Matt Shields

 

 

November 2012 - Kara Schunk
October 2012 - Brian Trieu

September 2012 - Candace Chwierut

August 2012 - Hallie Vae Wallace

July 2012 - Rosemary Guzman

June 2012 - In Memory of Margot Abrott

May 2012 - Jane Eiferle 
April 2012 - Kevin Price

March 2012 - Kris Morris & Ryan Alvey

February 2012 - Green 1
January 2012 - Ellie and Maggie Keenan
December 2011 - Brian Geary

November 2011 - Pat Palley

October 2011 - Yolanda Moore

September 2011 - T. Jackson

August 2011 - Julia Siegel

July 2011 - Leslie Marria & George Langley

June 2011 - Pornpun Briggs
May 2011 - Charlotte Hansen
April 2011 - Becky Starr

March 2011 - Russ Landers
February 2011 - Evan Berry
January 2011 - Christina Ubaldo

 

December 2010 - Volunteer Spirit Awards
November 2010 - Cynthia Bows
October 2010 - The Jensen Family
September 2010 - Markus Mar-Liu
August 2010 - Peter Fusselman
July 2010 - Steff Echeverria
June 2010 - Michael Adams
May 2010 - Ericka Jansen
April 2010 - Rudy Garcia
March 2010 - Erv Bradley
February 2010 - Chris Suter
January 2010 - Nellie Mackie & Hank Greenfield
November 2009 - Carrie Detwiler
October 2009 - Jim and Wally Hofssis
September 2009 – Pat McManus
August 2009 – Dale Hinnen
July 2009 – Elaine Liu
June 2009 – Aiyanna Pearson
May 2009 - Lee Salerno
April 2009 - Elliot Wenzel
March 2009 - Ignatius Gruenwald
February 2009 - Helen Parra

Volunteer Spotlight – October 2011
Yolanda Moore

yolanda.jpgYolanda Moore originally came to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) about five years ago when she was taking art classes at a local community college. She heard, by word of mouth, about a free art program for women in Sacramento, offered at a local non-profit organization. She became intrigued with the idea decided to check it out. What she found was the Women’s Wisdom Art program at SFBFS, a free art group for women from diverse backgrounds, who come together to support one another, learn new skills, and gain self-confidence and creativity. Yolanda felt very at home and started to gain confidence in her artistic abilities.

yolanda_1.jpgAfter attending classes, she decided to pursue her degree in Art at Sacramento State University. Her classes began to take up the majority of her time. Eventually she approached Helen Plenert, Women’s Wisdom Art Program Manager, to inform her that she no longer had time to participate in the program and needed to commit full time to her Sac State classes. Although Helen and the other students were sad to see Yolanda leave, it made them happy that she was pursuing a lifelong goal. By setting such a goal and steadfastly working toward it, Yolanda was unknowingly inspiring others in the program. “Even as a student, she was always a huge help in the classroom,” says Helen. “I asked her to consider coming back as a volunteer someday. It was just over a year ago when she walked back in to begin volunteer work for us. “

In 2010, Yolanda returned to SFBFS after receiving her degree as a volunteer for the Women’s Wisdom Art program.  As a volunteer, Yolanda offers support to the students in the program. “Every day is different,” says Yolanda. She typically arrives before any classes start, working with the instructors and pulling out all the necessary materials. The women often ask for help finding a certain item or ask for Yolanda’s opinion on a project. “Every woman has her own style when it comes to art,” she comments. “I try to give my opinion to them while at the same time making sure it doesn’t interfere with their own ideas.” Yolanda’s favorite part of volunteering is seeing students progress. Oftentimes students arrive unsure and afraid that they can’t create something worthwhile. The nature of the program allows them to freely express themselves and develop creatively. Once a student sees their work displayed on a gallery wall, they feel accomplished and self-confident. “The quality of the artwork created by these women is truly impressive,” says Yolanda.

Helen and the other instructors in the program value each and every day that Yolanda volunteers in the classroom. According to Helen, Yolanda is one of those rare jewels who see what needs to be done and just jumps headfirst in to do it. A new student may need some comforting and Yolanda just sits down next to her as if that was the last seat in the room and strikes up a conversation. Another minute she is up to her elbows in dirty dishes and paint brushes. “It's really a rare moment when I have to ask her to help with something specific because she usually thinks of it before I do. In fact, she may have already done it before I finish asking!” says Helen.

In addition to volunteering, Yolanda can be found painting or drawing on her own time, spending time with her friends, or visiting her family, including her grown children and five grandchildren.

If you are interested in volunteering your time to help someone in need in our community, click here for more information.