At REAP we have decided to do something new: we will spotlight an interesting person monthly for our new newsletter. In honor of #DaytoServe starting this Friday, Sept 11, it seemed appropriate to focus on one of our volunteers. It was hard to choose from so many that have helped us out currently or in the past. Let us just say a huge THANKS to all our volunteers whether they help us one day or many years!
This month we are recognizing Emilie Kingery, whom first got involved with REAP when she needed community service hours for her sociology class. She continued after the required hours and expressed interest to paint the work tables. That project ended up getting much bigger, since she coordinated with HandsOn of Greater Richmond to have corporate volunteers come in to paint EVERYTHING! Spoiler alert: The walls are now crazy bright colors, and now you know who to thank or blame. I really wish I had remembered to take a photo of her covered in paint! Below is the survey she sent back to me by email.
On the left, Emilie is writing down the inventory while multiple participants count the many used sporting goods. Many counters means that the inventory is streamlined to take less time and quality controlled to make sure every item gets counted. Also pictured is local artist Anise.
Karen Hannon & Emilie at the Artisan Showcase. This picture was posted on facebook by Emilie.
Job/Studies: I work as a wedding coordinator for Willow Oaks Country Club as well as a full-time student at Virginia Commonwealth University studying Criminal Justice.
Future plans: I am currently in the process of applying to Officer Candidate School for the United States Marine Corps. My ultimate career goal is to work for U.S. Marshals.
Hobbies: Boxing, exercising, reading, studying, traveling, anything dog-related!
Why were you interested in helping REAP: I initially began volunteering at REAP because it was a requirement for a Service Learning class at VCU. After the semester ended, I found that I enjoyed volunteering at REAP, I loved the participants that I was able to work with, and also realized that REAP’s Executive Director, Karen, and Marketing/Communications Director, Christina, were individuals who I looked up to and the relationship I had established with them was one that I wanted to keep.
Best memory or experience at REAP: While every experience is great, one of the most memorable experiences is when Christina was out of town and the reins were handed to me! I came in on a Tuesday to lead activities for Northstar Academy which is a private, non-profit, K-12 school for students with learning challenges. After meeting and working with those students, “learning challenges” were the last thing to cross my mind. I learned so much more from them than they did from me that day! I learned about new computer technology they use, their future goals for college, vacations they like to take, and some of their past/current health issues. More importantly, I learned who they were as individuals, what they are capable of doing and above all, that the term “learning challenge” and/or “disability” is far from determining the abilities and motivations of an individual.
Volunteers Candice, Annaliese, Emilie and Amanda powwow at the Artisan Showcase before the crowds arrive.
Why others should volunteer at REAP: Aside from working with great leaders/motivators like Karen and Christina, others should volunteer at REAP for the experiences that he/she will gain. In the 8 months I have been volunteering I have been a part of countless learning activities, a silent auction, an artisan showcase, two produce markets, and a production party. I have worked with Hands On and met many great people. I have been a part of REAP’s renovation which has changed the entire atmosphere of REAP’s service building. I have done all of this while meeting and relating to individuals who think that they are only at REAP to gain skills for the workplace, but who offer so much more than they realize. I can say with certainty that the opportunities I have received from simply being a part of these experiences has taught me so much more than I can ever hope to teach others.
What employment mean to you: To me, like most things in life, employment means dedication, persistence, and focus. Having stable employment means that one has put in the effort to find and maintain a position. Employment means you have an opportunity to excel in whatever that may be, and also have a reason to stay humble and remember that there is always room for growth and improvement. Above all, employment means that you were chosen for your skills/abilities and you should enjoy it!
Thanks, Emilie, for sharing with us and thanks for volunteering with REAP! We will remember you for a long time after you’ve left us and are part of the U.S. Marshalls every time we are blinded by yellow as we come in REAP’s door. (just kidding, I love all the bright colors!) Honestly, Emilie is not just an awesome volunteer who always arrived early and was very professional. She also has a super sweet personality that made all the participants and other volunteers instantly like her. Hopefully you will see Emilie speeding past all of us at the VCU Broad Street Mile with team REAP Runners. Find out how you can volunteer at REAP.