Big Picture News: Celebrating our volunteers

Below is the Big Picture News insert from our Summer 2015 Groundviews newsletter. To read the entire newsletter or past issues, please visit our Groundviews webpage.

I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times: “We couldn’t do it without your support!” But when it comes to Solid Ground volunteers, this nonprofit fundraising mantra is much more than a platitude – it’s a reality.

King County RSVP Director Jen Gahagan with longtime volunteer Paul Jeganathan

King County RSVP Director Jen Gahagan with longtime volunteer Paul Jeganathan

Volunteers like Matt (see our 8/2015 Groundviews lead story) profoundly increase the impact Solid Ground makes in communities across Seattle and King County. Last year, over 5,000 volunteers gave 247,358 hours of service to the Solid Ground community. (The vast majority, 197,936 hours, were contributed by volunteers 55 and older!)

By the Independent Sector’s standard, one volunteer hour in Washington state equals $27.54. In 2014, this translated to nearly $6.8 million in volunteer labor – more than one quarter of Solid Ground’s annual budget! We very literally could not accomplish our work without them.

Volunteering is win-win, changing lives for the better both for our program participants and our volunteers. Volunteers share their talents, learn new skills, and make connections while taking action to improve our community and help our neighbors in need. They play a meaningful role in something big.

Many of Solid Ground’s 22 programs and services rely on volunteers. Opportunities range from one-time to long-term and include…

  • Hands-on projects: Grow fresh, organic food for local food banks, or help renovate residential building spaces.
  • Direct service with people: Tutor and mentor kids coming out of homelessness, or teach children, teens, adults and families about nutrition and cooking.
  • Community outreach: Help communities register to vote, or represent Solid Ground at informational events.
  • Behind the scenes: Help put on events for our program participants and supporters … and more!

Lettuce Link is one Solid Ground program that relies heavily on volunteers to work with and in communities to grow and share fresh, nourishing food.

Lettuce Link Program Manager Nate Moxley says, “Volunteers are the life force of Lettuce Link. Their work and dedication allow us to manage two education and access farms where we host hundreds of classes, field trips and community groups every year.” Additionally, volunteer giving gardeners donate the bounty of their labors, and last year grew more than 55,000 lbs of fruits and vegetables for food banks and meal programs.

Senior volunteers also make an enormous contribution to the Solid Ground community. Our RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) matches volunteers 55 and older to opportunities both with Solid Ground programs and with 52 partner organizations across King County.

RSVP Director Jen Gahagan says, “We are so grateful and appreciative for the support and commitment of our senior volunteers. They provide a wealth of knowledge and experience which help us tackle our community’s greatest challenges.”

Thank you to all of our amazing volunteers!

For more info on volunteering, visit our Volunteer webpage, or contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 206.694.6825 or volunteers@solid-ground.org.

Girls Giving Back work renovation magic at Broadview

header_logoRecently Girls Giving Back (GGB) – a nonprofit that brings youth and adults together to make a difference in Western Washington transitional housing shelters – completed the last of 31 room renovations at Solid Ground’s Broadview Shelter & Transitional Housing residences for women and children. Since October of 2011, over 150 volunteers have collaborated to complete this ongoing project!

The crew started their construction revamps by building and installing closet systems into each of the units. These were constructed in a Georgetown woodshop by a team of volunteers and led by woodshop owner, John Kirschenbaum.

GGB then equipped every room with interior details including: furniture, bedding, kitchen supplies, bathroom items, and a desk filled with school and art materials. They ️filled bookcases with novels and board games, and placed a fresh stuffed animal on each bed. The GGB volunteers also stocked the cupboards with perishable and nonperishable food, and hung art created by local youth and adults on every wall.

By adding all the little things that make a place feel like home, these units now have the cozy comfort of a thoughtfully furnished and decorated living space. Since most of Broadview’s residents are women and children coping with the trauma of displacement and domestic abuse, the pleasant environment of these renovated rooms offers them a peaceful space to develop strong community support systems.

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Teresa Valley started Girls Giving Back in 2009 with the mission of bringing friends together to do community outreach for social services in need of urgent help. In an effort to create an uplifting environment that fosters hope, GGB focuses on helping local shelters maintain their facilities and provide the basic necessities for the people that they serve. Along with a loyal group of ever-growing volunteers, GGB does everything possible to help improve the lives of those who need it most by donating time, energy and resources to this important work.

Their mission statement says it all:

Girls Giving Back inspires hope and brings comfort and stability to individuals and families in need by improving living conditions in Puget Sound transitional shelters.

GGB has served the local shelter community since the spring of 2009. We provide extensive updates to transitional shelters including: installing new carpet, lighting fixtures, bathroom fixtures, closet additions and performing minor repairs. Along with these services, GGB replaces used mattresses, furnishes the units with gently used donated items, and accessorizes the units (including artwork created by local-area youth) to create a warm and inviting space for the temporary residents in these buildings.

Through GGB’s efforts, individuals seeking shelter are able to experience more than just a roof over their heads. More specifically, by living in this positive environment, they are inspired with hope and encouragement as they move forward with their lives.

Thank you, Girls Giving Back, for sharing these gifts with our Broadview families!

Solid Ground Board members get their hands dirty at Marra Farm

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Solid Ground’s Board of Directors‘ visit to Marra Farm on Saturday, 9/13/14 was more than just a quick stop by and tour. Board members rolled up their sleeves, turned compost, pulled weeds and invested in Marra Farm. Each Board member in attendance last Saturday now has a story to tell to friends, coworkers and potential funders about the investment they made in Marra Farm. The farm is no longer a place that exists on paper or in their minds; it’s something real and something to be excited about! The visit to Marra marks a shift in how each Board member thinks about the farm; they are connected and engaged.

As a former Executive Director of a small nonprofit, I know the value of an engaged Board of Directors. Gordon McHenry, Jr., no doubt, was proud of his team, and I am personally grateful for the time and effort each Board member contributed.

On behalf of the Lettuce Link team and the entire Marra Farm community, we thank all of the Board members in attendance and those that contributed in the planning and logistics of the day.

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