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January 19, 2017
This week we wanted to highlight one of our dedicated volunteers, Annie Toth. Read on to get to know a bit about her and her experience volunteering with REACH.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I have lived in the Boston area for the past 14 years and moved to Waltham 3 years ago after purchasing a wonderful little fixer upper bungalow that I have since been happily fixing up. I am a Social Worker and have worked with older adults for most of my career but recently changed my focus and currently work in the Operations Department of Jewish Family & Children’s Service located in Waltham which is a non-profit that provides comprehensive services to people in all stages of life. I am a lifelong volunteer and have enjoyed many different volunteer roles including working as an ESL tutor for 3 years, a shopping assistant for an older adult for 5 years, and working at a cat shelter and as a cat foster parent for the past 7 years. I enjoy reading, being in nature, and working on my house, and while the renovations to my house are nearing completion, I have now moved outside and can be found most nice days outside gardening happily covered in dirt.
How did you get involved at REACH?
I was looking for a new volunteer opportunity and as I have a strong interest in human rights and in particular women’s rights and had read about REACH in the Waltham Wicked Local online, I went on the REACH website where I found out about an upcoming volunteer training opportunity. I had never worked with survivors before but had a strong interest in learning more so I attended the 30 hour training which was an amazing experience and where I learned so much, including about all of the different volunteer opportunities at REACH. From there I worked with a staff person to find what volunteer role would work best for me.
What are some of the roles you’ve held or projects you’ve worked on over the years?
I have helped children in the shelter with their homework and have provided childcare during support group meetings.
What do you like most about volunteering with REACH?
I find the staff at REACH are some of the most caring and professional people I have ever met and I am extremely impressed with the quality of work and clear passion that is put into everything that they do, whether it be a blog, a volunteer training, or an annual event. Having worked in non-profits for over a decade and having had experience managing a volunteer program, I know that managing volunteers can be very time intensive and that it requires a real interest and commitment in volunteerism from the entire organization in order for the program to be properly supported. It is very clear that REACH is very supportive of their volunteers and devoted to ensuring that volunteers receive the assistance they need in order to be of most help to those REACH are serving.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering with REACH but not sure if they should get involved?
I would suggest speaking to a staff person to learn more about what opportunities are available; the staff are exceedingly nice and will work with you to find something that would fit you best without putting any pressure on you to commit. I would also strongly encourage you to attend the volunteer training that is offered, it was incredibly informative and engaging and very well organized.