Service Learning Project
Irving Cares is a non-profit organization that helps the community with free services for the ones in need. They do not try to limit the people that come asking for help; on the contrary, they receive everyone with open arms. Irving cares takes the responsibility to go out into the community and identify the needs of the people, and carefully design programs addressing those needs. Their vision statement is to offer efficient and effective services to all residents, and their mission is to provide focus assistance that addresses their financial crisis.
They have several programs that help archives these goals and the different necessities that each individual would have. Every day, in the food pantry, they help about 15 to 20 people in needs who come seeking help, and it is priceless to see their face when they leave. The organization offers many services such as food pantry, rent and utility assistance, employment services, and more. Irving Cares cares about the people and the community, over a year more than a 1,400 people come to volunteer, this that amazing!
The person I interview was the community engagement coordinator and the one that allowed me to do my service learning hours. Her name is Joyce Ejtminowics, and she is one of the nicest women I have ever met. Even though I only went for a few days, I got to know her and everyone there, and it was so wonderful to see many people with such a passion for helping others. In the interview, she explained to me what her roles were in Irving Cares, and basically, she runs every event, every meeting, and everything that was related to the outreach of the community. Her story was unique about how she got the job, she told me at first she was volunteering, and she became close to everyone and fell in love with the atmosphere and the people. About a year pass, and the job became available, she took the opportunity and took it, and now it has been three years since she been there.
When I asked her what was the most challenging thing that she has to deal with in these three years, her answer was so precious. She said that the most challenging thing is not to be able to help everyone. Sometimes there are times that they have to close the doors early because they have reached the maximum capacity in that locality and tell the people to come back the next day. Moreover, she wants more services to complement but she says that it is not that easy to pass but that every day she tries her best.
Joyce also talks about the great environment that Irving Cares provides. She tells me that every day, everyone works as a team and do their best to serve as many people possible. More than having coworkers, she says that she has a family in there of social workers, managers, coordinators assistance, and marketing team, and they are always welcome to expand their field. And not forgetting about the volunteer that comes every day to help serve the community.
It’s a funny story how I ended up volunteering here. If I can be honest, I can say that this was the last place I went to ask if I could do my hours, and I wasn’t expecting a yes. This was because before coming here, I had already visited four other places and they all told me no, so I was really disappointed and I was not expecting much by the time I come to their office. Plus, they were already close, but I knocked on the door, and they did answer and allowed me to come back the next week to start my hours. I was assigned to work at the food pantry department, where I got the chance to work with other people who came to volunteer as their hobby. And as soon as I entered the door on my first day, I felt so welcoming because everyone was full of love and passion to be here volunteering.
Here I was in charge of receiving the forms of the people who were coming for help and making sure that by the time they were leaving, they had everything they needed. This was fun for me because I saw new faces every time. On my second day, they had me getting groceries for the people. This was really fun because it was like I was in a real supermarket store. I mean I was surprised by everything that they had available for the public. But I can say that I really liked doing this because I know that I got to help many people that day.
I loved my time here, volunteering at Irving Cares was such an amazing experience. I assuredly say that I want to go back and do more hours. I learned so much here; I learned how non-profits organizations work and how they come up with their services and how they all worked together to give their best to the public. I also learned how many free services are out there for the people in need! And this made me reflect on my life and think about what I want to do as soon as I graduated. I can certainly say that I was blessed in coming to Irving Cares to do my hours because I learned so much from them, and I know that the time that I was there, I help so many people. At the end of the day, when I was done with all my hours, Joyce told me that if I wanted to come back and help and maybe work with them as soon as I graduated, I would be welcome, which made me so happy. I can truly say that I thank this assignment to push me outside of my comfort zone because I was able to find this organization.