This month we say a big thank-you and bid farewell to our incredible Volunteer Coordinator, Sara Hanson-Andreu.
Here is Sara’s parting message:
May the 4th be with you! That’s what I was told by several people when I began here as the Volunteer Coordinator on May 4, 2017. When I was offered the chance to work at the “Jewel of the Junction,” I was overjoyed. My predecessor, Jill—who’s currently a substitute volunteer in the kitchen— spent time training me and then happily passed the reins to me to take over the job and the weight of keeping this place humming with steady volunteers.
Filling the many volunteer positions proved to be a challenge, but one that I was up for! The funny thing is, any time I was about to go upstairs and do the dishes myself, someone would walk through the door just in the nick of time and offer to help.
On any given weekday, we have 15-20 volunteers at the Senior Center supporting the kitchen, café, thrift shop and facilitating classes. A handful of other volunteers are out visiting seniors as Westside Friends in the community. We have amazing Meals on Wheels volunteers who serve meals to local seniors every Wednesday. And, we have many other volunteers who support our events, including Piano Bar and Rainbow Bingo.
Over the past six years, I have brought in more than 400 new volunteers to the Senior Center. Some neede community service hours and didn’t stay long, while others have been volunteering here much longer than most of our staff have been here. We have some long-time, very dedicated volunteers whom I will especially dearly miss.
To our volunteers: You truly amaze me every day. You give the gift of your precious time to make this community better and to make the lives of our seniors fuller and more rewarding. My sincere awe grows even more when I see younger volunteers with busy families who still find time to give to the Senior Center. It is truly an inspiration to us all. There is a quote I love by the American author Elizabeth Andrew, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” It is this ‘heart’ of all of our volunteers that has kept me going—even when it has been challenging.
Although I am leaving my role as Volunteer Coordinator, I will be sticking around as a Lifetime Member of the Senior Center. I plan to enjoy this heartwarming space for years to come and probably even volunteer!
I won’t cry because it’s over, I will SMILE because it happened! With overflowing gratitude to the staff and volunteers of the Senior Center of West Seattle… see you soon.