Women2Women - Spring 2017 - 10

"She's really good about being thoughtful and
asking good questions.
"We want our volunteers to be passionate,
advocate in the community for us, and offer
us their time, talent or treasure, which is what
Diane does."
In the past, Diane said she would sometimes
say no to volunteer opportunities, concerned
that she lacked the skills for the assignment, but
soon discovered, "That's not what volunteering
is about. It's more about the passion.
"Part of why I do this is that I find that if
you can support a good organization, it allows
them to use their assets better, whether their
assets are individuals providing services; or
whether it's moving food places - the logistics
of picking up food and moving it to people
in need. Volunteering allows things to happen.
It just makes everything more efficient. The
more people that volunteer, the further the
money goes. It's really something you have to
experience for yourself."
For anyone interested in volunteering, Diane
recommends starting small and finding something
that has a personal impact and fits your lifestyle,
whether it's at school, church, work, or in the
community. One way to test the water is by

observing, taking a tour, attending a committee
meeting, or participating in an event. If time is
an issue, there are other ways to help. It might
be serving as a conduit to getting an agency the
resources it needs or suggesting an improved
way to run a process.
"Berks County is an extremely generous
community. If someone cannot give monetarily,
they'll find another way to help," she said.
When asked if her husband also volunteers,
Diane responded, "Michael is like me on steroids." He currently serves as chair or sits on the
board of various work- and community-based
organizations. Diane estimates that between the
two of them, they attend a volunteer event or
meeting up to three evenings a week. According
to Diane, one of Michael's favorite sayings is,
"All it takes is time."

"One of the most expensive things that a
company or organization has is their staff. So as
a volunteer, one of your greatest contributions
is doing something so that the staff doesn't
have to, and it allows them to use their skill-set
within that organization."
Diane generally takes on opportunities that
involve development, asking for sponsorships
for fundraisers. "It is a lot of relationship
building because you're asking people to give
up their resources. When they see the good the
agency is doing they may be able to allocate
resources," she said.

"I have the gift of time which is truly a gift.
You only take on as much as what you can do.
The only time it's overwhelming is when personal or family matters disrupt. As a volunteer,
you do have the ability to step back because of
family obligations or health issues," she said.

When asked if there was a particularly gratifying moment from all her volunteer activities,
Diane recounted a story from her son Alex's
third grade classroom many years ago. Instead
of helping all the students in the classroom, the
teacher asked her to sit with a child in an empty
classroom and do math flashcard exercises. The
little boy said, "Wow, Alex is so lucky. My mom
doesn't have time to do this with me at home."

Diane said that if you are asked to volunteer,
you have to assume the organization needs your

As Diane said, "Sometimes you can help
someone just by being nice." n

How to Volunteer

Damary Rodriguez, Volunteer Coordinator
610 370-7810

DIRECT SERVICE VOLUNTEER - requires a 66-hour training to work at the
courthouse, Safe House, or telephone hotline.
Other volunteer opportunities that do not require training include
fund-raising, office administrative help, providing meals, activities
with residents like quilting or crafting; general maintenance;
maintaining the gardens in the Nature Explore garden classroom
that is used as part of the healing therapy; and providing classes
to Safe House residents and their children on topics like nutrition.
10 Women2Women Spring 2017

help, and if you say no, you are probably passing
up a life-enriching experience.

Interested in volunteering with the
United Way or SafeBerks? Contact the
organizations directly and they will match
your interest and skills with their needs.

United Way of Berks County

Darby Wiekrykas, Volunteer Engagement Program Manager
610 685-4574


The United Way needs hundreds of volunteers for its Big Cheese
event June 16 and 17, 2017. The event packages and provides cheese
and meals to families in need across Berks County.
There are numerous other opportunities with the United Way or
one of its agencies.

http://www.safeberks.com http://www.uwberks.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Women2Women - Spring 2017

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