April is Global Volunteer Month (GVM), a time to recognize those who actively support their communities through volunteerism and civic engagement. At Spark, volunteers are at the core of all that we do and we recognize their invaluable ability to multiply impact and spark change where it is needed most. We’ll be celebrating GVM and our amazing volunteers all month long, using this time as an opportunity to say THANK YOU to all those who have shown up for their communities in a BIG way!
Jon and Sandy Dolak, RSVP of Huerfano County Volunteers
Our next volunteer spotlights of GVM 2023 are Jon and Sandy Dolak. Jon and Sandy engage as a volunteers with Spark’s Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Huerfano County. Jon makes a 34 mile round-trip to pick up lunches at least once a week to be delivered in La Veta. Sandy has engaged in a number of supporting roles to improve lives of elders in Huerfano County. The first time they volunteered on the same project was the fun food project that provided bags of enriched oatmeal to those who need it.
Both Jon and Sandy have volunteered in a huge variety of roles throughout their lives. Jon feels the most valuable volunteer experience was his many years as a volunteer fireman. He is also always there to help neighbors. If anyone is need of help taking care of critters– Jon is there!
Sandy was involved in the non-profit sector her entire career as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. There was never any paid role that didn’t get hours and hours as a volunteer. Her passion was the underserved and those who live in poverty. Sandy founded Huajatolla Heritage Foundation to promote cultural preservation approximately 7 years ago and that has been almost entirely volunteer. Many meaningful events and celebrations have been provided for Huerfano County under Sandy’s tireless dedication. Jon and Sandy have both been involved for many years in collecting donations for One Nation Walking Together that provides Native Americans with basic necessities that are often just beyond their reach.
Jon and Sandy shared, the role that they enjoyed the most in the last 15 years is probably taking their beloved pig, Lil’ Smokey to events, schools and libraries! We asked Jon and Sandy to share a little more about what volunteering means to them:
Q: Why did you decide to volunteer?
A: Good humans are wired to give back. And, to a certain extent, it is selfish. It makes you feel good. Science now knows that volunteering is good for your health also; people who volunteer live longer!
Q: What does volunteering mean to you?
Sandy Dolak: Gratitude needs to be honored with reciprocity; volunteering offers that opportunity.
Q: What’s your favorite part about volunteering?
A: It feels so right to be doing something (anything!) that makes the world a better place!
Q: What advice would you have to someone who’s thinking about engaging as a volunteer in their community for the first time?
A: It sounds so trite, but volunteer with a giving heart and you will receive far more than you give.
Q: Do you have any volunteer stories you’d like to share?
A: Although feeling that we had been deeply embedded in our community for more than 20 years, our volunteering this last winter at the food packaging event introduced us to a whole new group of people!
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience as a community changemaker?
A: It is often said: “Be the change you wish to see,” but I think Dr. Seuss summed it up the best: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not!”
From all of us at Spark, we just want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to Jon and Sandy Dolak for their knowledge, continuing impact, and support. They clearly love the Huerfano community and make a BIG impact through their compassion and care. The work we do would be impossible without dedicated and caring volunteers like you!
For more stories like Jon and Sandy’s, follow along all month long as we celebrate and recognize Global Volunteer Month and all the volunteers who make magic happen every single day in Colorado communities! Looking to make an impact in YOUR community? Volunteer with us or Donate to Spark today!
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