Each month, a volunteer at SFBFS is featured for their dedication of time and talent. This month’s volunteer spotlight is:
Raina Graves - December 2014
19-year-old Raina Graves moved to Sacramento from Michigan 10 months ago with hopes of starting college and a new life. Still recovering from extensive leg surgery from the previous year, Rania initially had trouble finding a job that didn't require standing for long periods of time. Determined to be doing something, Raina was thrilled to begin volunteering at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) after her sister suggested attending one of the weekly Volunteer Orientations.
Due to her physical restrictions, Raina chose to begin volunteering in SFBFS' Adult Education program as a Technology Lab Assistant. After meeting Shay Smith, SFBFS' Technology Manager, she knew it would be a good fit. "Shay really reached out to me and made me feel welcome," says Raina. "She helped me to develop a skill set and made me feel like my work was valued." As the Tech Lab Assistant, Raina answered phones, answered questions about the technology lab and the classes offered, helped students set up their e-mail accounts and apply for jobs, entered data and made phone calls to students and employers.
Shay was equally as happy to have Raina join her crew of volunteers. "Raina is always there when I need her and always willing to come in at a moment's notice," she beams. "It is really great just having someone you can depend on like that. Some days I have a lot going on and she helps keep me organized and focused. We work really well together!"
Once she started, there was no going back. Raina volunteered in Technology Lab three days a week until she started her first semester at Sacramento City College this fall. "It definitely felt like the most productive way to spend my time," she reflects. "All of the staff members are so kind and friendly – it's just a really welcoming environment."
But it's not just our staff that keeps Raina returning to volunteer. "One time, after I had assisted a lady with filling out job applications, she came back in to tell me that she got the job! She baked me cookies to say thank you and I realized how meaningful volunteering can be – not just for myself but for my community. I think that the world would run more smoothly and people would be happier in general if everyone volunteered."
After classes started, Raina received a federal work-study grant that would allow her to get paid for her volunteer work. In efforts to build her resume, she applied for and accepted a work-study position in SFBFS' Youth Education Program as a Computer Clubhouse Assistant. In her new role, Raina will be working to organize events and activities for teens in the community who are interested in learning technology skills. All of us at SFBFS would like to congratulate Raina on her new role with the organization and wish her the best of luck in her studies!
Are you interested in getting involved with your community? Take a look at our list of volunteer opportunities to see which one might be a good fit for you!
Click on a link below to read archived Volunteer Spotlights: