50 Years. 50 Stories., Community Stories

Story 27: Celebrating Our Volunteers

July 7, 2018

Alison Shirey, a volunteer from Bank of the West, has volunteered at 10 Eden properties over the past year. She, together with groups of colleagues, facilitate games of Financial Fraud Bingo, helping our residents protect their finances. “After every event I am left with a feeling of purpose and gratification,” she says. “I have learned that it is important to give back, not only to improve the quality of someone else’s life but my own as well.”

“What I like best about volunteering with Eden Housing is dealing with the kids here and seeing the looks on their faces,” shared Shante Garner. Shante has volunteered at Chesley Mutual Housing in Richmond, providing support during our annual National Night Out Celebration.

Thomas Ho provides much needed translation services at multiple Eden properties. He shares that his 30 year career as a structural engineer, while a way to make a salary, was seldom as gratifying as building relationships with people at Eden,“despite their differences in age, language, race and cultural background.”

Joanne Ikeda (wearing the corsage), recently celebrated her 70th birthday with family. She has volunteered on many projects at Eden Lodge Apartments from technology support, to art projects and holiday celebrations. She was surprised to see how little our seniors live on. “Many of them have made important contributions to society and I want to make their lives more interesting and fun,” she said. “Giving to others is one of the greatest satisfactions in life.”

One of our youngest volunteers started volunteering as a pianist (he’s been to Carnegie Hall twice)! He volunteered at Ridgeview Commons and more recently began supporting seniors at Carlow Court with their technology needs. “Their cheerfulness and love always encourages me, and helps me strive to help benefit them in any way I can,” he says of his interactions with our seniors. “Speaking Mandarin helps too!”

Prakash Narasimhalu, a volunteer with our financial opportunity corps program, provides one-on-one coaching to Eden residents. “As a first generation immigrant, I am grateful for all that this country and the community has offered, and I am always looking for ways to give back,” he says. When asked what tips he’d share about volunteering? “Be open to understanding each individual’s unique background and personality.”

Some of our volunteers, like Nelson Palacios, volunteer by supporting Eden staff, learning more about Property Management and Maintenance. Nelson always wanted to work in an office setting. He has now gained hands on experience! “I’ve learned the importance of having a good rapport with my supervisor and building trust,” he says.

Jessica Cao, a resident at Eden Palms in San Jose, chose to volunteer in her own community. After benefitting from many Eden programs, she now supports the expanded learning program as a volunteer. “I love volunteering because it gives me the opportunity to watch the kids grow. The best gift I can receive from volunteering is watching the kids grow into someone they can be proud of.”

We are so proud of the volunteers who choose to give their time to our affordable communities and residents. If you would like to volunteer with Eden Housing, please visit https://edenhousing.org/volunteer

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