Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer of the Month

March 1, 2019

Stephanie Noel
Name:  Stephanie Noel
Property:  Vandenburgh Villa

Why did you choose to volunteer with Eden Housing? 

Eden’s long history of serving those with low-income and it’s overall mission of providing the human necessity of safe, decent, and affordable housing resonate with me greatly. As someone who has had the privilege to have been raised in an upper middle class neighborhood, I feel that the aspect of having all the luxuries I have had are much overlooked by my community. I choose to volunteer for Eden to give back to those who have not had the same privileges I have been granted. 

What have you done as a volunteer?  Please describe your role and what you have worked on. 

I volunteer as an art teacher for seniors at Vandenburgh Villa in Livermore. With the help of Resident Service Coordinator, Stephanie Santarina, I am able to lead art classes once every two weeks for Vandenburgh. We have done numerous art projects ranging from acrylic painting to origami to clay and so much more. Residents end each class with their own, self-made art to take home!

What have you learned through your volunteer experience?  Have there been any surprises? 

I have learned how to function as a leader and a teacher despite the often occurring language barrier! Communicating through the little Mandarin that I know to the large Chinese community at Vandenburgh along with carefully demonstrating how to create an art project without using language has been a great learning experience. I have learned that seniors are a great community to work with. They are so very appreciative of the art classes, very polite, and are also very funny! Initially when I started as an art teacher, I was surprised at how friendly and inviting the residents were to me. I was almost a bit nervous at first that they might not like me but they warmed up to me quickly and have always been so welcoming and kind.

What do you like best about volunteering with Eden Housing? 

I really enjoy the community aspect of volunteering with Eden. I like being able to be a part of bringing the community together and providing art that everyone can connect through. 

Are there any tips that you would share for someone else who is considering volunteering? 

Don’t be afraid to start! Volunteering is an extremely rewarding experience. Being able to sacrifice your time to make someone else happy brings a happiness that can’t be achieved anywhere else. 

Tell us something we may not know about you. Any interesting facts you’d like to share about your life? 

I have always been more “right-brained.” Aside from art, music is a huge part of my life. I have been playing piano since I was 6 and along with that play the guitar, tenor saxophone, ukulele, and flute. I was trained to play classical piano but switched over to playing jazz when I was around 15. I also have perfect pitch meaning I can recognize a pitch, note, etc. when I hear it.