Eden Updates, Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer of the Month

August 5, 2020

Name:  Dustin Wong
Property: Alta Mira, Eden Issei Terrace,
Hana Gardens, Hayward Senior

Why did you choose to volunteer with Eden Housing?

I actually started volunteering with Eden Housing before I started working for Eden Housing.  As I was exploring a career change into the non-profit sector, Eden Housing checked off a lot of the boxes for me for the type of mission and organization I was looking to work for.  I applied for a number of positions over several months, but nothing quite came to fruition.  I decided that even if I wasn’t going to work for Eden, I believed in the mission enough that I wanted to contribute in any way that I could, and that is when I started volunteering.

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

I started volunteering at Alta Mira assisting with the after-school tutoring program and teaching Zumba classes.  Once I started working with Eden, I started to help out with the Mercy Brown Bag grocery distribution by picking up bags of groceries from Eden Issei and helping to distribute them at Hayward Senior.  I organized a group of volunteers from my church to help with a “Dump Day” where we picked up and hauled junk from Hayward Senior apartments to a large dumpster.  At the grand opening for Hana Gardens, I helped teach attendees how to fold origami flowers in homage to Hana Gardens’ past life as a Japanese flower shop.  I also proudly volunteered at Alta Mira’s holiday party and dressed up as a holiday-neutral Gingerbread Man!

Dump Day at Hayward Senior with fellow church volunteers.
Alta Mira’s Holiday Party as Gingerbread Man

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

In my line of work, I constantly look at resident names across all of Eden’s properties.  When I volunteer or attend an event, I sometimes meet one of those names and then that name becomes a person to me.  This reminds me that every action I take at work, no matter how small, matters in a big way to each individual that lives at one of our properties.  That’s what drives me to do my work excellently.

What do you like best about volunteering with Eden Housing?

I love that working and volunteering at Eden Housing opens up so many volunteer opportunities.  I can directly inquire about ways I can help, but at the same time, as my co-workers get to know my passions and talents, they can identify ways to ask me directly for help.

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

Looking back on all the volunteer experiences I had with Eden, my advice would be:

  1. Just be available
  2. Use your passions and talents
  3. Get your friends involved if possible
  4. Don’t be afraid to answer “yes” and try something new (dressing up as a Gingerbread Man is not something I would normally choose)!

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

I really love ice cream and would always keep a stash at the office.  It would be my afternoon pick-me-up to get me through a long day.