Tracy Stevens has been volunteering with EOR since 2008, and is a vital part of our Art for Ethiopia planning team. I thought I would “interview” Tracy in order to share with you her experiences as an EOR Volunteer Extraordinaire!
Me: How did you hear about EOR?
Tracy: I heard about EOR when I was invited to hear Hanna Fanta of Children’s Heaven speak in Stapleton (a neighborhood in Denver). She was there to raise awareness and funds for her organization and find more sponsors for the girls she takes care of. I had been thinking about adopting from Ethiopia, which is how Emily Barr came to invite me, but when I heard Hanna speak I knew that there were ways to help many more children than I could ever adopt, and help them faster. After that presentation, I started thinking of ways I could raise money for Children’s Heaven. I had sold some of my art through my kids’ school before for fundraising purposes and I thought maybe I could find other artists and organize a show. I told my idea to Emily and she introduced me to others that would be instrumental in making this dream of a fundraiser work beyond my imagination. At our first meeting, everyone gathered around my table to plan this art event. When, several months later, we had raised 250% over the goal, and Hanna Fanta herself was there to witness it all, it made me feel so go to know that my dream was going to do so much good.
Me: Why do you volunteer with EOR?
Tracy: I volunteer with EOR because I have a lot of latitude to come up with all sorts of ideas that appeal to me, knowing that I will be taken seriously and get plenty of help in making them happen. I like how egos don’t get in the way of any person wanting to do some good in her own way. I like working with people who are all incredibly dedicated to helping – it feels good to work toward a common goal. Sometimes in my day to day life, I forget the initial inspiration, but working with everyone at EOR frequently reminds me of who still needs help. I feel that we are all here to serve others and it is so easy, rewarding, and fun to do it.
Me: How do you think EOR could do a better job utilizing its volunteers?
Tracy: I think EOR would do well to send around a survey to all its volunteers, just like schools do, asking what their interests and talents and experiences are. From there EOR could mine this for ideas. I think if you ask people directly for their help, they are far more likely to help and be very active. Without being directly addresses, sometimes people feel that they won’t know their place or might not feel welcome. This helps them to see that there is a place for everyone and that their help is help is valuable. I also think lots of different small efforts are a good thing. They don’t overwhelm people and they are more apt to participate. They are also less stressful and keep the momentum going. And they are FUN!
Me: What would you like to see EOR do in the future?
Tracy: I would like to see EOR volunteers get their neighbors together and organize multi-family garage sales to raise money for the orphanages we serve. Stapleton has a HUGE one and it wouldn’t hurt to try to get people to donate the proceeds to a good cause. You just have to ask. Also, I really am excited about the fundraising, gourmet supper clubs we are planning.
Thanks Tracy – for answering my questions and for all that you do with EOR! I think Tracy has some great suggestions and I can’t wait to start implementing them.