National Volunteer Week!

There is nothing quite like the feeling of making someone else’s day. Helping one another gives all parties involved a satisfied feeling of gratitude, love and a feel-good attitude. That is why we celebrate National Volunteer Week. It takes place from April 23rd-29th and recognizes those who donate their spare time to help others in need. Here at Charm City Concierge, we always find ways to give back, through our various charity drives, participating in walk-a-thons or assisting at soup kitchens. Outside of these opportunities, many of our employees do a handful of volunteering on their own. They have shared their experiences below.

Rural Dog Rescue

Our own Sara Carlson stationed at Reston Town Center volunteers her time with Rural Dog Rescue. This organization works with shelters that have kill rates of 70% or higher. Their goal is to save these animals from euthanasia and often focuses on those that usually get over looked within the shelter system like senior, injured or sick dogs.  It is 100% volunteer run through fundraising, donations, foster homes, adoption, and education efforts. Sara discovered this organization about a month ago and is excited to commit more time to them in the future.

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When asked why she was passionate about work with dogs she explained, “Growing up I was never able to have a dog due to my dad’s allergies. As soon as I lived in a house where dogs were permitted, I rescued my husky mix, Lincoln. Now, two years later, I rescued a lab puppy named Riley (pictured below). I pretty much spend all of my time with these guys and wouldn’t change it for the world.”

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Many people have an interest in volunteer work but finding the spare time is a challenge. Sara explains her role within Rural Dog Rescue and how it easily fits into her busy life, “Volunteering on the Rural Dog Rescue marketing team has been such a great fit for me. As my own dogs keep me busy, I still wanted to be able to help out when I could. By having the opportunity to volunteer online, scheduling conflicts were avoided and I am doing something I am very passionate about, saving animals!”

Pets on Wheels

Westpark Corporate Center’s concierge, Chelsea Prescott, has been volunteering with Fairfax Pets on Wheels for over a year. Fairfax Pets on Wheels is a 100% volunteer organization that services 14 different assisted living and nursing home facilities throughout Fairfax. Their volunteer group collectively spends over 8,000 hours of visitation annually at these locations with their pets. Animals provide companionship to residents that help people deal with loneliness or depression. Chelsea and her dog Moody are stationed at Powhatan Nursing Home in Falls Church.

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We asked Chelsea why she was inspired to join Pets on Wheels, “I rescued my dog Moody from a shelter during a difficult time in my life. I was struggling with isolation and falling deeper and deeper into depression. I personally understand the power of a pet’s companionship. Moody rescued me from a lot of my trouble during that time. Now that I am past those trying circumstances I am excited to share that joy with others experiencing similar emotions.”

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Chelsea shared what a typical visit to Powhatan entails, “We are welcome to come visit anytime. We sign-in and then start walking the halls. We have our regular stops in certain rooms where we know the tenant we will want to visit. Tenants pet and coo at Moody but also like to simply conversate with the owners. It’s a simple concept that has a huge impact on these wonderful people confined to the facilities.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore

Columbia Corporate Center’s concierge, Taylor Kleiner, is passionate about Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore because they work to better the lives of children and their families whether they live in, or are just traveling through, Baltimore. The House provides a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families and helps to fund programs in the area that directly improve the well-being of children. Support in the form of time, talents, funds, and materials are important to the running of the facility, and have come from individuals, businesses, fraternal and community organizations. The compassion of these men and women has resulted in a haven that shelters families and sees them through a period of unthinkable stress. They are supported by local donations, managed by a local Board of Directors and all money donated goes directly to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore and its programs.

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The House welcomes volunteers from all walks of life. There are countless ways to volunteer- cook dinner for the families staying in the House, host a fundraising event, plan an activity hour or make a comfort kit- just to name a few.

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For ongoing and one time volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals, contact Amber Rose at aroser@rmhc.org.

Chapelgate Presbyterian Church

Columbia Gateway’s Community Manager, Ashley Mears, volunteers for her church frequently and in many ways! Sometimes it’s to serve the community and sometimes it’s to serve fellow church members. They have a fully staffed counseling center, free English classes for non-native speakers, a Divorce Recovery support group, the list goes on. She is so proud of the work her church does to support the community of the Greater Baltimore Area! Below are some things she has done recently:

• Spring and Fall Days of Service – Twice a year they get teams together to do yard work and light repairs for members of the church who can’t do it themselves.

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Rebuilding Together – provides free home repairs to low income residents of the county.

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• Block Party – a big event for middle and high school students from the church and community.
• Fall Harvest Fest – a huge festival put on for the community.
• Easter Egg Hunt – annual Easter Egg Hunt where you can volunteer to fill 10,000 eggs, prepare crafts and story time. Usually about 500 children attend. It’s one of the biggest egg hunts in the county.

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• Kaleidoscope – children’s ministry group.
• Easter Lilies – volunteer to sell Easter Lilies and donate them in honor or memory of a loved one.
Helping Up Mission – travel here to help to serve food or play games with the men.
• Refugee Families – recently put together a small church team to “sponsor” a refugee family from Eritrea who needs help acclimating to the area.

World Missions Outreach

Our graphic designer, Tracey Hirsch, recently volunteered with World Missions Outreach in Nicaragua during a week-long mission trip. World Missions Outreach aims to equip people with the right tools to combat the root of poverty, not just the symptoms, through education, nutrition & discipleship.

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During her trip, she helped distribute over 800 book bags filled with school supplies, served at several of their 70 feeding programs that provide 15,000 meals a day, and assisted in teaching self-sustainability education.

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Once she returned, she held a fundraiser which raised almost $400 and now sponsors a child in Nicaragua to help support her education.

Thank you for all you do ladies!

Written by, Kayla M.
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