When Dawn LaSpisa became a Special Events Project Assistant intern in February 2020, she was excited about working with Lighthouse Guild clients and volunteers. She got off to a great start, interacting with both groups at a GuildCare Valentine’s Day event. But no sooner had she begun when the COVID 19 pandemic led to a halt in GuildCare activities—and a four-month halt in opportunities for Dawn to build on that experience.

But come July, Dawn more than made up for the downtime, working with the Volunteer Resources team to identify new ways to serve. At that time, recruitment for Accounts Receivable interns was underway, so Dawn got busy preparing interview packets, screening resumes for Chief Volunteer Officer Cheryl Pemberton-Graves and other administrative heads, and handling resume data entry. A quick study, she also took the initiative by helping to interview candidates after watching how others did so.

The new year brought new responsibilities. When Lighthouse Guild partnered with the Foodbank to prepare clients’ tax returns, Dawn uploaded client tax documents. Her technical skills have also been put to good use in improving the volunteer timekeeping system. In addition, Dawn pitched in to assist reading pairs when other volunteers were unavailable. And, as Lighthouse Guild gears up to launch its Technology Center, Dawn has been working with local high schools to recruit juniors and seniors who can train clients to use various iPhone applications; these include an app that helps people who are visually impaired identify currency denominations; and the Navilens app, which provides assistance in navigating unfamiliar places, such as public buildings and bus and train stations.

In the short time Dawn has been involved with Lighthouse Guild, she has served more than any other volunteer during the same period: an impressive 538 hours during an especially challenging time for the organization, its clients, and volunteers. Looking ahead, she hopes that when it is safe for GuildCare to resume in-person activities, she can once again participate in special events. She is also learning about Reading Services programs so that she can fill in when needed.

Working with Lighthouse Guild is amazingly rewarding because everyone is so thankful, personable, and upbeat. There are always interesting new opportunities to serve, and I’m grateful to be a part of this effort.

Dawn LaSpisa, Volunteer
Dawn LaSpisa, volunteer

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