To celebrate Florida Volunteer Month, the #VF30in30 initiative recognized 30 volunteers by featuring one every day in April. At the start of a new month, Volunteer Florida would also like to recognize exceptional state agency employees who volunteer in their communities.
“We’re thrilled that #VF30in30 recognized volunteers who are actively serving and making a lasting, positive impact in Florida,” said Vivian Myrtetus, Chief Executive Officer of Volunteer Florida. “These state agency employees are strengthening the fabric of our communities and making Florida a great place to live.”
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
Volunteer: Rose Hebert
Service Area: North, Mid and South Florida
Organization: Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Organization
Volunteer Service: Rose Hebert has volunteered with Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Organization (HOBY) for 13 years in various roles throughout each of Florida’s HOBY regions. She has served as an alumni volunteer and facilitator at regional seminars; as a director throughout the seminar-planning year; and most recently, as a Corporate Board Member of the Florida Leadership Foundation, the parent non-profit of the North and Mid Florida HOBY seminars.
HOBY, an international non-profit, maintains values of excellence, integrity, diversity volunteerism and community partnership. This organization, led by dedicated volunteers, strives to motivate and empower individuals to make a positive difference within our global society, through understanding and action, based on effective and compassionate leadership.
Why I Serve: “I mark the weekend that I attended my South Florida HOBY seminar in 2005 as the beginning of what I intend to be my lifelong commitment to service. Empowering young leaders to bring life to their ideas, and to create a support network that will carry them through the future, continues to feel like one of the most valuable investments of my time. I go back every year to help recreate that learning experience for the next group. Doing good always feels greater than doing well. It’s outstanding!”
Florida Agency for State Technology
Volunteer: Robert Schank
Service Area: North Florida
Organization: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Charities
Volunteer Service: As a volunteer with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Charities (commonly referred to as Mormon Helping Hands), Rodney Schank regularly helps individuals and communities in need. After Hurricane Irma devastated Jacksonville, he and his team camped in tents on church grounds and rose with the sun to remove fallen trees from roads and yards, cutting them up and hauling them away one by one. They also cleaned out houses that had significant water damage, moving drywall outside so it wouldn’t mold.
Why I Serve: “When I was growing up, my father taught me the importance of helping those in need. I know that I have been truly blessed in my life, and I have skills that others do not have. This allows me the opportunity to share them. To receive a hug or see tears shed when we complete a task – that’s what makes it worth it.”
Florida Department of Highway Saftey & Motor Vehicles
Volunteers: Lieutenant Lawrence Litzell, Trooper Larry Favors, Trooper Ahkem Jordan and Trooper Michael Elder
Service Area: North Florida
Organization: William D. Moseley Elementary School
Volunteer Service: On March 14, Lieutenant Lawrence Litzell, Trooper Larry Favors, Trooper Ahkem Jordan and Trooper Michael Elder from Florida Highway Patrol Troop G (based in Jacksonville) volunteered at a Future Leaders Program at William D. Mosley Elementary School. The troopers helped students unload meals donated by the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Team to be sent home with children who otherwise would not have food. After unloading the meals, the troopers met with the students, asking about their interests, passions and goals and discussing how they can become future leaders.
Why We Serve: “The Florida Highway Patrol and its members are proud to volunteer in their communities. The young men and women that our troopers educate are the future of our great state.”
Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
Volunteer: Jennifer Schul
Service Area: North Florida
Organization: Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare
Volunteer Service: The Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) serves as a resource for leadership, colleagues and shared governance within Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH), and provides an opportunity for the organization to listen to their healthcare consumers and community members.
Jennifer has served as a Patient and Family Advisor (PFA) since 2015, actively participating in the development of new programs and offering input into TMH’s processes and programs. Because she had her son at TMH, she is also a member of the Women and Children’s Relationship Based Care Team, allowing her to be a voice for mothers and their family members.
Why I Serve: “I decided to become a PFA in order to give new mothers, like myself, a voice. A child being born is one of the most memorable events for parents, so I want TMH to provide the best facility and care for the families as possible. Even with patient surveys, individuals may feel their complaints and suggestions are not heard. By TMH creating an entire department for Patient-Centered Care, they have demonstrated their desire to meet the needs of their patients by giving volunteers, like myself, a direct line of communication with the TMH Board and hospital leadership.”
Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities
Volunteers: Family Care Council
Service Area: Statewide
Organization: Family Care Council
Volunteer Service: The Family Care Council consists of 180 Governor-appointed volunteers with developmental disabilities or parents, siblings, grandparents and guardians of individuals who qualify for services from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). They dedicate their time to educate, empower and advocate for Floridians with developmental disabilities and their families to promote effective change in their local communities.
These volunteers mentor families, meet with legislators, host educational forums and more. They also partner with APD and other stakeholders to ensure self-advocates and families have input in statewide policies.
Why We Serve: “A diagnosis of a developmental disability is often associated with a loss of independence and self-sufficiency, but with support – a little care and collaboration – individuals and families can thrive and live full, happy lives.”