Congratulations to our All-Star Volunteers!
(Photo: THRIVE Executive Director Angela York, Beka Garber, and THRIVE Program Services Manager Mary Ritzlaff)
Beka does a little of everything at THRIVE. Depending on the day and time, she’s doing something different or just filling the current need. Over a year ago, she was searching for purpose in her life and Googled “volunteer opportunities near me.” THRIVE was the first organization that popped up, and she applied immediately.
She is rewarded every time a client opens up to her. She’s had heard everything from a brand new adoptive mom of three to a young woman who just didn't make enough money to eat and pay rent, to a gentleman who was struggling in life because of a paperwork error. The ones that choose to share their story with her make her feel like all the work she puts in is worth it because through THRIVE she has made a difference.
Beka says the best part of her job is the people. “There are so many absolutely beautiful souls at THRIVE, people who just want to work hard and help others. What we do is so important to families of all sizes. There is no greater blessing than making a difference, and THRIVE is the place to do just that.”
In her free time, Beka loves to cook, craft, and coach Roller Derby.
(Photo: THRIVE Executive Director Angela York, Claire Rooney, and THRIVE Program Services Manager Mary Ritzlaff)
Because she works a full-time job, Claire comes in the evenings and does any catch-up packing, scanning, or data entry that needs to be done. She also does weekly informational videos for THRIVE's Instagram page and represents THRIVE at various off-site functions. She started volunteering during her freshman year at CNU, and has continued through graduation.
Claire says there is something so rejuvenating about working for a cause that you are passionate about. “I love that THRIVE is about boots on the ground work, and that I get to share that with other people.” Whether it's on social media, at a fundraiser or volunteer fair, the favorite part of her job is explaining to people how cool this organization is, how quickly it’s growing, and how they can be a part of it. Claire points out that hunger and housing are tangible needs, and so the work at THRIVE comes with tangible, short-term, results. While there is no such thing as a quick fix to problems like food insecurity or financial disparity, at THRIVE you get to help put food on people's table every day
Claire graduated from CNU in May with majors in Business Management and Leadership Studies. She now works in the President's Office at CNU learning as much as she can about executive leadership and how to be a productive piece in the puzzle of life.
(Photo: THRIVE Executive Director Angela York, Terrye Williams, and THRIVE Program Services Manager Mary Ritzlaff)
After retiring as pastor from Hilton Christian, Terrye began volunteering at THRIVE to continue to live out her call to ministry. THRIVE is what she believes the church is called to be, living out the gospel every day to folks who need to experience the Good News in action.
Terrye schedules client appointments for food pick-up, completes data entry, and performs any other job she might be needed to do. She recently completed the 20-hour Virginia Extension Master Financial Coach training and is looking forward to serving as a financial coach. She loves talking with people on the phone, making them feel comfortable, and even laughing with them. She appreciates how the community comes together to support the food needs by donating to THRIVE, as well as those who show up faithfully to fill pantry orders and deliver groceries to those who have no transportation.
Terrye has two daughters, four grandchildren, and four (plus one on the way) great-grandchildren! She also volunteers at a Comfort Zone Camp, that serves children ages 7-17 who have lost loved ones. She continues to fill pulpits for ministers who need a break, and also serves as preacher periodically at local assisted living centers.
(Photo: THRIVE Executive Director Angela York, Bill Espich, and THRIVE Program Services Manager Mary Ritzlaff)
Bill has been a Financial Coach for THRIVE for almost four years. After suggesting that THRIVE provide coaches to help clients manage their expenses, he tried recruiting members of his church, Hidenwood Presbyterian to volunteer. Before convincing others, however, he decided to try out on his own. His success enabled more volunteers to sign on and be trained.
When clients come in for an appointment, they learn about the coaching program “Level-Up,” and then actively participate, they show improvement in their financial lives. Bill tries to give them the confidence boost to stay in the program and follow the budget they’ve constructed themselves. A counseling program that just began with just one person has grown to include over a dozen trained financial counselors who pass on tips for constructing and maintaining a budget that has clients living within their means. All THRIVE Financial coaches are volunteers who have taken a 20-hour Master Financial Educator Course through the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office. The financial service, combined with the direct assistance of emergency rent, utility payments, and food assistance, provide a helping hand that enables clients to stay in their homes and care for their families.
Bill is retired, has two grown daughters and four grandchildren. He is active as a volunteer at Hidenwood Presbyterian Church. Bill says that THRIVE is a great place to volunteer because everyone is busy with meaningful work. THRIVE is growing, and needs more people to volunteer for the wide range of volunteer tasks available.