Volunteer team of 120 gives back to Sherwood
To keep the city of Sherwood a well-oiled machine, it takes professional staff and volunteers. Tammy Steffens, volunteer coordinator for the city, said plenty of folks of all ages take the time to volunteer.
"We really rely on volunteers to help with so many things that staff alone would not be able to accomplish," Steffens said, pointing out that there are — as of July — about 120 active volunteers. "We have volunteer opportunities in almost every department within the city."
Volunteers come in a wide variety of ages. "There is no maximum age," Steffens said. "We have a lot of senior volunteers over at the senior center, but I have some at the library as well."
The young also are welcome. "We really try to offer opportunities for everybody," Steffens said. "If families want to get their kids involved in volunteering, I'm all about that. I think it's an important way to teach your children to give back."
Local police, for instance, receive an added boost from volunteers. "We have volunteers over at the police department that help with emergency management," Steffens said, noting that volunteers assist with clerical tasks, such as filing. There's a relatively new cadet program, as well as a reserve program that's getting started."
Volunteers keep the Marjorie Stewart Community Center an active venue for Sherwood's seniors. Volunteers help with classes, lunch services and front desk assignments.
"Even though our staff over there are rock stars, we would not be able to do everything we do at the senior center without volunteers," Steffens said. "There's just no way."
Interested citizens can learn how a city operates by volunteering in a wide variety of ways.
"We have an intern right now for our legal counsel," Steffens said. "She is a student down at the University of Oregon but she's up here for the summer. She's doing great."
You're likely to run into a volunteer at the library.
"Down in the library, I have volunteers who help with a variety of things," she said. "It really makes a big difference to staff. It allows staff to focus on providing different programs for patrons in the community."
One particular library volunteer, Sherwood High School student Precious Vang, was honored at a recent city council meeting. Steffens said of Vang, "She is getting ready to leave for college — this year it seems like we have a lot of our library volunteers leaving for college. It's bittersweet. We would love to see them continue on and grow — we hate to lose them and have that connection not as strong."
Steffens said the city benefits from the large collection of volunteers. "There's such a resource of skilled volunteers out there," Steffens said. "We have been so fortunate to be able to reap those benefits and rewards by having them join our team. It's really been beneficial."
If you're interested in volunteering, you may visit the website sherwoodoregon.gov/volunteer. "Anybody who's interested in plugging in and giving back to the community, we would have something that would fit their time availability, their needs, their interest [and] their skill level," Steffens said.
She added, "It (volunteering) is a great opportunity to get plugged into your community, to give back, to be involved, to take ownership and have pride in this great community — I have that pride in this community. I think it's just a fantastic place.
"I talk with volunteer coordinators with other municipalities and other libraries, and I just really feel a little bit spoiled here as volunteer coordinator, because we have such incredible community members who do want to give back."
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