Joni Zaiser, The Girl Gives Back

Joni Zaiser
The Girl Gives Back

Describe the organization you volunteer for and your role(s) in the foundation.

The Hope Center is a day center for people who are without homes and/or living in poverty. We offer a safe environment and many crucial services, such as a mail center which provides 2,100+ people with a permanent address, a phone/messaging center, short- and long-term storage for personal items and important documents. The Soap for Hope laundry center offers free laundry services to our guests. We also offer daily devotion time, AA groups, various classes, free haircuts, mentoring programs and advocacy opportunities.

Tell us something about the journey that led you to the organization.

In 2016, I attended the Hope Center fund-raisers; “Mom Prom” and “Mixer for Hope.” At these events I liked the message I heard, I listened to what one of the volunteers from the Hope Center had to say about how much his life had improved with the help of the staff and volunteers. He said they helped him find the resources he needed to succeed, they really cared about him and others, and that they gave him “hope.” The story touched my heart and I decided this was the organization I wanted to be involved with.

What motivates you to stay involved?

I stay involved because of the people and their needs. The Hope Center is such a positive, caring and compassionate environment that I really enjoy being a part of. Everything we do for the guests depends on donations and it’s wonderful to see how generous people in the community are. It has been really great developing relationships with the guests, and I enjoy having them share their stories and experiences with me.

Describe one of your favorite moments you’ve experienced while volunteering.

It’s always exciting and rewarding anytime the guests succeed in something they have worked so hard to achieve, such as getting a job, a place to live, staying sober or other ways that help make their lives better.

Why do you believe it is important to volunteer?

I think it’s important to be involved and to give back to the community. It has meaning. It’s rewarding and a great learning experience. I like to think anyone can make a difference in someone’s life because the people and experiences here have definitely made a difference in mine.

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