By: Yer Thao
At Rainbow Village, we always look forward to days of service in which corporations, organizations and individual volunteers arrive on our campus to pour into the community and give back with their time and talents. This is certainly the case with Robert D. Fowler YMCA, which has been a partner to Rainbow Village for nearly six years. This wonderful organization not only serves by helping us with maintenance activities throughout the facility, but also by providing other programs for Rainbow Village residents. For instance, the Y offers a Holiday Camp where the children of Rainbow Village can learn and have fun over holiday break while their parents work. It also offers a Leadership Program geared to our teenagers that instills them with a sense of confidence while providing them with some very important skills to succeed in high school and beyond.
On their most recent day of service, Mark Thornell, Executive Director of the Robert D. Fowler YMCA, led the group of volunteers. This amazing crew tackled everything from pulling weeds from our landscaped beds to cleaning out an apartment for an incoming family to pressure washing some of the buildings. These actions not only help us maintain the facility, but they’re also helping us build a better and stronger community.
Chairman of the Board, Eric Mai, kept busy on many different cleaning projects throughout the morning. When asked about his reason for volunteering, he stated, “I have been associated with the Fowler Y for the last 6 years. [Rainbow Village] is one of these partners that gives back and helps people to get back on their feet and kind of create a strong life and that’s also what the YMCA is all about… creating culture and an environment where people can be safe and be at their best.”
Not only does Eric serve others with a giving heart, he shares about his own past experiences where people have really invested in him, “I really became passionate about volunteering in general because throughout my life people have given to me and, as you start to let that resonate with you, you begin to see the value in that and create opportunities to give and serve.”
Throughout the morning volunteers collected litter and swept leaves off the sidewalk, all the while enjoying a beautiful Fall day as they worked as a small group for a larger community that they viewed as their own. One volunteer, Deborah McGunner, expressed that this was her first time working with the Y and Rainbow Village. “I love to help people and communities. The people here are great and what Rainbow Village does has definitely touched my heart.”
Jessica Blalock, who has been with the YMCA for several years and does volunteer work with her husband, Colin, stated, “I am retired and for the past ten years I do volunteer work and it’s an extension of what I like do and I really enjoy it. When you walk away, you know that it’s made someone’s life better in some small way and I can’t do a lot, but I can do a little bit and that to me is important.”
The volunteers ended their morning of success with a well-deserved picnic of cold lemonade and sandwiches, making the Rainbow Village facility a little better in their own small way.