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2016 Volunteers of the Year John & Jackie Treuting of Loaves and Fishes Ministries with Step Up Program Manager Jill Drenth
It has been said the character and strength of a community may be measured by its volunteers. So it is right that today, April 2oth, Step Up salutes its volunteers and supporters as part of Volunteer Recognition Day, an annual celebration honoring individuals who dedicate themselves to taking action on a variety of issues in their communities.
We are pleased to announce the 2016 Step Up Volunteer couple of the Year are John & Jackie Treuting of Loaves and Fishes Ministries (shown above). The Treuting’s gather and donate items for Welcome Home! kits providing the necessities of daily living: bedding, lamps, laundry & cleaning supplies, kitchen supplies, cutlery, cookware, storage bins, and small appliances.
“Volunteers, such as the Treuting’s, who provide Welcome Home! kits help individuals formerly experiencing homelessness to comfortably settle into housing and a rich array of supportive services. Addtionally, and very importantly, all the support groups offered at Step Up are run by volunteers who help open doors of opportunity and pave avenues of success. ” said Carolyn Baker, VP of Community Development. “Step Up volunteers are the local heroes providing a vital service in the community and I want to publicly thank each of them for their dedication and passion, and to recognize their immense contribution!”
“As we celebrate Volunteer Recognition Day, we embrace our shared responsibility to one another and recommit to the task of healing and sustaining ALL members of the community.”, said Baker. “I am extremely grateful for the efforts of our dedicated local volunteers, and welcome other members of the community joining us. One particular need we still have is for a volunteer Volunteer Coordinator!” added Baker.
Celebrate Volunteer Recognition Day and share your personal volunteer story on Twitter and Instagram using #NVW2016.
If you are interested in volunteering at Step Up, please download the application, fill it out and send it to:
Step Up Community Development 1460 4th Street, Suite 205 Santa Monica, CA 90401
Thank you for your interest!
Download Volunteer Application (PDF)
Interested in an internship with Step Up? Please use the application below:
Download Internship Application (PDF)
Download Acrobat Reader
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do, Phil: Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve been motivated to help other people become more empowered and successful. Professionally speaking, I’m a business and sales coach. I work with companies and professionals develop the strategies, actions, and mindset to grow their businesses. I’m also the author of two business/sales books.
Why do you care about the issues of homelessness and mental illness? My older brother is affected by severe mental illness. His ongoing struggle has had a profound impact on me and on my family. Four years ago, I was introduced to the work of Step Up. I was immediately attracted to the agency’s mission and the vision and I volunteered to become a board member. I love serving on Step Up’s board of directors. We all share a passion for alleviating homelessness and facilitating the recovery of people affected by mental illness. I also serve as chairperson of the Public Relations Committee whose mission is to raise community awareness and eliminate stigma.
Tell us more about your connection to Step Up: I am a big believer in Step Up’s work. The organization is nationally recognized for its effective and compassionate support and recovery services for individuals affected by severe mental illness. Most of all it’s an organization with heart. After joining the board, I wanted to get more involved with the members and see what was happening on the inside. I volunteered to facilitate a writing group. Every week I come down to Step Up and run the group. It’s an amazing experience. We have animated discussions about the members’ challenges with their illness, recovery, stigma, self-esteem, homelessness, etc. Then I have them write articles about their personal views and experiences. Their articles, stories, and poems are raw and real expressions about mental illness, stigma, recovery, and life. I’ve seen people with very little writing experience articulate their truth in beautiful, stirring pieces. Some of the pieces completely blow me away! I’m constantly amazed by the writers’ artistry, insight, courage, and passion.
Three or four times a year, we publish their articles in a newspaper called Brainstorm. We distribute it to the Santa Monica Library, coffee shops, and local social service agencies. Some of the articles have even been picked up by the Santa Monica Daily Press. We post the articles online at www.stepuponsecond.org/ourmembers/brainstorm.html. We recently published a compilation of articles in a book called The Heart Speaks.
How do you feel the writing group benefits the members? Art heals. It helps channel thoughts and emotions and facilitates self-expression, self-understanding, and self-esteem. One member recently said to me, “I can’t tell you how much writing this article has helped me process my thoughts and feelings and get clarity around some of my issues.” I was so moved when I heard that. The members constantly express their gratitude and appreciation for the work we do in the writing group and for the quality of the support they receive at Step Up.
In what ways has volunteering benefited you personally? My involvement with the members and the board has been one of the most rewarding and inspiring experiences of my life. I am proud to be involved with such a wonderful organization and wonderful people. I’ve become friends with many of the members and with my colleagues on the board. Every time I volunteer, I feel I am making a difference. I encourage people to volunteer their energy to a cause or organization to which they feel a personal connection. Not only will it help your cause and make the world a better place, it will change your life!
Phil Glosserman is a member of Step Up Board of Directors.
Step Up on Second Founder Susan Dempsay and Jacob Ramsey who was honored as “Step Up’s 2014 Volunteer of the Year”
Jacob Ramsey, winner of “Daily Point of Light”, received a proclamation from the City of Santa Monica.
Jacob Ramsey was honored as “Step Up’s 2014 Volunteer of the Year” and received a proclamation from the City of Santa Monica.
Jacob Ramsey is a resident at Step Up and a past member of its Board of Directors.
When asked why he cares about the issues of homelessness and mental illness Jacob replies, “SUOS has been a part of my life since the nineties and I am just paying forward everything I have gained in life and at Step Up. Being of service as a volunteer is something I enjoy as much as sports, music, and reading.”
When asked in what ways has volunteering benefited you personally, he smiles and says, “I get a sense of self worth, love, and gratitude by being able to meet the needs of members, people, and friends at Step Up.”
Jacob facilitates six self-help groups each week at Step Up:
“The groups give the members a feeling of connection with the community. A place where members feel they are cared for and understood. They don’t care how much I know they want to know how much I care, and they realize that when they find out I have been facilitating self help support groups for many, many years.”
Congratulations Jacob on being named Step Up’s 2014 Volunteer of the Year!
Les Jones is a resident at Step Up and a past member of its Board of Directors.
When asked why he cares about the issues of homelessness and mental illness Les replies,
“I have spent much of my adult life homeless. I understand what it is like to be in that position. In the mid 90s my sister talked to me about seeing a doctor, but the stigma was too much for me. Finally in 2000 after being homeless again, I gave up and sought help. Now medication helps me so much and life really is different. I feel calm and alive.”
When asked in what ways has volunteering benefited you personally, he smiles and says,
“after about a month of being at Step up I volunteered to help take care of the computers. I get so much out of my work at Step Up. It is great to see someone who is totally afraid of computers take the step to show up and sit before them and learn. I really work hard to validate those individuals for being there and to try to make them feel at ease.”
The program Les started has grown into the Step up Learning Center where members can learn skills for the workplace or just for personal enrichment on 13 computers.
The recent Floral Design Workshop conductedby volunteer facilitator Jill Bogan and Step Upstaff was a tremendous success. In
Members of Step Up come from a variety of different backgrounds, but the recovery-oriented services offered are the same – they focus on the strengths of the individual, promoting collaboration and autonomy. One of the key factors associated with recovery from mental health issues is the phenomenon of hope – anticipation of a future which is good, a sense of personal competence, well-being, purpose and meaning in life, a sense of “the possible”.
There appears to be an intrinsic relationship between nature and hope. A floral arranging class was recently conducted at Step Up by volunteer facilitator Jill Bogan and staff. Jill brought in a variety of chrysanthemums and lemon leaf. The purple and yellow elements introduced participants to the concept of complimentary colors. The beautiful natural elements in the flower arranging class helped participants experience:
Participants enjoyed Jill and the flower arranging class tremendously saying, “The floral arranging class was very therapeutic and made me happy.” said Step Up member Juan C. “I thought it was great, it was a good way of expressing how I feel non-verbally. I enjoyed it a lot.” added Dana L. “It was fun and interesting. I got to be an artist.” concluded Stephen H.
There may be something in nature associated with providing hope and this might, ultimately, be the most beneficial aspect of this type of class! Thank you Jill Bogan!