Congratulations to Jennifer Barnes, our Super Volunteer of the Year for 2019!
If you have volunteered for EBP, then you’ve talked with Jennifer, our Volunteer Coordinator. Eli’s Block Party coordinates hundreds of people volunteering their time and effort in a variety of ways and at a variety of levels ultimately toward one goal - to fight childhood cancer. We would not exist without our volunteers. We strive to create a positive experience for our volunteers of any level so that they feel ownership of what we are doing.
When I, Eli's mom, began to assemble the core team to run EBP in 2015, I knew that an organized, dedicated, and motivated volunteer corps was integral to our existence and success. But, not only was I busy with organizing the general operations of the company, I am not whom we want, or whom we need, to be the face and personality out there encouraging people to work for us for free! We would have quickly met our demise!
Jennifer was the first person that I wanted to recruit as a “Zone Leader” for EBP and I specifically wanted her as the Volunteer Coordinator because she would be dealing with the public. We have known each other for 20 years, so I knew that people of all ages responded to her. She is friendly and fun without compromising responsibility or urgency. She is kind and patient without being a push-over. She is diligent and accountable in her word and logistically smart and creative. I knew that if she agreed to be our Volunteer Coordinator, I would never have to think about it again for as long as she was in that role.
Coordinating volunteers is one of the main spokes in our wheel, and with the number of people we need throughout the year, it is job-level effort almost all year long. Jennifer works and has four active kids, so I’m not sure where the time is that she gives to us. She has established relationships with local businesses, groups, schools, and churches to provide people as volunteers. She fields inquiries from individuals who wish to volunteer their time and works with them to get them involved. She coordinates with teenagers that want service hours. She creates the time slots for our events so that the event is appropriately covered and the time these volunteers are donating is properly utilized.
But, Jennifer is not the only one that does “job-level” work for EBP. We have many special people working for us. We couldn’t do any of it without them either, and I try to make sure they each know that. We chose Jennifer for this year’s individual recognition because she has been with us from the beginning at a high level of responsibility and she has grown the area. She gets her entire family involved in different ways, like filling volunteer time slots or being a Superhero for Superhero Day. She chases down promised donations from corporations, she maintains relationships with our volunteers and seeks out additional resources. And when we told her that she had been “elected” to be the “Assistant Event Coordinator” for Superhero Day just in case I was sick on that day and couldn’t come, she didn’t blink. She took it on, meeting with me several times about parts of the event that had nothing to do with her own responsibilities at the event.
So, for these reasons, she is our Volunteer of the Year 2019! We are so happy to have Jennifer representing EBP and grateful for her attention and work.