Many Mansions has many wonderful volunteers that contribute their time, energy, and hearts to our mission. They support our efforts to break the cycle of poverty in Ventura County, and we could not succeed without their help.
We would like to share their stories with you!
Congratulations to Larry Driscoll our Volunteer of the Month for May 2016!
Larry Driscoll joined the Many Mansions Volunteer Team about seven years ago. He is part of the Homework Tutoring Club (HTC) at Shadow Hills and has been a regular on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 6 pm since he began volunteering.
The students admire Larry for his math skills and appreciate all the help he gives with their homework. But what makes Larry a stand-out volunteer is his willingness to help support the students and staff with other projects or tasks. Even if it involves re-stuffing two beloved bean bag chairs the kids use! The chairs had gone flat from so much use so he volunteered to help fix them, and two hours later he emerged from the garage on-site covered from head to toe with Styrofoam bead stuffing but the chairs were perfectly plumped!
Larry’s professional career included a position as a senior executive for RCA. After moving to California in 1988, he became the fourth employee of DirecTV as Senior VP of Customer Care. He finished his career as an Executive VP at Balboa Insurance. He feels very fortunate that he had a good education and a successful career. Now that Larry is retired he is able to do something he has always wanted to do – “give something back”!
He grew up in Rochester, New York, close to Lake Ontario and he spent most of his spare time swimming, fishing, water skiing, and ice skating on the lake learning to love nature and the outdoors! He married his college sweetheart from The College of William and Mary, Kay Pulliam, who is still the “love of his life”! He and Kay have two grown children, Eric and Jennifer, and one grandson Brendon. Larry also volunteers at the California Wildlife Center where he particularly likes working with the raptors, and he volunteers for the Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary leading hikes and whale watches. Larry loves to hike in the Santa Monica Mountains!
His special Many Mansions moment is when one of the high school students told Larry that he wouldn’t have passed his math course without his help! Larry would like to humbly thank Many Mansions for this honor, and hopes to continue helping at HTC in the years to come.
Congratulations to Bank of America, our Volunteers of the Month for October!
We are excited to announce our Bank of America volunteers as our Volunteers of the Month for October! Every month Bank of America employees come and volunteer their time in helping over 100 families receive monthly food assistance through our FOOD Share program. We truly could not make this valuable program happen without their consistent support and want to thank them again for our long term partnership.
How long has Bank of America been volunteering in the FOOD Share program at Many Mansions?
Bank of America has worked with Many Mansions for several years, in many ways ranging from a recent $10,000 grant to our bank employee volunteers donating time to help get the great resources offered by Many Mansions to those who need it most.
What is your organization’s belief about volunteering?
Giving back to the communities where we live and work is in Bank of America’s DNA, dating back to our founder’s roots here in California. We know that life is better when we’re connected to our communities, and this is especially true through volunteerism. It’s one of the most powerful ways we make our expertise more accessible, put a human face on our company and create success that is shared. Just last year, the employees here in the Ventura and Santa Barbara markets recorded nearly 50,000 volunteer hours.
Why do you like to volunteer in this way?
One of the many ways Bank of America positively impacts the community is by partnering with nonprofits that provide basic human services to those in need, ranging from immediate access to healthy meals to emergency shelter to supportive services that help them towards financial stability. As a company, we appreciate how Many Mansions allows those in need access to food, shelter, and social services all at one stop.
If you were telling another possible volunteer why to volunteer at Many Mansions, what would you say?
We know that everyone at some time in their life faces challenges that may threaten their economic stability. By supporting Many Mansions, we can help respond to these needs, and ensure everyone has access to these basic human services. Volunteering with Many Mansions will warm your heart, knowing you are touching people’s lives. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do.
Congratulations to Missy Stansbury our Volunteer of the Month for September!
Missy Stanbury has volunteered on Thursday afternoons at the Shadow Hills Homework Tutoring Club for 4 years now. She brings a warmth and calmness to the room that makes the students feel safe in her presence and allows the quieter students that are more shy to open-up and blossom! She says that her favorite people in the world are K-12 students! She loves how they are uninhibited, extremely clever, and welcoming. She also loves how they “think outside the box”. Missy is dedicated, truly cares for each student, and she is an amazing volunteer!
Missy is retired from her court reporting career after many years. She now enjoys being a clerical worker for a small company very close to her home. She and her husband have 2 fabulous daughters! They have had many pets over the years and all but one have been rescues! Each one has become a member of their family.
She is definitely a “people person.” She loves to meet new people and learn about their lives and experiences and pick up on new ideas! Some of her favorite things are: live theater, LA Philharmonic concerts, art museums, gardening, and spending time with her friends. Missy is also a voracious reader! Since reading is such a big part of HTC, she tells the students that reading gives her a break from her daily routine, helps her relax, provides endless entertainment, and opens up whole new worlds!
Missy thinks that the HTC program that the Children Services Staff runs at Shadow Hills is awesome! The staff are wonderful teachers, motivators, and supervisors, and give the students the tools they need to succeed.
The greatest Many Mansion reward for Missy have been being able to participate in the students’ learning experiences and observe them reach for and attain their goals in a positive environment! Missy has been a big part of that positive environment.
Congratulations to Alison Cluster our Volunteer of the Month for August!
Alison Cluster is the bright and smiling face at the Main Office’s reception desk on Thursday afternoons. She is always cheerful, and accepts and executes all projects given to her with enthusiasm. She has also helped Many Mansions with the Bowls of Hope event, the Children’s Holiday Gift project, and book sorts. She has been volunteering at Many Mansions for almost 8 years. Alison, additionally, works at a preschool in Camarillo during the school year.
Her first experience at Many Mansions was with the Children’s Holiday Book Sort. She was very moved by how the community and Many Mansions working together could make such a big difference in the lives of the residents. She realized that without the community’s support, many of the programs and services just wouldn’t happen!
Alison thinks that the work that Many Mansions is doing is very important! She tells her friends that the people employed by Many Mansions are dedicated, hard-working, and very caring. She feels one could not volunteer for a more deserving organization!
Congratulations to Jennifer Thorburn our Volunteer of the Month for July!
You will find Jennifer Thorburn at the Hacienda de Feliz Community Room, Monday through Wednesday, helping the children services staff, Katie and Jen, and guiding the campers through all the fun adventures of Many Mansions’ Camp Many Mansions! Jennifer has helped out at Camp and been volunteering with the Homework Tutoring Club for past 2 years. Jennifer loves working with children, and she loves the warm and fun environment Many Mansions’ provides for them!
Jennifer just graduated from Westlake High School and will be attending UCLA in the Fall. She moved to Thousand Oaks as she was entering middle school. Her dad works at Anthem and her mom is training a guide dog. Jennifer loves to run, hike, read, and listen to music! She also enjoys baking, but is still honing her skills with this hobby.
On the first day of Summer Camp this year, as the kids just arrived, several of them ran up and gave her a big hug! That says it all right there – they love her as much as she loves them! She is a gem to the program!
Jennifer’s friends know how important volunteering at Many Mansions is to her. She shares all her stories with them. She recommends volunteering at Many Mansions to anyone who is thinking about helping out. Her experience has been so delightful that she hopes she will be back for many summers to come!
Congratulations to Diana Plotkin our Volunteer of the Month for June!
Once a month on a Wednesday, the adult residents at Hillcrest Villas are lucky to have volunteer, Diana Plotkin, grace them with her presence as she teaches the art of meditation – the art of techniques that encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things. She has been volunteering with Many Mansions for 8 months. She has studied Meditation for about 4 and 1/2 years with several renown teachers in the area. Meditation is her passion!
She is described by others as a Renaissance woman: she’s a great cook, has a green-thumb, has an artistic flair, she’s very smart, she can do almost anything, and if she doesn’t know how to do something (but wants to), she learns how! Diana is kind-hearted and compassionate: in addition to volunteering at Many Mansions she volunteers at a Food Pantry in Woodland Hills and works as Real Estate Broker/ Asset Manager consulting for a company in Brentwood.
What Diana finds special about Many Mansions is how generous and supportive the residents are to each other. She tells the people she meets that Many Mansions has an unbelievable program with support for the resident at all levels. She has never seen any other organization that does all that Many Mansions does! She looks forward to continuing to teach Meditation and to bring in more and more residents to her classes!
Congratulations to Jenny Wolpert Many Mansions Volunteer of the Year 2015!
Jenny Wolpert, a Many Mansions volunteer since 2010, has been an absolute delight and a true embodiment of an outstanding volunteer through her work ethic and care of our Many Mansions residents, specifically in our Children Services programs. Jenny always brings a positivity that is contagious among staff and children alike. Jenny responds to the needs of our resident children with care and patience and brings trusting assistance to any staff needs. Jenny has always been “present” with dedication and purpose at any volunteer task. She is also a warm, giving and thoughtful soul, it was always apparent that everything she did came straight from her big heart. Jenny has always been outstanding, helping with supervision, ensuring that the children had whatever they needed, helping in setting up and implementing activities and assisting the children in completing them, and helping them behave appropriately and be responsible. The Community Room was always a better place when Jenny and her positive spirit were in it, and it was evident that the children always felt that too. Jenny Wolpert has represented the kind of volunteer that we or anyone else would ever hope to find and have the privilege of working with, and we remain deeply appreciative of all of her time, energy and contributions.
Congratulations to the Haver Family our Volunteers of the Month for April!
The Haver’s are an inspirational family that have generously given their time, their hard work, and their compassion to Many Mansions! They help every month, on an early Saturday morning, with Food Share. Also, they have helped with the Holiday Gift program and they have done all this for over 6 years! They believe and live by a quote from Albert Einstein, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
This family includes Amanda (Mom), Drew (Dad), and their two sons Kelly (18 years old) and Will (15 years old). Amanda and Drew grew up in Thousand Oaks and have brought up their own family here, too. They love the area! Both parents are teachers in CVUSD – Amanda teaches 5th Grade at Aspen Elementary and Drew teaches 6th Grade math and science at Sycamore Canyon Elementary. Kelly is a senior and Will is a freshman at TOHS.
In the Food Share program, The Haver’s allocate all the food into bags, then use their truck to transport 36+ bags of food to Bella Vista, distribute the bags to the residents, and supervise any new volunteers in that program. Over the years, they have developed caring relationships with the residents they deliver to. One time there was a resident that wasn’t home at the time of delivery, and they learned he was in the hospital, at the end of his life, without any family. The Haver’s were very distraught and tears were shed.
On a much happier note, another resident once made them a cake in the shape of a heart – again tears (happy ones) were shed!
The family thinks that Many Mansions is an amazing organization! They feel the leaders are incredibly passionate about what they do, the organization manages incredible amounts of donations from the community wisely, and helps so many people. And just as it is delightful for us to present their story here, they tell others that volunteering for Many Mansions is a most delightful experience!
Congratulations to Nina Klein our Volunteer of the Month for March!
Nina and her husband retired 6 years ago. Having always been very engaged in her career, She began researching volunteer opportunities in the area to become engaged (this time) inher community. Many Mansions seemed to fit the bill – she volunteers once a week at the Main office’s front desk. Qualities that set her apart are her willingness to step-up whenever needed, being a go-getter, and her creativity. She has devised an outline for the move into the new office building this month and has contributed to many administrative policies and procedures. Her efforts have been, and continue to be, very much appreciated by all for the last 5 years! What drew Nina to Many Mansions, in the first place, was the wide-range of support programs for the residents, and, especially, the programs for the young students through the Homework Tutoring Club, the Teen Club, and Summer Camp. If she were to speak to potential volunteers about Many Mansions, she would mention these myriad support programs and tell them what wonderful people work for Many Mansions and that there are many satisfying volunteer opportunities open to them!
Congratulations to Stacy Hatfield our Volunteer of the Month for February!
Her bright smile and sunny disposition are always a welcome sight at the Villa Garcia HTC on Wednesdays. She also helps out with Summer Camp and many other Many Mansions’ projects. She began volunteering about four years ago, but committed on a regular basis after she graduated from college. You may find her working alongside her mother at some of these projects for her mom is a volunteer, too, and is the person who introduced Stacy to Many Mansions. Stacy volunteers to “pay it forward.” She remembers all the help she received throughout her years in school from her parents and peers, and wanted to give the same gift of “help” to others. The HTC at Many Mansions is the perfect way! She loves how her math skills are so appreciated by the students, and how students will ask for her, specifically, to help them with their homework! Stacy would encourage anyone thinking about volunteering at Many Mansions to take the leap — she finds it amazing to see how the students at HTC grow and progress from week to week and year to year with the help they receive from volunteers!