SFBFS Volunteer Spotlight- July 2012
As a mother and grandmother, Rosemary Guzman enjoys watching children learn, adapt and grow in healthy and caring environments.
"I love children, so I decided to dedicate myself to them," Rosemary said.
As a volunteer for Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services’ (SFBFS) Youth Education program, Rosemary provides an educational and nurturing environment to some of SFBFS’ smallest clients. Over the past three years, Rosemary acquired special bonds with the children in the program. For Rosemary, the opportunity to watch children grow and learn about themselves and their environments is a unique and fulfilling aspect to volunteering.
"You get to know each child and their personalities. And I grow attached working with some of the kids…and the kids grow close to me," Rosemary said. Rosemary web
After working 27 years at UC Davis Medical Center’s emergency room as a hospital unit coordinator, Rosemary wanted the opportunity to work within her community and especially with children. So she enrolled in Sacramento County’s Foster Grandparent Program, a program which places senior volunteers in settings where they can mentor and tutor children. Not long after, Rosemary found volunteer work at SFBFS and quickly became a familiar fixture in the Youth Education program.
Rosemary works with toddlers in Playcare Academy reading stories, singing songs and practicing colors, numbers and shapes. She also works with older children in After School Academy as a tutor, mentor and homework assistant.
Aurelia Garcia, Youth Education Program Manager, explains that Rosemary is a volunteer filling the role of a fulltime staff member. She is extremely dedicated and committed to the program and children, staying longer hours, serving on her days off and attending trainings to improve her skills and curriculum for the program. As a direct result, the children Rosemary works with show dramatic improvements in their grades and behavior. Antonio, a third grade student in the After School Academy struggled in Language Arts before working with Rosemary. Antonio recently received 100% on his spelling test and continues to improve on his test scores. Other toddlers and students have given Rosemary flowers and cards in appreciation.
"Rosemary is part of our family. She is part of our team. The children, parents, other volunteers and staff know we can count on her. We love her very much," Aurelia said.
For Rosemary, the greatest benefit of being a volunteer for SFBFS’ Youth Education program is forming those relationships with the children.
"It’s a great joy for me to be here. My role is to give children love, talk to them, and teach them," Rosemary said. "I’m very happy I’m at SFBFS. There are days where I’m tired but I just say, ‘No I have to see these children’ and I come in to volunteer."
Disclosure: Jessy Wei is an Americorps VISTA at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.