Volunteers often make lasting connections with other volunteers, both at events and within the walls of our houses. As our organization continues to grow, it becomes harder to keep the community feel in our volunteer base.
That’s why we’ve created the Volunteer Connection.
Below you will find pictures and stories volunteers just like you have shared with Believe In Tomorrow.
What You’re Saying about
Believe In Tomorrow Volunteering
We find that our volunteers all have one thing in common: they walk away from our houses with stories to tell about the connections they’ve made with Believe In Tomorrow families, staff, or other volunteers. Many share first person stories in our monthly e-newsletter. Others just send us a quick note to let us know about their experience. Read on to find out what other believers are saying and stay tuned for our Volunteer forums, coming soon!
Members of the Maryland and Northern Virginia Floorcovering Association visited The Believe In Tomorrow Children's House at Johns Hopkins Tuesday, June 16 and Wednesday, June 17 in a whirlwind effort to replace all of the carpeting in the house's fifteen rooms. The result: brand new carpeting - and a new ground to tread on - in a beautiful shade of blue. The Maryland and Northern Virginia Floorcovering Association also held its annual golf tournament on June 17, which raised thousands for Believe In Tomorrow programs. Thank you to the association for being outstanding contributors in the month of June.
Children's House Carpeters:
Contract Carpet Systems\Carpet One, Beltsville, MD, Kurt Zanelotti
Nash Floors Carpet One, Rockville, MD, Steve and Chris Nash
Commercial Carpet of America\Carpet One, Alexandria, VA, Daryl Reinke
Peerless Carpet One, Rick Gessner, Timonium, MD
Quality Carpet One, Shawn Bayat, Woodbridge, VA
Every so often, a group arrives at a Believe In Tomorrow house exemplifying the spirit of volunteerism.
The “SEEDS” group, a partnership between: Roger Green and Associates, SEEK research, and Schlesinger and Associates, became that example, May 11 to 15, as they pitched in tireless, eight-hour work days (and sometimes more) at The Believe In Tomorrow House at John’s Hopkins and the Believe In Tomorrow House at St. Casimir.
Five individuals from Dallas to Philadelphia arrived in Baltimore to complete their unique services project. The group tackled resealing the deck at St. Casimir, repainting trim, power-washing, planting gardens and serving a family dinner at Johns Hopkins, among other things.
Throughout it all they kept a smile on their faces and a blog detailing their adventures in group volunteering.
Visit the blog to catch a glimpse the mutual rewards of volunteerism… and THANK YOU again to the SEEDS crew.
My husband, Mardis Halland, cooks food as if he is the “chef” of the household. This past December, one day after Christmas, we made a Christmas dinner for 25 people. We cooked up a storm of chicken, ham, collard greens, potato salad, corn, cornbread, chocolate cake and strawberry shortcake.
This was our first visit to the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House at Johns Hopkins, and we brought along toys for the children and several boxes of food to be stored for current and future residents.
As residents came down to eat, they gave many compliments to the “chef” for a job well done, and chatted with us about their hospitalized children and life experiences. The children were playful and couldn’t stay away from the table of toys and chocolate cake!
Kurt, the weekend manager and a career firefighter in Baltimore County, assisted us through the evening. He was extremely gregarious, humble and seemingly brave, which my husband and I realized after stories he shared of his work experiences.
Four days later, I volunteered for the Children’s House again, this time bringing a crew of beauty queens from the Maryland International Pageant System. I was so thankful that 20 queens showed up to volunteer. We baked cookies and encouraged the residents to come munch on them and chat with us.
One resident we met had a 10-month old daughter in the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center receiving one of many surgeries. This one night of cookie baking was such a joy to her. Her smile was the reason we visited and volunteered. I pray that her daughter continues to recover well.
It was extremely rewarding and special to help others with my fellow queens. It is so important for us, as people (not only pageant participants), to help others.
My two visits to the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House were enjoyable and memorable experiences. I hope to get back there, crown and all, soon.
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Whenever I volunteer at Believe in Tomorrow’s Children's House, I always get this special feeling as if I am back home at my parents’ place. I thought it was rather strange for me to feel that way, so one day, while walking through the house, I tried to pinpoint what actually gave me that feeling.
My first thought: the feeling came because the house was beautifully arranged just like how my mom used to do it back home. There are plenty of decorative art pieces around and the place is well-kept. But that answer did not satisfy me since any well-kept place gives me that feeling.
I began to think it was because the house was set up like a home with televisions, equipped kitchens, and comfortable couches. That answer still did not satisfy me because I didn’t get these feelings when I visited other people’s homes.
The Children’s House feels homey, but not because of the cleanliness, furnishings, or even the building itself. The place feels like home because care radiates from every aspect of the house just like my parents’ care for me does when I’m home.
The decorations, the couches, the beds, the food - everything in the house is a memento of the time and effort put in by the volunteers and staff to make the place as comfortable as possible for the families and children. It is the culmination of their care and compassion for the residents during the difficult times.
As that realization dawned on me, I could not help but smile. People can make a positive difference in others’ lives. The house stands as a testimony to that.
I also realized that whenever I go to offer my time and energy to volunteer at the Children’s House, I am contributing to that cause, helping to make tough times a little less rough for the families. That thought is immensely rewarding. It makes volunteering completely worth it.
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Making sure there was no “double-dipping” was always the hardest part.
Never mind the sprinkles smashed into the crannies of hardwood floors, window panes or seats of chairs. Forget about the colored frosting smeared onto clothing, hair and tables. And do not even worry about batter crusted to just about everything. The hardest part of the whole process was to make sure that the children did not take that batter or frosting spoon out of the bowl, lick it, and place it back in its original location with a grin. (And yes, it was sometimes difficult to teach the adults as well.)
For about two and a half years, Patrick and I have baked cupcakes at the Believe In Tomorrow Children’s House. We embrace every moment.
When we first arrived for our tour of the house to see if it was a fit for us, we thought it would be fun to sit around in the toyland and play with the children. We quickly learned that we needed to find a way to catch the residents’ attention and to have all people, both young and old, engaged in a single activity. As college students, we decided food would be the answer.
Cupcakes were the solution to our problem. We set up stations where families could mix ingredients, color the frosting and help me search the house for the load of different sprinkle jars hidden on every floor. From helping me mix the ingredients, to putting the sprinkles on as the final touch, it was a fun, hands-on experience not only for the children, but for the adults as well. It is amazing having the opportunity to meet so many different people from all over the world.
Cupcake baking, and of course eating, is always fun, but the most touching aspect comes from what families share with us as we volunteer. I love returning to smashed sprinkles and smeared frosting because of the parents that open up to us while sharing dessert and coffee and the children that push themselves to be present at our baking parties.
I feel as if the families need me as much as I need them.Watching the patients interact at The Children's House, I am able to better understand what some people go through in order to partake in simple, everyday functions. The only word to call those that I have seen suffering as well as those willing to face a long and hard road ahead, and those that are on the path to recovery is: inspirational. I have and always will appreciate what The Children’s House has given to me, and I hope that future residents and volunteers experience the same.
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