Sarah's House is a supportive housing program for homeless families, with the goal to effect positive change by providing parenting classes and workshops, employment programs, licensed childcare, counseling, and transportation.
2015 20th St.
Ft. Meade, MD 20755
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According to Julie Krenzer, she's always been a "helper" – she simply enjoys doing things for other people. Her volunteering career evolved slowly. She remembers doing community events during her childhood as a Girl Scout, and contributing time to causes that were close to her heart, such as pets and cancer prevention.
It wasn't until she joined Johns Hopkins Healthcare (JHHC) in 2001 as a project manager, however, that she was able to truly satisfy that part of her that loves to help.
At JHHC there is a department, assisted by VolunteerMatch's Employee Volunteer tools, that organizes opportunities for employees to volunteer their time in the community, and Julie has delighted in using her creativity to make volunteer events fun and successful.
She's been so successful in her efforts in fact, and made such an impact, that this year Julie was awarded the Johns Hopkins Community Service Award that is given to 4 employees from across its many different entities/affiliates every year.
"JHHC has played a tremendous role in my volunteering," says Julie. "By providing a wide variety of opportunities, I can choose to participate in events that I feel connected with. If it wasn't for these opportunities, I don't think I'd be able to do as much volunteering as I'm able to at this time."
How much volunteering does Julie do?
She volunteers during blood drives held at her office.
She organizes collections of goods for nonprofits like Sarah's House.
She organized a farmer's market which is now held onsite for employees to purchase local produce and goods.
She organized a "lunch and learn" knitting and crochet group offered to employees – the first set of classes taught how to knit/crochet baby hats for NICU babies which were donated to the hospital. Another set of classes taught how to make scarves which were donated to a local shelter.
Julie is also a member of the JHHC Fundraising Committee, in charge of organizing bake sales, yard sales, hot dog lunch sales and other events throughout the year, and a member of the JHHC Wellness Committee, which is a group of volunteers from the office who organize wellness events for employees on the JHHC campus.
"Julie helped to raise approximately $5,000 for various charities to support their research and funding missions," says Maura Walden, Director of Corporate Training & Organization Development at JHHC. "She has made a difference in the lives of some of our most fragile and at-risk citizens. Not only does she help those in need, but more importantly she motivates coworkers, friends and neighbors to do so as well."
What motivates Julie to do so much volunteer work? "For me," she says, "it just feels like the right thing to do. To give time when I can, to donate resources when I can. To know that someone is being helped by my taking action feels satisfying to me."
Julie's favorite volunteer activity is working with the needle arts classes. She's learned so much from her co-worker who leads the classes that now they can both teach, which allows for more classes to be completed. "To see someone who feels like she is all thumbs learn to turn yarn into something useful is great," Julie says. "When our students walk away from the class knowing how to create a keepsake, and to see their excitement, it just proves that I'm here doing what I'm supposed to be doing."
"I enjoy being able to share my time and talents here at work and in the community," Julie continues, "I feel that by volunteering, I'm keeping myself open to possibilities and it allows me to nurture my creative side."
For other volunteers, Julie has this advice: Pick an event that speaks to you – start small. If you can't walk in a 5k, offer to work at the registration table, or somewhere within the event. "Be open to the opportunities around you," she says. "Every little bit really does help."