Alana O'Brien on receiving her
In November 2009, Alana O'Brien was awarded the credential, Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA), by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. Katherine Campbell, CVA Program Manager explains, "The credential is the only one in the field recognized internationally. It is awarded after a rigorous process that includes an extensive self evaluation and preparation of a performance-based portfolio." A panel of professionals, who are certified in volunteer administration, judge the portfolio. In addition to the portfolio, Alana completed a two-hour examination testing knowledge, application and analysis of skills related to volunteer resources management.
Successful CVA candidates must prove they have a clear philosophy of volunteer administration, pledge to work within the professional code of ethics and demonstrate their knowledge-in-use in the core competency areas of professional principles, leadership, organizational management, planning and human resources management. Alana joins a select group of less than 1,000 individuals who have attained this credential as demonstration of their professional excellence in mobilizing and managing volunteers. For more information about this program go to the CCVA web site.
Share your awards,
volunteer stories and pictures with "The VIP Insider!"
VIP wants to hear about your volunteer experience. Please send us your story, photos or both to Alana O'Brien for future issues of "The VIP Insider."
Be sure to include your name, phone number and email address so we can contact you with questions. Please include the full names of everyone in your photos.
We want to share what you're doing to make a difference in Plano!
Thank You, VIP!
A Salute to
Dick Tobin -
a Volunteer Who Made an Impact!
Richard D. Tobin (Dick) passed away Dec. 17, 2009, after a brief illness following declining health in recent months. Dick was an outstanding contributor to the Plano Public Library System where he had volunteered for the past 16 years.
He began volunteering in August 1993, after a successful 27 year career with New York Life Insurance Company. In retirement, Dick and his wife Jacquie enjoyed numerous world travels together. Dick's home away from home was the Plano Public Library where he spent hundreds of hours as a volunteer in various capacities. Dick started volunteering with the Interlibrary Loan Division wrapping and unwrapping books for return (some 6,000 books annually which has grown to 18,000). "His initiative and perseverance were tremendous help in so many areas. Over the years, Dick became more than a super volunteer, he was beloved by all who knew him" remembers Supervisor Julie Torstad. "Dick found his passion in helping at the library and continued to work on the Annual Book Sale where he helped devise a system of shelving sorted books so they can be boxed by category and then stored in a warehouse, where approximately 50,000 to 75,000 books are now received each year."
His service grew to include being a member of the Plano Library Advisory Board, the treasurer of the Board of Friends of the Plano Public Library, a literacy tutor helping students learn English as a second language and a lay representative of the Plano Public Library System to the Northeast Texas Library System. With so much enthusiasm, it is no wonder his hours grew to more than 7,500 during his 16 years of service to the City of Plano.
His good humor and pleasant personality made Dick a favorite library volunteer, one who will be remembered for the impact he made throughout his life. "I loved him dearly and he was truly a very special man who will remain in many of our hearts," said Administrative Support Supervisor Mary Ann Dunnavant of the Plano Public Library System.
Well it's not business as usual here at VIP, instead each year seems to bring us farther into the technical era. Last year we introduced you to Volunteer2, our new software that has been helpful with online registration, listing new
volunteer opportunities and schedules, allowing you to search and choose your own activities, communication, and reporting and collecting hours and statistics. Now we are moving to Constant Contact an email newsletter, saving money and bringing us closer to you, our volunteers. This new format will allow us to keep in touch and share stories and photos of you volunteering.
Some of the departments such as Sustainability & Environmental Services (SES), Animal Shelter, Emergency Management and Library Services are using new avenues to engage volunteers and the public. By creating Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and blogs, supervisors hope to keep everyone connected. Emergency Management utilizes Twitter to send information on weather and safety news concerning Plano. Click HERE to view recent updates. SES posts 2010 Live Green Expo updates on their Facebook page. Click HERE to sign up for event news. If you want to be notified when new library programs are coming up, you can follow them on Twitter by clicking HERE.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, this year we hope to create a program where you can update your online profile with emergency contacts and share additional skills and languages. We will also invite volunteers to give us feedback on Survey Monkey, something we have done through email or mailings in the past.
For those of you who do not have email, we will start by sending you a postcard with a computer web site address each time we put out a newsletter and invite you to view it online at a library, the Senior Recreation Center, relative or neighbor to help you view from their computer.
This year hasn't only been about technology, it's been about hard work and accomplishments. The program recap below includes quick facts and figures about what's been happening in many departments. If your department or project is missing, we invite you to share it with us.
In 2009 VIP volunteers donated 97,800 hours at a value of $1,809,684, the equivalent of 12,225 eight-hour days worked by volunteers, helping to strengthen our services and stretch our City budget in difficult economic times.
Volunteer Resources Supervisor
|Strength In Numbers:
VIP's Donated 97,800 Hours in 2009
Administrative and Special Projects
Sixty-six volunteers donated 5,833 hours serving in multiple locations assisting with web and graphic design, treasury analyst, 2010 Census, database warehousing, GIS and scanning documents.
Out of the 6,817 volunteer hours donated to the Animal Shelter, 1,317 hours were spent working specifically with dogs.
The Animal Shelter has 126 volunteers who assist the
Plano Animal Services Department with adoption counseling, cleaning, dog walking, events, fostering animals and much more.
Plano Public Libraries utilize 42 shelving volunteers across five locations, donating 2,417 hours to keep books on the shelves and available to the public.
Plano Public Libraries have 273 volunteers who assist with book mending, cataloging, donation sorting, genealogy, Library Links with Seniors, shelving and more. In the last year Library volunteers have donated a total of 14,933 hours to the City.
Parks and Recreation
Thirty-two Senior Computer Learning Center volunteer instructors and coaches taught 384 participants computer and software basics contributing a total of 1,618 hours.
The Plano Parks and Recreation Department has 293 volunteers serving at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Courtyard Theater, Interurban Railway Museum, Senior Recreation Center, Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve, The Amphitheater at Oak Point Park, Plano Centre, Therapeutic Recreation and more. In the last year Parks & Recreation volunteers have donated 34,272 hours to the City.
Plano Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association contributions are up 32 percent from last year. Approximately 180 PCPAAA volunteers assist the Plano Police Department in a variety of functions, including Citizen Patrols, manning Skywatch towers, enforcing Handicap Parking regulations and offering general support. The PCPAAA volunteers' contribution exceeded 10,300 hours.
Sustainability & Environmental Services
One hundred fourteen Plano Community Garden volunteers donated 2,200 pounds of organically grown produce to the Plano Food Pantry.
The Sustainability & Environmental Services (SES) Department utilizes 341 volunteers who assist with blogging, composting, marketing, organic recycling, plot tending, research, seminars and much more. In the last year SES volunteers have donated 8,570 hours to the City.
For the 2009 Live Green Expo, 605 event volunteers participated filling 60 positions and 244 shifts. More than 3,000 hours were donated to this annual event that boasts 15,000 attendees.
|Congratulations TACA Volunteer of the Year -
In November 2009, the Texas Animal Control Association (TACA) presented Kathi Cavanagh, Volunteer Coordinator for the Plano Animal Shelter, with the TACA Volunteer of the Year award.
Kathi began volunteering with Plano Animal Services in January 2005. She offered to serve as Volunteer Coordinator for the shelter in April 2007 and helped revamp the shelter's volunteer program. As coordinator, Kathi worked with staff to develop volunteer goals, created a volunteer policy and procedure manual, job descriptions and an orientation guide for new volunteers. She also proposed changes to volunteer scheduling procedures, which currently allows for consistent and better coverage by volunteers at the shelter.
Now Kathi plans and leads the popular monthly new volunteer orientation, which has a waiting list of two months. After orientation, all volunteers are scheduled to work specific functions and they are trained, evaluated and managed, just like employees - all by this one amazing volunteer! Kathi doesn't stop there, she also focuses her attention on the fostering program and developing a dog play group program.
"Kathi continually amazes me with her enthusiasm and dedication," Plano Animal Services Manager Jamey Cantrell says. "Even though she has a full-time job in the banking industry, she still volunteers more than 100 hours each month at our shelter. She gives selflessly for nothing more than a wet kiss and a cold nose from the beneficiary of her kindness."
"The organization and structure Kathi implemented has vastly improved the program," says Volunteer Supervisor Robin Popik. "Today the shelter has more than 100 volunteers and the number of donated hours has skyrocketed since these changes were made." In fiscal year 2007, volunteer hours donated were up more than 100% to 3,428 hours. In 2008, hours increased an additional 69% to 5,793. This year they are up 13% to 6,553 hours. "The shelter has seen a total increase in hours of 285% since Kathi has taken the reigns, a contributed time valued at more than $130,000 each year to the shelter," explains Popik.
"By putting her words and leadership skills into action, she has helped our volunteer program become the best that I've ever had the privilege of managing," Cantrell continued. "The staff, volunteers and animals at Plano Animal Services now work as a team and we all agree that Kathi is the epitome of a great volunteer."
This is not the first time a Plano Animal Services volunteer has won this prestigious award, Judy Staser, a long-time volunteer won this award four years ago. What an accomplishment for our wonderful volunteer team! We are incredibly lucky to have so many committed volunteers.
Kathi (pictured above left) receiving her award from TACA President Vicki Francis.
Police Volunteer Contribution Up 32%
In 2009 the Plano Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association contribuited more than 10,300 hours assisting the Plano Police Department and residents of Plano, a 32% increase over 2008 hours. This is the second highest number of volunteer hours by a similar organization in Texas. The PCPAAA consists of 180 volunteers who provide assistance through a variety of functions.
Graduates of the Citizens Police Academy 13-week course are eligible to join the alumni association. They serve in many capacities including Citizen Patrols, Handicap Parking regulations enforcement, records scanning, data entry, warrant call outs, event safety patrol and much more. During the course they are exposed to all areas of the department, including Crime Scene Investigation, the K-9 Unit and traffic enforcement.
Sgt. Lindy Privett of Plano's Crime Prevention Unit said, "Some PCPAAA members also take additional training and become members of the Citizens Assisting Plano Police (CAPP) program." CAPP training includes patrol, issuance of handicap parking citations, radar training and Segway certification. After training, volunteers can patrol city streets in specially marked vehicles, issue Crime Risk Notices; assist at accident scenes; offer battery jumps for disabled vehicles; help block off city streets during emergencies and help search for missing children. In many cases CAPP volunteers are the first responders to accident scenes and are trained to lay out cones, ignite flares, block traffic, assess injuries and use the police radio to call for additional assistance.
In the past few months, CAPP personnel have assisted in blocking and re-directing traffic on city streets and U.S. 75 both in daylight and nighttime hours. PCPAAA volunteers guided more than 1,100 motorcycles into parking areas during the annual Teddy Bear Run and received a plaque for helping to distribute collection boxes all over the City for the annual Christmas Cops Program, logging 245 hours an equivalent to 30, eight hour work days.
Two of the newest CAPP assignments are manning Plano's three Skywatch towers to keep an eye out for criminal activities and Special Enforcement Requests using radar to record speeds in answer to citizen complaints of excessive speeding. Sgt. Privett explains, "Using CAPP volunteers for these tasks frees up police officers for other community needs."
Neal Katz, president of PCPAAA tells us, "Our volunteers are dedicated to helping the Plano Police and the community any way they can. PCPAAA members have a strong and positive spirit that is contagious throughout the organization. We see safety as the number one priority in everything we do and we are proud to assist to the Plano Police Department and the City."
The PCPAAA's mission is to bring together volunteers to enhance the relations between the community and the police department, and to assist law enforcement in numerous volunteer activities. PCPAAA is a non-profit organization distinct and separate from the Plano Police Department. However, the two organizations work very closely together. For more information about PCPAAA please visit their web site.
Yvette Mouser (pictured above) waits for instructions in a police cruiser.
Building Inspections Uses Volunteers to Help Pioneer a New Technology
The City of Plano Building Inspections Department is a trailblazer in implementing electronic plan review and permitting. The group began digitizing architectural drawings back in 2001 to solve a problem - lack of storage space. "With all the commercial building projects going on in Plano, our archival room was quickly filling up with plan drawings," said Anthony Han, Plan Review Services Supervisor. "We had to go paperless. There was no other choice."
The first step in this paperless initiative was to digitize thousands of full scale, architectural drawings in storage and the key to completing this project successfully was the volunteers placed by the Volunteer Resources Group. "Scanning all of these drawings was a huge undertaking," recalls Han. "We literally had thousands of drawings to convert. The volunteers were a crucial component in getting these files converted and archived in PDF."
Volunteers, such as Julian Diaz, helped the department reclaim a space once buried beneath mountains of archived drawings. "Julian was one of several instrumental volunteers that helped us cleared out our plans storage room through his consistent and fast scanning work," continued Han. "Because of his exceptional work in clearing out the room, we named the plans storage room the 'J.D. Lounge' which is now a library and multi-purpose room."
Over the course of this project, the Building Inspections realized the benefits of not only going paperless, but the benefit of utilizing volunteers to complete such a monumental task. "Although our department has received volunteers' assistance for many years now, it was in 2005 that we started utilizing a full-size scanner to archive our plans and documents," Han said. "The scanning process requires hours of scanning time and volunteers made up the key component in getting the work done quickly. Without volunteers' efforts, we would have taken much longer to digitize our archive."
Having documents accessible digitally has made Building Inspections more efficient. "As the City of Plano matures, it is important for us to have an effective building plans archive as we look to more and more remodels, demolitions, and redevelopments of existing buildings and sites throughout the city," Han continued. "The digital building plans archive allows us to find and research existing buildings more quickly and reduce the overall plan review and inspections process and thereby benefiting our customers and citizens."
The archive is also helpful to other city departments. Han said, "Volunteers' scanning efforts allow us to share our digital plans with other departments such as Police and Fire. This interoperability allows other departments to utilize detailed plans to better execute their work processes when needed."
City of Plano
Volunteer Resources Group
, Volunteer Resources Supervisor,
Certification in Volunteer Management
, Volunteer Resources Coordinator,
Certificate in Volunteer & Community Resources Management
Alana O'Brien, Volunteer Resources Coordinator,
Certified Volunteer Administrator
1409 K Avenue, Plano, TX 75074