Fall 2014
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VIP Participation Benefits Emergency Responders 

People don't usually volunteer to be involved in an emergency, but 105 VIPs stepped up to participate in a unique and important active shooter drill this summer. Police, Fire and Public Safety Communications responders were required to take part in a full-scale exercise to enhance their preparedness capabilities and recovery skills during this type of scenario. 

"It was a great experience to participate as a volunteer in the active shooter drills," said Ed Linberg, an emergency management volunteer. "We knew how important this drill was to the City of Plano first responders and that the outcome would be of great benefit to the community."

Volunteers were asked to follow specific instructions in simulating different injuries and scenarios, helping to make sure the training was representative of a real-life emergency. Some volunteers wore special effects makeup to make their injuries look realistic.

"Participating in the active shooter drills provided insight into a world that regular citizens rarely get see," said VIP Sarah Tarver. "And as much as I hope they never have to use this training, I am proud to live in a city that takes the time to become that much more prepared just in case."

VIP Andrew Wallick Interns in Planning Department
VIP Andrew Wallick in Plano's Planning Department 
Volunteers Help Empty The Shelter
Pet lovers came out in full force for Plano's "Empty the Shelter Day" in August. Adoption fees were waived during this event, and after a very hectic day, tired volunteers and staff had adopted out 139 animals; eclipsing the previous record of 28 adoptions in one day.
There was much tail wagging and purring by animals and humans alike as 61 dogs, 74 cats, and one ferret left the shelter to go to their new homes. Congratualtions all!
"Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns."
--Author Unknown
Dear VIPs, City Staff and Partners

How Are We Doing? The Results Are In!

The University of Nebraska-Omaha's Volunteer Program Assessment (VPA) group has completed their analysis and results show VIP strengths are high in staff and volunteer relations.

VIP sent out 1169 survey invitations to be completed anonymously online. A great majority of respondents gave VIP high marks across the board. Overall satisfaction was high in the service provided through staff and volunteer relationships and recognition programs. Results affirmed VIPs were satisfied with their assignments and felt the work they were doing was both important and interesting.

Questions and answers emphasized the importance of highlighting volunteer successes and their impact, an area we have been improving as we continue to create YouTube stories for Facebook and websites. Opportunities for growth included providing additional training and upward communication. 

The feedback provided is invaluable in letting us know what is working well in our programs and where we can improve. See department highlights below. T
hanks to all of you who completed the survey and helping VIP--your volunteer program--grow and learn how we are doing.  


Robin Popik                      Corina Sadler, CVA

VIP Supervisor                         VIP Coordinator


     Survey Responses

  • Libraries: 95% of volunteers enjoy their volunteer position and feel a sense of pride in doing their assignments.  
  • Animal Shelter: 100% of respondents are proud of the work they do and enjoy discussing the organization with people outside it.  
  • Police, Fire, and Emergency Management: 90% of respondents feel appreciated and 88% intend to keep volunteering. 
  • Senior Center and Adaptive Recreation: 90% feel that the organization listens to their views before making decisions that affect them, and they feel appreciated and recognized by their organization. 
  • Sustainability: 100% of volunteers are self-assured about their capabilities to perform volunteer activities and feel they have been able to do something valuable for the organization.
  • Other combined departments: 100% of those responding say the organization has a great deal of personal meaning for them. 
Internship Program Brings Young Minds and New Energy to the City 

by Hunter Marrow, former Marketing Summer Intern


With the 2014 Plano Mayor's Summer Internship program and summer Volunteers in Plano (VIP) program wrapped up, it's time to reflect on the program's success and its importance for Plano's future.


Mayor Harry LaRosiliere explained the goal of the Summer Internship program, "By pairing these students with some of the best businesses in the country that are based in Plano, they will receive a world class education above and beyond academics."


Mark Israelson, assistant city manager and staff liaison for the program, believes the summer went incredibly well from an intern perspective; especially the Field Fridays, during which interns spent a day in a different city department. "It's a cool way for them to get exposure to the City as well as interact with their peers," Israelson said. Additionally, he stressed the importance of youth involvement when searching for future city leaders. 


"Our leaders come from our community," Volunteer Resources Supervisor Robin Popik added, attributing the strong youth participation to Plano's excellent education system and to active business community outreach efforts.


Tyler Elwonger, Parks & Recreation Dept. Volunteer 
Tyler Elwonger, a volunteer with Parks and Recreation is a product of these efforts. He volunteered for college credits based on the volunteer program's reputation. 
"I had an opportunity to learn about Parks and Recreation's
operational procedures, attend meetings, and participate in a variety of different programs." Elwonger explained. 
After completing this required internship, Tyler graduated last month from Texas A&M - College Station with a B.S. in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences.
Based on the success of the Mayor's initiative and VIP's long waitlist of applicants, it can safely be said the future of these programs remains certain. Both are an indication that the city's standard of excellence will continue to benefit future generations.


Both Popik and Israelson said they also share the belief that the City's overall success is not just youth related. VIP volunteers range in age from 13 to 90, bringing both new energy and experience to City departments.
"That's what makes it a win-win situation," Popik said about the way staff and volunteers work hand in hand. "It's had an amazing impact on the city over the past 30 years."
City of Plano
Volunteer Resources Group
Robin Popik, Volunteer Resources Supervisor
  Corina Sadler, CVA Volunteer Resources Coordinator
Dawna Walls, Volunteer Resources Communications Liaison