Celebrating our Invaluable Volunteers
by Ellenore Angelidis, Executive Director
April is volunteer month and we wanted to celebrate all the amazing people who give their time and talent. When I founded this organization, I wanted to create opportunities for talented supporters that would involve using their skills. So many of whom have amazing gifts we want to use in service of a mission.
Jane Kurtz is a great example. She is an award-winning author who also co-founded an amazing collaborating organization; then led fundraising and served on the board for years. But her first love is writing and her desire to have that be her chosen volunteer activity led to the birth of OHBD’s RSG book project. Alex Regasa is another great example. He is a talented artist who volunteers to illustrate some of our books like The Lost Son, The Lost Sheep, A Welcome in Axum and Go Outside however he wanted to use his talents in a more direct way with kids. He then proposed an OHBD artist-in-residence pilot so he could bring the joy of art to many more children.
And the list goes on and on. We want to formally recognize these amazing contributions. We are later than I'd hoped in starting our volunteer recognition program, but I subscribe to the belief of "better late than never." So, this month we are launching our OHBD Big Dreams Heroes and Leaders in Literacy, Innovation, and Inclusion Awards to recognize these invaluable contributions. These volunteers and supporters are leaders in the truest sense of the word. They exemplify our mission of empowering youth to transform their futures and follow our tenets to accomplish the objectives. They consistently challenge us to think bigger and increase our positive impact. We could not do our work without them.
We have three categories for Literacy (has the largest number of awardees since our most mature project); Innovation and Inclusion (none yet since we just started), our pillars of focus. Each category also includes subcategories. In Literacy, these include authors, illustrators, author/illustrator, educators, ambassadors, fundraisers, and translators. Innovation includes a wide range of trainers, mentors, ambassadors, translators, fundraisers, and educators. And in Innovation, these are our trainers, mentors, authors, illustrators, ambassadors, fundraisers, and educators.
We also have volunteers that help across our efforts to enable BIG DREAMs. There are our OHBD Heroes. Please congratulation all our award winners. You will be learning more about them in the coming months on our website and social media.
I volunteer because I learned so much along my non-linear career path which I want to apply to some of the thorniest challenges facing underserved children and youth in Ethiopia and do my part to make the world more equal. I volunteer to pay it forward to all who helped me over the years. I volunteer to connect my amazing daughter to her birth country and first culture. I volunteer because I get to know and work with some of the most amazing people on the planet. Their dedication, resolve, and generosity give me hope for the future.
Thank you to all our amazing volunteers. You are my motivation and inspiration. If you are looking for these types of volunteer opportunities, please reach out. We need, and cherish, you all!