This month at SOME, we are celebrating volunteer appreciation month to celebrate all of our great volunteers.
Even though our volunteer numbers have been lowered so that we can abide by CDC guidelines, we still have been lucky enough to get people inside our doors in smaller groups to volunteer. This month we are featuring a special member of SOME who started as a volunteer and is now a full-time employee.
Rebecca Flaherty is originally from Itasca, Illinois, a small town that is a suburb of Chicago. She started volunteering at SOME during her junior year at American University in 2018.
“When graduating, I did not know what I wanted to do, but I did know I wanted to do a service year. I then found SOME’s Long Term Volunteer Program and applied.”
SOME Volunteer Corps is a year-long residential program for individuals looking to make a significant social justice impact in the lives of those experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty in our nation’s capital.
Corps members provide direct service to individuals and families who are marginalized, oppressed, homeless, or in need materially, emotionally, or otherwise. Working directly with those who are disenfranchised, Corps members come to better understand the challenges of poverty and injustice experienced by so many people.
As a long-term volunteer at Zagami House, Rebecca was responsible for tutoring kids that lived in SOME’s Family Housing.
“When I volunteered for Zagami, it was one of my first experiences really in DC, out of American [University]. Zagami house showed me much more of the life that makes up this city. My first impression of SOME was that they were a family housing organization; I was struck upon learning how much more they did.”
In the SOME family, all of our employees always show a strong initiative to help others. “I chose SOME after graduating because I wanted to stay in DC, it had become a second home to me. I have always had a desire to help people and thought I would do that through public policy. SOME has an advocacy department that interested me. They offered me a volunteer position in both advocacy and volunteer services. I quickly accepted and fell into direct services, finding a job that spoke to me.”
Towards the end of her volunteer year, she was offered a full-time position as a volunteer coordinator and accepted. Rebecca joined our staff in 2019 as our Volunteer and ABLE coordinator.
ABLE—our After Breakfast Lateral Engagement program—began as soup and movies in the dining room to provide our guests a warm place to stay between meals during cold weather. The program has grown into holiday parties, BINGO tournaments, trivia contests, law clinics, and much more for people who do not have anywhere to go between breakfast and lunch.
Rebecca also helps run volunteer services, training, and planning for volunteer events, and works with the Mail Services program for people experiencing homelessness with no formal address. Hear more about the program in a previous blog post.
She concluded, “I would recommend volunteering because this is our community and we all affect each other more than we realize. I once heard someone say it shouldn’t be charity, but ‘share-ity,’ sharing in the wealth of resources we have as a community, as a world. I see that here at SOME and that is why I volunteered and why I work here.”
To get involved in volunteering with SOME or the Long Term Volunteer program, click here.