Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Farewell to Our Local Program Founder

Special Edition: Saying Goodbye to Rob Donnelly

Role model. Caring. Trustworthy. Honest (Ain't that the truth). Respectful. Funny. Hardworking. Unstoppable.

These are just a few of the words our volunteers would and have used to describe Rob Donnelly, the first volunteer for our program, our past Director of Volunteers, and a committed outreach counselor.

In just a few short days, we will say goodbye to Rob, who is graduating from college and moving on. After three years of service to StandUp For Kids - Worcester, Rob has accomplished so much and supported each of us in our endeavors to achieve program goals.

Some of Rob's Achievements:
  • Recruited every single volunteer that has joined the program to date.
  • Presented to local services and organizations about our program.
  • Outreached to youth from April 2008 (first outreach night ever) to December 2009.
  • Served on the National Don't Run Away Taskforce in 2009.
  • Planned the opening of our program's outreach center.
Rob has also been here to witness other volunteers accomplishments:

In 2008:
  • Sue Kramer ran a very successful Shaw's Receipt Campaign
  • Chris Flagg organized our first resource survey (local services information for kids)
  • Ally Trull (Director of Outreach) kicked off the first night of outreach and has since ensured street outreach happens on a weekly basis.
In 2009:
  • All of our volunteers teamed up to run a 24 Hours on the Street event in April 2009.
  • Mary Ann Stoica organized two volunteer nights to the Mustard Seed (Soup Kitchen) and created the first program newsletter.
  • Kristina England established an agreement with a local organization to open an Outreach Drop-in Center.
  • Mari Sayama ran a very successful National Youth Homelessness Awareness event in November - Come Draw with Us.
  • Brian Bickford kept our many local services documents up-to-date for our youth.
  • Ken Latham and Donna Katsoudas jumped into the Executive Director positions in November 2009.
  • Over the past two years, Jose Alvarez has attended the most street outreach nights of any outreach counselor.
As we move forward without Rob, most of us know the biggest challenge and achievement ahead of us is to make him proud of the program's future. Although he'll be gone, Rob has left a well-formed group of volunteers to step up to the plate and continue to serve the youth of our community. He would never want us to focus on the past and how things were when he was here. He would want us to focus on the future and what we can do to save the lives of homeless and at risk youth.

Thank you Rob for all you have done. We know that wherever you go, you will continue to raise awareness of youth homelessness and inspire others to become involved in community outreach. Plus, you can visit us anytime you are in the neighborhood (a.k.a. We'll miss you!)

As Jose Alvarez wrote in Rob's scrapbook: "To the Wo Godfather! Look what you've started!"

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