Our inspiring facilitator, Glen Villalobos explained to the class that today’s session would be on social systems. This included sending us out into groups on a “field study” to encourage us and to maximize our exposure. This made us more aware of the need of volunteerism in the non-profit sector of our parish.
As our Leadership Tangipahoa Class of 2008 met, we were greeted by one of our classmates, Darryl Ferrara, who is President Elect on the Board of Directors at Options. Mrs. Sylvia Bush, Executive Director of Options presented our class with a passionate explanation of the services they have provided since they first opened their doors in Hammond in 1985.
One of the groups had the opportunity to tour the Options facility escorted by Mrs. Mary Pirosko, Development Director of Options. Another member of our class, Julie Eudy, Regional Manager of Office of Youth Development, took one group to her facility. The other groups visited agencies including The Council on Aging, TARC, CASA, and COA.
My group met with Mrs. Myrna Jordan, an enthusiastic volunteer and Coordinator of Our Daily Bread. She proudly took us on a tour of her facility where trucks deliver pallets of non-perishable food that she in turns sends to 16 pantries within our parish. These pantries feed at least 2600 families a month. She serves approximately 150 hot meals twice a week at a local Hammond church. She stressed that volunteerism is a very important role in the success of her organization and it’s much needed to better serve our community. Even though her building was not a state of the art facility, all of the volunteers were proud of what they had and were full of compassion and desire to help the less fortunate with nothing in return.
The groups then met for lunch provided by United Way. After the meal, Jamene Dahmer, Executive Director of United Way provided our class with an in depth and heart warming presentation of how the contributions given in Tangipahoa Parish impact our community. She made our class aware that every dollar donated in Tangipahoa Parish stays within the parish. Your dollars do count but more importantly your volunteerism is what makes a difference!
After our debriefing session we left all feeling more evident that we would not take things for granted in our lives. Several of the classmates got together and decided to do things as small as making business cards for one agency to as large as providing an air condition unit for another. These are things that required very little effort but hopefully will make a difference in some way. There are many organizations throughout our Parish that do so much for so many but the one thing they all say is that more help is needed. Invest in the future of our community, whether with your time and/or your money, as one person can make a difference. This is evidenced by these wonderful, selfless people we met today.
I would like to thank Sheriff Daniel H. Edwards for sponsoring me on this endeavor. It has been an experience I will never forget and it’s been a wonderful opportunity in meeting and making new friends while learning about the history and needs of our parish.
Liuzza, Executive Secretary