HandsOn Jacksonville claims bragging rights to an amazing board of directors! We’d like you to get to know them all, so over the next few weeks we’ll be shining the spotlight on them. You’ll get an inside peek at who they are, what they do, what they’re passionate about and how they’re making our community a better place for everyone.
HOJ: What inspires you to serve as a board member of HandsOn Jacksonville?
NF: HandsOn Jacksonville does so much for this community and they offer so many varied volunteer opportunities. I’ve completed two courses through HOJ, Volunteer Management and Blueprint for Leadership. The Volunteer Management course provided me with additional tools to grow our Corporate Social Responsibility committee and increase employee involvement. Blueprint for Leadership equipped me with the necessary knowledge to be an effective board member. It’s so rewarding being a board intern and a volunteer! I think it’s important to give back to your community in which you live and work. Sometimes it may require you to step out of your comfort zone, but you will be amazed once you do.
HOJ: What is the most critical issue facing our community?
NF: Poverty – I’ve seen first hand many elementary students who receive their only meals during the school day with multiple family members living together.
HOJ: What volunteer activities do you currently participate in and what draws you to them?
NF: I participate in many volunteer activities, but one I’m very involved with is helping neighboring Windy Hill Elementary with food drives, clothing drives, mentoring, etc. I never knew such poverty existed less than 3 miles from my office near St. Johns Town Center. I’ve seen it first hand – so many families and kids in need of basic necessities like food, electricity, clothing and school supplies. The school’s principal and her staff are so deeply involved in the families lives and their compassion is infectious.
HOJ: What are you most passionate about in life?
NF: Volunteering and getting others involved in volunteering. I think it’s really important to plant the seed early so kids are involved at a young age and it will hopefully become part of them. There’s so much that can be done to help those less fortunate.
HOJ: What can’t you live without?
NF: My confidants and my dogs.
HOJ: Hidden talents?
NF: I plan and cater parties – theme parties are my favorites!
HOJ: Was there a “defining moment” in your life?
NF: January 2011 – Being accepted to University of Florida after so many told me it wouldn’t happen. I’m currently in UF’s Warrington College of Business online program, completing my Bachelor’s degree. Working and going to school at my age…it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
HOJ: What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering?
NF: The one thing I would say when trying to inspire others to get involved in community is to find something you’re passionate about (kids, animals, elderly, etc.) and the service will come naturally. Share your passion with others and relate personal stories of your experiences and you’ll find others will want to help you and your cause. There’s so much you can do – it can be as simple as donating a few canned food items to spending your lunch hour mentoring a child.