Going the Extra Mile
Every year we have the opportunity to recognize an individual and a group volunteer of the year. We are incredibly honored to introduce you to our 2020 volunteers of the year!
We always look forward to seeing Emily Tyree walking through the Family House doors! In 2019, she baked, made goodies, cooked, and served meals for our guests, and she put amazing creativity and thoughtful effort into each and everything she made for them. Emily truly helped the Family House live into our mission of showing hospitality to our guest.
Through surveys, our guests report that staying at the Family House improves their emotional and psychological well-being; their ability to get rest and relax; and their ability to connect with people in similar medical situations. We know that a number of things go into this sort of impact, including little things that make guests feel loved and cared for—even little things like homemade goodies and delicious food to eat. When Emily made goodies and treats to share with guests, she made the goodies look absolutely beautiful, and the effort that she put into planning, preparing, and delivering them made them extra special. From my desk, I could hear guests walk by the goody trays and exclaim that they felt so loved because someone—a stranger!—put in so much time and effort to make things so special. Our guests felt valued each time they enjoyed Emily’s generosity. Whenever we wanted to show examples of the types of treat, goodies, and food that we would like volunteers to bring in, we used Emily’s as examples. She even had her own baskets and trays that she would swap out each time she came. She would bring new baskets full of goodies then take the empty ones away only to bring them back full the next time.
As a high school student, Emily was busy, which made her service at the Family House even more remarkable! Sometimes she would show up in her volleyball uniform, coming after games to drop off homemade goodies that she had made with love.
In addition to delivering wonderful homemade treats, Emily volunteered with our Teens in the House program in July, joining with other students to make the house sparkle and to prepare food for our guests. During the year, she also contributed to four different potlucks, and she served a meal for the whole house—that’s enough food for about 50 people!
At the Family House, we have many students volunteer here and there, but no student goes above and beyond like Emily. She is inspiring, and we can see that she will take her heart of compassion, love, and generosity and make the world a better place throughout her life. We’re thankful that our Family House guests have had the chance to be the recipients of her generosity!
In 2019, Elevation Church provided 13 meals for Family House guests. This is not an easy task! If you think of the effort it takes time to plan, shop, and serve a meal for a family of four, just imagine what it takes to do that for a house of 50 hungry people. Our guests say time and again that these meals mean more than they can describe. Warm breakfasts and home cooked dinners give guests one less thing to think about and give them peace of mind so they can focus on caring for their loved ones. Breakfasts and dinners also offer guests the opportunity to sit around the shared table, get to know one another, share stories, and form friendships at times when support is crucial. We work with a number of volunteer groups who come in to serve a meal a couple of times a year, but 13 meals is above and beyond a generous commitment from a single group!
Elevation Church included the Family House in their “Love Week” of service, and they showered our staff and our guests with support during that week in July. From baking cookies to forming clean teams to serving meals, they provided much-needed services to Family House guests. At other times throughout the year, Elevation volunteers came to bake and clean. The cookies that they baked made the house smell so good and symbolized hospitality, and their cleaning made the house sparkle.
At the Family House, we understand the phrase “many hands make light work,” thanks to groups like Elevation Church’s clean teams. Each time they came, they rolled up their sleeves and checked off a long list of cleaning tasks. Not only did their clean teams make our guests feel loved, but their hard work provided savings that we could pass along to our guests.
We also know that they understand our mission and that they can see the impact of their service with us. We are grateful that the Elevation Church volunteers go a step further than simply focusing on the tasks at hand. They enjoy meeting the families they serve and listening to the stories they share with them. Guest surveys report that staying at the Family House improves guests’ emotional and psychological well-being; their ability to get rest and relax; and their ability to connect with people in similar medical situations. The volunteers at Elevation Church play a big role in making this possible.