Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Theodore Hansen. April is Global Volunteer Month, a global movement to recognize volunteers and people who actively support their communities, whether through volunteerism or other elements around the Points of Light Civic Circle®, like Theodore. Read his story, and join the Global Volunteer Month celebration.
Theodore Hansen, of Oakleaf, Texas, has found some of his greatest fulfillment through volunteering. While acts of service in his local communities bring great personal satisfaction and enjoyment, Theodore also enjoys leading volunteer teams and working with nonprofits to set up events.
Theodore is a volunteer leader with the Bank of America Community Volunteers Team North Texas. As someone who supports his parents, he tends to gravitate towards nonprofits that support the elderly or homebound.
Read on to find out what inspires Theodore to volunteer, the many organizations and causes he advocates for, and his advice to those considering volunteering.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I think several years ago, after starting to volunteer, I realized that doing something for someone or something other than yourself makes you feel good. There’s never a time where you’re sorry you did that, where you volunteered and afterward you think, man I wish I hadn’t done that.
You kind of get hooked on that feeling or that sense of helping someone or working for something without strings attached. You do it because it’s the right thing to do. It makes you feel good. And I guess you kind of get used to that. On a larger level, you start to ask yourself, well why is that? There’s probably a reason for that, in terms of why we’re here. Big questions!
Describe your volunteer role.
I have a couple of different leadership roles through Bank of America. I lead the Collin County chair for all the events that go on in Collin County, just north of Dallas. So I represent over 13,000 employees and work with local nonprofits to get their needs met by way of creating volunteer events.
I work with other volunteers and employees to help them get their events vetted and on the calendar, and make sure everything’s set up. I also lead the Community pillar at the corporate site council where I work, where we have 2,500 employees. I try to promote engagement with volunteer events, communicate what’s available and get people to engage. The idea is to engage people in my market.
I also work with Habitat for Humanity every year. We sponsor at least one house. I pick up builds and lead builds throughout the different stages of building that house. I work a lot with different iterations of Meals on Wheels in my area. I work a lot with the Walk to End Alzheimers, and set up a lot of blood drives for the Red Cross.
Any rewarding stories from your volunteer work?
The most rewarding event I ever got to do was in Waco, Texas. Bank of America gave a home to a veteran and his family through a program that the bank offers. On the day of the event, we handed the keys over to this family. We do final-stage tasks like last-minute landscaping and getting the house prepped. The family shows up and we hand over the keys. This is their new home, free-and-clear, paid for. That was probably the most rewarding, emotional, awesome event I experienced.
Recently, my dad, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a little over a year ago, moved in with me. So I get to take him out to volunteer events, like the recent Habitat build I did. This is an opportunity to help keep him engaged and active. That’s recently the most rewarding one – he had a blast! He’s out doing stuff, and that’s helpful for us both.
Why is it important for people to get involved with the causes they care about?
I think especially today, it’s really easy to say something via social media, to have a judging reaction and speak your opinion on a post. But there’s only one way to affect change. If you find something you’re passionate about, then you’ll never end up regretting spending time doing it. It’s probably the most rewarding thing you can do.
I love what I do for work, but the volunteer leadership roles I have, which aren’t part of my actual job, are what feed my soul. You help other people, but you’re helping yourself too. It makes you feel good. So it’s understanding that your happiness is very much bound up in everyone else’s.
Are there any upcoming programs, partnerships or events?
We have our Day of Caring as part of Bank of America’s Global Service Month. So we have a big event with VNA Meals on Wheels on April 28, where we try to get volunteers. Before COVID, we had over 650 volunteers show up and deliver meals around the VNA. We haven’t been able to get back to that level of engagement since COVID, so trying to get us back to high volunteer engagement.
This is a big event where we’ll be at Fair Park in Dallas. We’ve rented out lots 10A and 10B, and we’re trying to get as many people involved as possible.
What’s your advice for people who want to start volunteering?
I think the best way is to just do something. Like I said, I don’t think I’ve ever volunteered and then regretted spending the time to do it. I think you’ll find that in a volunteer event or when everyone’s there to volunteer, people have a different mindset. It’s very easy to get along. Everyone’s there just to help. Concerns about fitting in or what you’re going to do should be the least of your worries. The fact that you’re there means everything.
Join the Global Volunteer Month celebration! Download our Global Volunteer Month toolkits and access resources to encourage volunteerism and civic action, recognize volunteers, and raise awareness for your organization’s needs and funding opportunities.