Jean is the coordinator of Busy Hands, the biggest component of RSVP of St. Joseph County, largely due to her efforts. (RSVP places persons age 55 and older in volunteer service to meet community needs.) In this capacity, she totally administers this program. She is employed as a Senior Aide, funded by Title V monies, and works 20 hours weekly. However, Jean is so devoted to this program that she also volunteers her own time. To date this year, she has logged 2,261 hours over and above her employed hours.
We are extremely lucky to have her and we feel fortunate that she supervises a program that exists solely on donations. Material, yarn, jewelry and nearly anything under the sun are donated to Busy Hands. Volunteers then sew, knit, crochet, and combine odds and ends to make a variety of useful items that are given to local agencies to distribute to clients. These include afghans, lap robes, slippers, door draft dodgers, and nearly 70 other items that are donated to local agencies to give to low or fixed income families and individuals that could not afford to purchase these items. These items allow persons in need to save on their utility bills by putting a door draft dodger at their door, or another crocheted afghan over them on a cold winter’s day.
Jean organizes community donations that arrive on a nearly daily basis. Jean also mobilizes volunteers age 55 and older to meet these significant community needs. She reaches out to homebound persons to make them feel a part of Busy Hands. She or a volunteer will deliver raw materials and pick up finished goods. She knows each of her volunteers so well that donations are organized by what to give to each volunteer.
The first year for Busy Hands was 1998; twenty volunteers made 300 items and logged over 9200 volunteer hours. These numbers have steadily increased until in 2003. Busy Hands donated over 13,500 items and logged over 42,000 hours of volunteer service with nearly 125 volunteers.
To date in 2004, over 130 volunteers have logged nearly 40,000 hours (with another month to go) and have made and distributed over 15,000. Over 5,000 local families have been assisted this year with resources to help meet monthly living expenses and to keep warm this winter!
Jean approaches each new project with boundless enthusiasm! Her passion is contagious which inspires her volunteers to give their all. As an example, she collaborated with a local hospital and facilitated making over 700 pouches for ice packs that were sent to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. This project was finished in less than 3 weeks!
Busy Hands is fortunate to have Jean Stockman as Coordinator and RSVP is lucky to have her. We hope you honor her with this award.