Daily Point of Light # 2674 May 5, 2004

Margit Szvoboda lives and volunteers her time and efforts at the Lake Wales Care Center in Lake Wales, Florida. After the death of her husband, Ms. Szvoboda sought to find meaningful work as a way to make use of her time and give back to her community. Through a friend, she learned of the Lake Wales Care Center. It is a private nonprofit Christian social service agency that seeks to provide meaningful solutions to life problems while empowering individuals and families practically, spiritually, emotionally and relationally.

The Lake Wales community has a significant need for basic needs services to be provided to individuals or families experiencing emergency situations. Ms. Szvoboda has a direct hand in distributing food, clothing, furniture, lodging, gas, prescriptions, medical equipment and rent/ utility payments by maintaining financial and demographic records for the casework staff. Her specific areas of responsibility include compilations of weekly, monthly and annual service reports, computer data entry of all client services, file maintenance and bookkeeping for a service related funding source. Without the proper maintenance of these records, services could not be provided in a timely manner, if at all. Ms. Szvoboda’s 12 to 15 hours of volunteer service each week save the agency a least $575 monthly in salaries. As a result of her work, those dollars can be put to direct client service expenditures, impacting families significantly.

Ms. Szvoboda’s work serves many. She works with fringe-income families or the “working poor,” individuals with drug or alcohol addictions, unwed pregnant teenagers, those without the typical informal resources of family and friends and those generally disenfranchised for one reason or the other. Ms. Szvoboda’s efforts ensure accountability to donors with accurate reports and maintenance of confidentiality.

Ms. Szvoboda also has an ongoing relationship and involvement with Care Center and its clients. She worked there 12 years as a non-paid staff member and then continued with 7,200 hours of volunteer service of the next 3 ½ years. She continued to work weekly during her regular office hours, and the impact that this time has on clients is felt, again, because they can direct those dollars they saved from paying her towards client services. In addition, Ms. Szvoboda’s record keeping and networking with the United Way reduces duplication of services in the area and helps to leverage dollars in an effort to provide more services for client groups.

Ms. Szvoboda is dedicated to help others in her community. This is evident through her volunteer work with various agencies. She is consistent, compassionate and is always looking to help someone in need.