A Gift of Education Changes Lives for Generations
Bonnie Westra is one of several local residents who has contributed to the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) Scholarship Endowment Fund.
“I know from experience that education is a gift that keeps on giving,” said Bonnie. “I was a first-generation college student and didn’t have family role models to show me the benefits of a college education. I just knew I wanted a better job and a better life. With the generous support of both people and programs, I was able to finance my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees. As a result of my education, I held many interesting jobs in clinical nursing, partnered in a startup software business and enjoyed faculty positions that included research, education, and service.”
This year, Bonnie turned 70.5, requiring her to take the mandated IRA distribution. The additional income affected her taxes. After talking with her tax accountant, she decided it was a great time to benefit others through a Qualified Charitable Distribution. Bonnie was on the faculty at the University of Minnesota and her husband was a graduate of Purdue. They planned to provide financial support for scholarships to both of these institutions. However, as she became more involved with SaddleBrooke and the Community Outreach programs, she saw an opportunity to help on a local basis as well.
“What was so appealing about supporting the Scholarship Endowment Fund, just announced last October, is that it is building a sustainable foundation to keep on giving into the future. The stories of the scholarship recipients that I read in the SaddleBrooke papers were inspiring. They opened up my eyes to how we can raise up our community, not just SaddleBrooke, but the community surrounding us. Education can provide opportunities for others, just as I was fortunate to receive my education and live dreams that seemed impossible early in my life.”
“It’s now payback time for me. The Scholarship Endowment Fund has a personal financial benefit for me, but the driving force in my decision to donate is my commitment to the next generation. My gift will help deserving, hard-working students for many generations to come.”
Donations to the Scholarship Fund can be made through estate plans or trusts, by donating a portion of an IRA retirement account, or by donating cash. Gifts of property such as real estate or cars is another option. The minimum donation is $5,000. For more information about the Community Outreach Scholarship Endowment Program, contact Ron Andrea at 520-904-4831 or WhatsNewRon@gmail.com.
SBCO Volunteer Office Receptionists Honored
On Feb. 17th, Pat and Ron Andrea hosted a special event in their home to recognize the work of the current and former receptionists who staff the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) office.
Pat Andrea is the SBCO office manager, responsible for training and scheduling the receptionists. Pat said, “I wanted to do something special for the many receptionists who work at the office and often go unrecognized. They are all wonderful at what they do, always cheerful and friendly to anyone coming through the door. It was a beautiful evening to be outside, socialize, and become better acquainted. Some of the receptionists had never even met each other.”
During the event, the names of all the receptionists, both those present and absent, were read and Susan Williams, who recently volunteered to be the assistant office manager, was recognized. Special recognition was given to Ginny Jackson who retired from Suite L two years ago, but was a faithful receptionist for many years. A shout out was given to Willie Reich, who has been with SBCO from its inception, is a long-time receptionist, and is also in charge of the toiletry bags for Kids Closet.
Pat has launched an annual award for the Receptionist of the Year. This year’s recipient is Buzz Hackett, for his dedication to the office. According to Pat, “Buzz is our ‘sub extraordinaire,’ accepting last-minute shifts in addition to his regularly assigned ones. He does his job with a smile, a great attitude, a hug, and is knowledgeable about everything happening at the office. If he can’t answer a question, he works to find someone who can. He also pitches in wherever an extra hand is needed at the office, be it helping with clothing for Kids Closet, mailing receipts, shredding, or just being a friend to everyone!”
Bored? Time to Become a Volunteer!
Like most nonprofits, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) relies on an army of volunteers to implement programs that provide food, clothing, and educational opportunities to children along a corridor that stretches from Catalina to Miami. Donating your time and talent clearly helps those who receive assistance from a food drive, educational program, or fundraising activity. But did you know that you also benefit from being a volunteer?
Various studies have found that volunteering is:
* Good for your mind and body
* Helps you connect to others
* Brings fulfillment to your life
Volunteering can make you feel healthier, improve your mood, increase your sense of purpose, keep you mentally stimulated, and reduce your stress level. Being a volunteer also can provide a deep sense of happiness, both immediately and long term. Researchers at the London School of Economics found that the more time people spent volunteering, the happier they felt. When compared with people who never volunteered, those who volunteered monthly reported being very happy 7% more often, with this percentage rising to 12% for those who volunteered every two to four weeks, and 16% for weekly volunteers.
Volunteering helps connect you to others, including those you assist. These connections make you part of a larger community, and engaged in making it a better place to live. It also helps you make new friends and boost your social skills. This is particularly important as we age and may have less contact with friends or family members due to distance, health issues, or even death.
Volunteering is also an enjoyable and easy way to explore your interests and passions. When you are involved in meaningful and interesting activities, volunteering can provide a relaxing, stimulating change from your day-to-day routine. Your volunteer experiences can even provide you with renewed motivation and creativity that can affect other aspects of your life.
SBCO is always looking for volunteers for both long and short-term commitments. You can help with a wide range of tasks – from staffing the office, to helping with fundraising events, tutoring, helping children choose new clothing, or serving on our Board of Directors. The opportunities are endless. To become involved, visit https://community-outreach.org/volunteers/ to see a list of volunteer opportunities and to complete an interest form. We’d love to have you join our team!