This month’s volunteer spotlight features Jennifer Bardhi. When she isn’t working as a graphic designer, Jennifer devotes her time and creativity to coordinating and hosting birthday parties for the children living in Hubbard House’s Emergency Shelter. “I feel like it’s my small way of dropping a little sunshine into their day,” says Jennifer about the time she spends with the children.
Every month a birthday party is held for all the children staying in shelter to celebrate those who have birthdays within that month. It is a time for kids to take a break from their lives in shelter and have a celebration. Volunteers like Jennifer are the people who make these events happen. Through their generosity, our volunteers bring a lot of joy to children in shelter, and create happy memories for them. Thank you Jennifer, for giving your time and gifts to Hubbard House.
Why did you decide to donate your time and resources to Hubbard House? My daughter and I heard about an organization in New York City that threw birthday parties for kids in shelters. I wanted to help with an effort like that here in Jacksonville. Hubbard House was my first thought. I did a paper in college about domestic violence and have always had Hubbard House in the back of my mind as a place I would like to volunteer my time.
How did you get connected with Hubbard House? A friend of mine works for Hubbard House and she directed me to Tracy, the volunteer program specialist.
What has been the most memorable experience you have had during your time volunteering? The day we made flying saucers at our Outer Space party. The saucers were made out of paper plates that I glued together for them to paint. I was really surprised and delighted by the time each child put into painting their saucer and making it unique. I could tell they were taking them seriously and really enjoyed having something to make their own.
How do you use your talents in your volunteering? I’m a graphic designer so I have always enjoyed throwing parties and doing crafty things. After planning my sister’s bridal shower, it was clear to me that I should turn this hobby into something that would benefit others. I like to keep things simple—I call it old school—so most of the treats and games are homemade.
What has your volunteering experience meant to you? I love seeing the kids have so much fun doing simple things. It takes very little for me to put together the parties, but the satisfaction comes in knowing they had a good time for a few hours. I feel like it’s my small way of dropping a little sunshine into their day.
If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities available at Hubbard House please visit www.hubbardhouse.org/help/volunteering/.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.
ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.
Written by Allison Beattie