As an organization, we are so fortunate to have volunteers that are so passionate and giving. One in particular is Donna Partridge. Donna planned multiple birthday parties for the children at Hubbard House every month and coordinates volunteers to help from Florida Blue. Florida Blue strives to build healthy, strong communities and Donna, along with her coworkers, is succeeding at this every month. Thank you Donna for all that you’ve done and all you do!
Why did you decide to donate time and resources to Hubbard House?
I attended one of the events with another Volunteer at Florida Blue and had no clue what it was all about. Upon arriving there and setting up the birthday decorations and meeting all the children, I could see the glow in their eyes. There was just something about the kids that made me feel special to be a part of this awesome adventure.
They were so loving and I was happy and to see them get excited celebrating their birthdays, it was just awesome!
From the time the party began even up to where the kids taught me to dance, I knew this was my calling. I have grown up loving children and being part of events all my life- even childhood babysitting -was my world. The children at Hubbard House were so grateful for the party and the caring they received from the volunteers made me want to come back.
What made you get connected with Hubbard House?
My choice to get connected with Hubbard House was when the opportunity was presented to me from another Volunteer at Florida Blue who had decided to move on and wanted somebody to fulfill the part of leading and planning the monthly birthday parties – it was an honor.
Once you feel the love of a child and the “JOY” of a smile that you put on their face from planning a special birthday party, like the Carnival Themed Birthday Party, you know God put you there to be more to these children that you thought you could possibly be.
Every month when it is time to plan a party, I put my heart and soul into making it possible right down to planning every little detail. I begin this journey in hopes to make every month special no matter what holiday it was. We’ve had these themed parties: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Rainbow, Valentines, St Patrick’s Day, Carnival, Ice Cream/Candy Social, Luau/Beach Party … And I have plans for Back to School in August, Another Carnival in October, and still making plans for the rest of the year.
I talked to several local businesses around Jacksonville and was able to get donations from one company, toys, school supplies, and even Christmas stockings for the kids. I also was able to get this company to donate gifts for all the mothers there on Mother’s Day to give things to them they may be without.
What has the volunteering experience meant to you?
This has been one amazing experience and I learn more about the kids every time I go. Every month is a different theme and with the help of the volunteers from Florida Blue, we manage to always make it a successful party. Every party is a different fun theme so the kids will always remember those moments whether they stay in the shelter for a month or several months. I want to give each child a good memory filled with fun, excitement and love that they will never forget.
I have truly been blessed with the caring and inspiring children at Hubbard House and hope to be a memory in their hearts forever.
If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities available at Hubbard House please visit http://www.hubbardhouse.org/help/volunteering.
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic/dating violence 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 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 child care, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit http://www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.
By: Amy Riggan