by Jennifer Minor, Editor/WriterHeartbeat International
Here at Heartbeat International, we’ve got amazing supporters. Some are people we’ve never met, but some are in the office with us every week. Betty Strack is one of those who joins us every week as a volunteer.
Betty turned 90 years old this July, and she’s been volunteering with Heartbeat consistently for 8 years. After her husband passed in October of 2011, her daughter, who works as a medical specialist for Heartbeat, invited her to start volunteering in December. She never looked back.
“Everybody’s friendly. Everybody’s nice. They’re all wonderful people to work with and for!” Betty says. Perhaps that’s the reason she comes back week after week doing a little of everything, but most often stuffing envelopes. “One time there was an overload and I worked until after 4! I’ve done it twice, and don’t care to do it again.” Fortunately, she usually only sticks around from about 10 am to 3 pm on Thursdays.
We love having Betty around at parties and picnics as a volunteer, and she invited the entire office to her 90th birthday party. Ultimately, we figure we’re the lucky ones at Heartbeat to have Betty. She disagrees though.
“I enjoy it. I enjoy being here. Otherwise, I wouldn’t keep coming back!”
by Ducia Hamm, LAS, Associate Director of Affiliate Services
Heartbeat International receives many calls daily for a variety of reasons. Usually, these calls are questions about our resources, training opportunities, how to add medical services, how to handle a challenging board or client situation, or even just a question about how to make an organization run more smoothly.
Sometimes we even get a call that should have gone to OptionLine, but we can redirect, and we don’t mind. Occasionally, there’s a call for a completely different Heartbeat International (a charity that provides pacemakers), but every once in a while, we get a really unexpected call.
One Thursday morning, the phone rang – nothing unusual right? Except for one thing, the person on the line kept saying only one thing. “Do you speak Spanish?”
Now, since OptionLine has nearly 100% coverage in Spanish and often receives calls in Spanish, the call could have easily been meant for them, but since Heartbeat International has affiliates all over the world and a great partnership with Centro de ayuda para la mujer latinoamericana, A.C. (Latin America), there was no way to know.
So just in case, the call was transferred to the Ministry Services department where there just “happened” to be Heartbeat’s newest volunteer, who “happens” to volunteer one day a week – on Thursday’s – who “happens” to be fluent in Spanish, and just “happened” to be willing to help when she was asked by the Ministry Services staff to translate.
But wait! There’s more. Our volunteer asked the caller where she was calling from – Hialeah, Florida was the answer. She was surprised and excited because she just “happened” to have been a part of the team that started Heartbeat of Miami in – you guessed it – Hialeah, Fla.
The grateful caller was given Heartbeat of Miami’s phone number, specific directions on getting to the Center along with the number for OptionLine.Some may call these mere coincidences – we call them GOD-incidences! The Lord tells us in Psalms 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.”
We stand back in awe to see how the Lord ordered all the needed steps so that everything and everyone was in place to meet the needs of this caller.
by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
Ten years ago my family moved to Tennessee, which carries the motto, “The Volunteer State.” The University of Tennessee’s athletic teams are the Volunteers, a moniker carried with incredible pride.
Most historians agree the nickname comes from a call for militia to fight in the Mexican-American War from U.S. President James K. Polk, a Tennessean. As the war ramped up in 1846, Polk asked for 2,600 men from across the country to join the battle. Stunningly, 30,000 fellow Tennesseans heeded Polk’s request and enlisted. Hence, “The Volunteer State.”
The story of the Volunteer State makes for an interesting history lesson, certainly. But this makes me think as we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week, what does it mean to be a true volunteer, a state of being incredibly valuable to God? In short, what is The State of a Volunteer?
When we choose to volunteer, we truly do enter a new state of being. It changes those around us, but it also changes us.
In the State of a Volunteer, we understand our battle is not against flesh and blood, “but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).”
In the State of a Volunteer, we stand before God as servants, willing to step forward when called upon even when the stakes are high, even when the odds are against us.
In the State of a Volunteer, we place our trust in God, knowing He is not moved by what we might see, knowing He can work in any situation.
In the State of a Volunteer, we are confident that God chooses to work through anyone who says, “Here am I, send me.”
In the State of a Volunteer, the words, “It can’t be done” are replaced by “I’ll give it my best.”
In the State of a Volunteer, a natural desire to be recognized is replaced by a passion to serve.
In the State of a Volunteer, “It’s not my job” is replaced by “How can I help?”
We celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week because when we volunteer, the entire world better understands the meaning behind the words, “Set your minds on the things above.” The State of a Volunteer is focused on the eternal—on the truly valuable.
This week—and every week—take heart. God sees the volunteer . . . and smiles.
by Jor-El Godsey, Heartbeat International Vice President
“Let’s get the volunteers to do it. That will save a bundle!”
Volunteers are often seen as a supply of labor for almost any task or for the implementation of an action item. Leaders - board members and directors alike - often assume that volunteers are the least expensive option available. Think again.
Many moons ago, our pregnancy help center utilized a team of volunteers to accomplish the bulk mailing of our newsletters and appeals. Trays of printed material and envelopes along with stickers and labels were distributed. Presto, some two weeks later the mailing had been delivered.
Upon closer inspection, we realized that, in addition to the volunteer time, two staff members had spent ten work hours (a total of twenty staff hours) each mailing cycle to coordinate the assembly, distribution, and postal paperwork for this process. A local mailing service (also known as a fulfillment house) that had more sophisticated equipment could lower the postal rate and turn the same task around in three working days as opposed to two weeks. Cost comparisons revealed that, for just a few dollars more, we could improve our process, tighten our turn around, and release several volunteers to more personally rewarding tasks.
All leaders recognize the scarcity of resources to accomplish the mission and achieve the vision. The good leader continually evaluates how to allocate the limited resources available for maximum return on the investment for the ministry and those involved.
Adapted from DIRECT Well™, Heartbeat International’s manual for directors.
From On the LeaderBoard | Volume 2, Issue 2
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