Hi everyone! We hope you’re having a happy Monday!

We’re about a week out from the giveaway. If you have a donation that you’d like for us to pick up, please email our donations coordinator at donations@austinhumanistsatwork.org, and she’ll put you in contact with the nearest volunteer. If you prefer to purchase your donation or live outside the Austin area, please check out our Amazon wish list.

Don’t forget – Gettin’ Knotty is meeting this Thursday (Sept. 15)! Come knit and crochet with us in the cafe at Barnes & Noble in the Arboretum from 7 to 10 PM.

Want to volunteer with us? Join our ATXHAW Volunteer group on Facebook to keep up with the latest opportunities & news.

We’re continuing our Volunteer Spotlight series. This month, our donations coordinator has answered our spotlight questions.

Laura Tanner
Laura Tanner

How did you find out about the Austin Humanists at Work and when did you start volunteering?
I began volunteering in my community when I became an EMT at the age of 18. I lived in rural areas in south Texas that had volunteer fire & EMS organizations. Many weeks, I would volunteer as many hours as I would work for pay! It wasn’t as hectic as it sounds though – I was able to be on-call from my home much of the time.
Like Virginia, I was in the homeschool Yahoo group, and contacted the person who was running ATXHAW (then ATXAHH) in May of 2014. I asked if there was anything that I could help with, and she said she’d think about it. She emailed me a couple of weeks later and asked if I’d be willing to coordinate the donation requests. Sure! And now I’m in my third year with ATXHAW.

What have you done and currently do within the organization?
At first, I just coordinated pick-up requests via email. Over the past couple of years, being the donations coordinator has grown to include maintaining the donations log, writing grants, maintaining inventory of the items on the line, bringing the bins to the giveaways, picking up & sorting donations, and writing the traffic light posts. I also maintain our Amazon wish list and receive the packages that our wonderful donors send. Because we are a Beyond Belief Network team, I send our event reports to the Foundation Beyond Belief. I am one of the founding members of our Board of Directors, and I am very excited to help steer ATXHAW into the future! When I can, I also crochet for Gettin’ Knotty and create with Beyond the Basics. Oh, and I will pin our business cards to anything that will stand still long enough.

What do you like most about the work you do with the Austin Humanists at Work?
As someone who is extremely introverted and has anxiety, it surprises me to say this, but I’ve found that I absolutely love connecting with our donors, volunteers, and the people that we serve. At first it was scary, but it’s hard to be scared when you’re in a place with a lot of love. Our volunteers come from all walks of life, and I can honestly say that they are some of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. Now if I could just remember everyone’s names… (sorry y’all!).

Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of Austin Humanists at Work.
I was born & raised here in Austin, moved around south Texas for awhile, and finally came back home in October of 2005. I’m getting to raise my daughter in the house that I grew up in! She’s 8, a total sassypants, and alternates between cracking me up & driving me nuts. We homeschool, which is wonderful & challenging. I’m married to my very best friend, and we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary in January! We have 4 cats and a dog, all spoiled rotten, who I love more every day. I also attend ACC half-time, and am currently pursuing a degree in communication studies. I love to read (currently the Harry Potter series for the first time), but am more addicted to Netflix than I care to admit (Supernatural or Star Trek, anyone?).

Name one thing you’ve learned about homelessness since volunteering for the organization?
I’ve learned that the people that we serve encompass a huge range of life stories. Some people are homeless for a few weeks; some, for years. Some people choose to remain homeless. Some live in their cars or couch surf. Life tragedies, job loss, mental and/or physical illness… there are so, so many reasons that people come to our giveaways. The one thing that remains is the simple fact that they are people – and they, like everyone else, deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.

Thanks for reading my ATXHAW story! See you on Sunday!
Sincerely, Laura

Volunteer Spotlight – September 2016

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