Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner
OC Community Resources
OC Parks, Adopt-A-Park
ACTION: What does the volunteer do?
Casaundra Alvarado is a recent UCLA graduate who finds time in her busy schedule to serve as an OC Parks Volunteer Services intern. In this capacity, she provides staff support with countywide special events such as the California Coastal Clean Up Day and the OC Parks/OC Animal Care Volunteer Recognition event. Casaundra also assists with the Volunteer Services’ day-to-day operations and coordinates a variety of administrative assignments.
During the Coastal Clean Up Day preparations, Casaundra communicated with team leaders regarding supplies/resources, program meetings and project updates. She organized and distributed supplies to various clean-up sites and served as a volunteer photographer during the September 19, 2009 event. In preparation for other Volunteer Services’ special events, Casaundra researched appropriate give-a-ways and organized donations and opportunity drawings.
Casaundra works closely with Adopt-A-Park volunteers. She coordinates the distribution of vests and hats to active volunteers and participates in orientation meetings for new volunteers. In addition, she tracks the mandatory screening of new volunteers and collects statistical data submitted for active volunteers such as completed service hours.
NEED: What community or agency need does the volunteer address?
According to OC Parks Volunteer Services Coordinator Angeline Santiago, “Volunteers are the ‘heartbeat’ of the Adopt-A-Park program.” Each year thousands of volunteers participate in a variety of activities from trail maintenance and restoration to leading interpretive hikes and providing visitor education. With the assistance of exceptional interns such as Casaundra, OC Parks Volunteer Services helps facilitate the habitat beautification efforts of hundreds of long-term volunteers and countless special-event and episodic volunteers.
OC Parks Volunteer Services processes and helps coordinate thousands of volunteers with just two paid staff. For this reason, interns such as Casaundra who provide exceptional administrative support are vital to the program’s operation. The interns recruit, screen, place and interact with thousands of episodic volunteers and hundreds of long-term volunteers. Casaundra can be counted on to work effectively with volunteers and community partners. She completes each task with a high level of professionalism and is always willing to take on new assignments.
IMPACT: What is different as a result of the volunteer's service?
Thanks to Casaundra, projects that were previously set aside due to limited staffing can now be implemented. When hundreds of volunteers received their official Adopt-A-Park vests and hats, there was a noticeable boost in morale. In addition, Cassaundra has increased the volunteer retention rate by interacting with new volunteers throughout the lengthy screening process and connecting with long-term volunteers to determine their level of satisfaction and recognize their efforts.
INSPIRATION: What makes the volunteer unique/special?
Casaundra understands the importance of giving back to the community that she has lived in and enjoyed for the past 24 years. Over the years, she has visited many of the parks and beaches within the OC Parks system. Through her Volunteer Services internship, Casaundra is dedicating her time, talents and energy to rally other volunteers who will help preserve Orange County’s rich natural resources for future generations.
Casaundra has volunteered with OC Parks Volunteer Services since February 2009, and contributed more than 200 hours of service. She is organized, responsible and always optimistic. Her loyalty to the program and willingness to learn, teach and do truly inspires others to get involved. OC Parks Volunteer Services is honored to have this very talented and dedicated individual as part of its volunteer team.
Click here to find out how you can volunteer with the OC Parks, Adopt-A-Park.