Theodore Zuniga is a recent CSUF graduate who finds time in his busy schedule to serve as an OC Parks Volunteer Services intern. In this capacity, he provides staff support with countywide special events such as the California Coastal Clean Up Day, assists with Volunteer Services’ day-to-day operations and coordinates a variety of administrative assignments.
In preparing for the California Coastal Clean Up Day, Theodore contacted team leaders regarding supplies, program meetings and project updates. While working with the Adopt-A-Park volunteers, he coordinates distribution of vests and hats to active, long-term volunteers; tracks mandatory screening of new volunteers; and collects statistical data such as service hours for thousands of volunteers placed countywide.
NEED: What community need does the volunteer address?
According to OC Parks Volunteer Services Coordinator Angeline Soto, “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 Theodore, 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 three paid staff. For this reason, Theodore’s willingness to provide administrative support and interact directly with volunteers and community partners is vital to the program’s operation. Staff members count on him to help recruit, screen and place short-term, episodic and long-term volunteers. He consistently performs 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 Theodore, 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 boost in morale. In addition, Theodore 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?
Theodore values the importance of volunteerism for himself and for others. Since February 2010 he has dedicated more than 200 hours of service to OC Parks Adopt-A-Park Volunteer Services. Through his long-term commitment, Theodore has gained knowledge and skills strategic to the program’s daily operations. He is a tremendous resource for staff and an inspiration to other volunteers. OC Parks Volunteer Services is honored to have this very talented and dedicated individual as part of its team.
Thank you and congratulations to Theodore Zuniga, 2010 Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner!
Click here to find out how you can volunteer with the OC Parks, Adopt-A-Park.