This month’s Volunteer of the Month comes to us from one of our partner agencies in Clarke County, Alpha Women’s Resource Center. Alpha Women’s Resource Center does not perform or make referrals for abortion, but offers free and confidential services to pregnant woman including pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, educational opportunities, and ongoing prenatal resources. Diane Pruitt, Executive Director of AWRC, nominated this honoree after her 5 years of loyal service to the center. Congratulations to Mary Evangeline (Vangy) Johnson, United Way of Southwest Alabama’s March Volunteer of the Month!
When asked why Vangy’s service merited special recognition, Diane had this to say:
“Mary Evangeline (otherwise known as Vangy) has been a volunteer at the Alpha Women’s Resource Center since 2010. She is a retired licensed practical nurse and is an active member of her church and her community. Vangy also volunteers with Catholic Social Services and is active at the Adult Nutrition Center in Jackson. Vangy is fluent in both Spanish and English and has a can-do spirit that belies her 75+ years! She successfully completed a course in the Citizens Police Academy and attends regular meetings. Vangy is a tremendous asset and is willing to help whenever she is needed. She is deeply committed to her faith, a hard worker, and maintains a positive outlook in life that is felt by everyone, young and old alike, who she comes in contact with.”
We caught up with Vangy to talk to her about her service, and why she enjoys volunteering.
UWSWA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Vangy: I think every day is a beautiful adventure. I thank God that He has let me be here on earth as long as I have. I am a grandmother of 7 and a great grandmother of 5. When I was growing up, my mother always had people over and I was more of a private person. Later in life, I asked God to give me His love for other people and He did! Now I love being with people as much as I can.
UWSWA: What made you want to begin volunteering?
Vangy: I have always felt so blessed and as a 16-year cancer survivor, I can honestly say that my needs have always been provided for. I want to tell others that God has a plan for each of us and He will provide for them just as He has provided for me.
UWSWA: What types of work have you been doing?
Vangy: I volunteer at Catholic Social Services; my regular job is hanging up clothes in the thrift store; I also visit patients at the Nursing Home once a week. I volunteer at the Alpha Women’s Resource Center as a client advocate-meeting with the client, talking to them about their pregnancy options and helping them with the “Earn While You Learn” program. I serve as a Lector and Eucharistic minister in my church and sometimes volunteer in the kitchen at the Senior Nutrition Program.
UWSWA: What do you enjoy about volunteering?
Vangy: Spending time with people and getting to know them. I also enjoy getting to know the volunteers I work with at the Alpha Women’s Resource Center and at Catholic Social Services.
UWSWA: Is there a moment that stands out in your mind about your volunteer experience, as interesting or noteworthy?
Vangy: I knew that God had been calling me to volunteer at the Alpha Center for a long time. One Sunday, the director from the center came to my church and talked about the work they do. At that moment, I felt called to become a volunteer and I am so glad I did! I love talking to women and telling them how precious they are and much God loves them. I feel like everyone needs to know that!
UWSWA: Why would you recommend volunteering to others?
Vangy: Because it makes me realize that when I help others, I get back so much more than I give and it makes me feel good!
Thank you, Vangy for your service to Alpha Women’s Resource Center and to our community as a whole! You are very much appreciated and we were happy to recognize you.