Every month we will introduce you to a volunteer who makes a difference at A-SPAN, both to our clients and our operations. Our first member of this A-LIST is Devona Watson.
Since October 2009, Devona Watson has been volunteering at Opportunity Place (OP) every weekday morning. With her cheerful expression and dedicated work ethic, Devona (and other OP volunteers like her) is vital to A-SPAN operations. She helps with many tasks, doing anything that is needed- be it filing, washing clothes, sorting donations or stuffing envelopes. In the future Devona sees herself with her bachelor’s degree, still living in Arlington, and working in the federal government.
Why did you start volunteering at A-SPAN?
I began volunteering to give me something to do, because I was unemployed. I was looking for a job and nothing was coming through so when this opportunity came about I took it, and I love it.
Why do you continue to volunteer at A-SPAN?
I still volunteer to help others, to help the clients and staff member here who need me. Especially the clients, because they need more help than anybody else. They need help with getting clean clothes and I love helping them.
What is your favorite thing about being a volunteer here?
I like that I’m helping people that are homeless, people who are close to the state I was in before I got my apartment. I was very close to being back home in South Carolina. I talked to Sam Gatewood (Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Case worker) and he helped find me an apartment.
What impact do you think you have on our community?
I think I show people that at first you can be homeless but if you talk to right people in the right organizations they will help you to find what you are looking for- like an apartment, which I have and I ‘m grateful for.
What have you gained from volunteering at A-SPAN?
I have learned how to help others in a more passionate way. Before, I’d see a homeless person on the street and I’d just walk past them. Now if I see a homeless person on the street I’m more likely to go get a sandwich, walk back andgive them something to eat. I can’t give them money because I don’t have it, but I can at least give them something to eat. Some appreciate it and some don’t, you just have to take it with a grain of salt and keep going.
Why would you encourage other people to volunteer at A-SPAN?
They’ve helped me out. A-SPAN helped me find my place and I’m grateful for them. They have helped me get more skills that I need under my belt, as far a getting a part-time job. They’ve taught me to file, fax, and work the front desk. I would encourage people to come and give it a shot.