volunteer spotlight {january} January 10 2012, 2 Comments

{drumroll, please...} Introducing the talented and ubersweet Claire Siemer...

Claire works in Re:new's office and keeps our accountants happy with her meticulous attention to detail.  She is organized and efficient, and we all know that Re:new became a better place the providential moment she walked through the door and volunteered to help. And she's artistic too! She doodles beautiful designs in her spare time, and I, for one, am inspired by her art. Lovely, isn't it?

I think I speak for most of the volunteers when I say that volunteering at Re:new changes a person in one way or another. Read on to see how Re:new has impacted Claire. And, Claire, we can't thank you enough for the positive impact you've made here, both in the lives of the refugee women and those working on the administrative side!

How do you see your involvement at Re:new making a difference?

Even though I work in the office setting of Re:new, I am still able to see the difference I make each week. The women know who I am and what I do; they know I count what they make and figure out how much Re:new will pay them at the end of each month. That is a big responsibility. No matter how small their paycheck is, it makes a big difference in their lives. I take my role at Re:new very seriously because these women take what I do very seriously. They trust me and depend on me to be accurate and organized. At the end of each month my accuracy and organization are rewarded when the employees are handed their check.

What little (or big) impacts have you seen or experienced at Re:new?

I am able to see the incredible impact the program has on the employees, but another big impact has been on me personally. Re:new changed my life and pointed my career goals in a new direction. It was a direction I had considered getting involved in, but never taking on the seriousness it now has. Thanks to Re:new, I am now on the path to working towards a master's in public administration, with a focus in nonprofit management. I have already been accepted into Indiana University of Bloomington's program, which is number one in the nation for nonprofit management. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine getting accepted into such a prestigious program, and I know it would not have been possible without my experience at Re:new.

How do you gain encouragement from being a part of Re:new?

In addition to the previous question, I am also able to see each week the impact this program has in the lives of the women who work here. Re:new greatly impacts the lives of both the employees and volunteers. Seeing those involved each week makes my week so much better. Just being in the office, surrounded by these amazing women, brings an immense amount of joy to my life. It has become another support system in my life. I don't know if I am putting my response into the correct words. But essentially, simply being at Re:new gives me encouragement to follow my dreams and discover my passion and that support comes directly from all of the women involved in the program.

How did you get involved with Re:new?

Well, my mom had been a volunteer with Re:new for over a year and Rebecca was looking for someone to help in the office and reorganize some things. I was an unemployed college graduate looking to get involved. I think my mom knew Re:new would be a perfect fit for me, which it was, of course. Right around last Christmas I met Rebecca for the first time, and was asked to help streamline the payroll process. I had previously worked three summers at an insurance company that only insured nonprofit organizations. That experience gave me both a passion for nonprofit work and the Excel experience to do what I could on the administrative side of Re:new. Eventually, Re:new became a big part of my life, as I took on a larger role in the program. I have loved every minute. And even though sometimes I say I want to pull my hair out and get frustrated, there is no place I would rather be. Seeing Re:new change and develop in the past year into what it is now has been such an amazing experience. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this life-changing program.