Volunteer Hub

Hi there! I’m Sandra Ostad, CitySquare’s Volunteer Coordinator. Did you know CitySquare requires a minimum of 40 volunteers a day to fight poverty in Dallas? To help you get involved, I’ll be posting weekly updates and opportunities here on the CitySquare Volunteer Hub. So take a look around and feel free to contact me at 214.303.2146 or SOstad@CitySquare.org if you need more information.


CitySquare Volunteer Blog

Seeking Summer Interns

March 30, 2017

Like any non-profit, CitySquare depends on our committed volunteers and interns. With 17 programs, there are a many unique ways to get involved with CitySquare. One of the ways to get involved is by applying for one of our internships. Earlier this week, we posted two internships available for summer. Both internships are with our Food Programs. As an intern with our Food Pantry, you will learn about food insecurity, the health issues of living in a food desert and how CitySquare work to provide our community with nutritious food. Our Food Pantry distributed 1.3 million pounds last year and we are constantly working to expand and find ways to become more efficient and feed more people. This internship is for anyone who wants to spend their summer being a part of an energetic team, working in a fast-paced environment and interacting with people from all walks of life.

If you like children and believe that every child has the right to a healthy meal all year around, Food on the Move (FOM) is the program for you. As a FOM intern, you will be working closely with our staff in the child food program and our AmeriCorps members that help us run Food on the Move in the summer. You will have an opportunity to be a part of a program that last year delivered over 85,000 meals to more than 3,500 kids in the DFW area.

Visit our career page for more information and learn how to apply for one of these internships.

CitySquarestruction

March 23, 2017

Yesterday, we had the pleasure to sit down with a group of vibrant ladies from Holmes Murphy to brainstorm this year’s CitySquarestruction. For the third year in a row, Holmes Murphy will be hosting CitySquarestruction this summer. CitySquarestruction is a fun and engaging team-building event benefitting the community. Employees are divided into groups and compete against each other. The idea behind the event is to collect and buy different items that CitySquare neighbors need and build a structure or scene using only those items. Based on certain criteria, such as creativity and use of items, a team from CitySquare chooses the winning group, who then gets bragging rights for the rest of the year. All items used to build each structure are then donated to CitySquare benefitting our neighbors.

This year’s Holmes Murphy competition will take place in July, so check back then to see pictures of their creations and donations to CitySquare.

If you are looking for a fun team building event for your group or organization and want more information about what it takes to host a CitySquarestruction, please reach out to me at SOstad@CitySquare.org.

As I am preparing for another volunteer orientation this weekend, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about our front desk volunteers and what it means to be a front desk volunteer with CitySquare. I had some time earlier this week to sit down and talk with Alexis, a committed volunteer who has been with us for close to a year. Every week, she volunteers her time to welcome our neighbors as they arrive at the Welcome Center at the Opportunity Center. Alexis’ best advice to anyone who is thinking of getting involved as a front desk volunteer is to be patient and not take anything personally. She claims her previous job working at the counter for American Airlines prepared her well for this position. Her favorite thing about the position is the time she gets to interact with and get to know our neighbors. Willie, one of our neighbors, was at the Welcome Center when we visited with Alexis. He has become a part of the CitySquare family. Alexis even baked him a cake on his birthday, which says a lot about CitySquare and our community.

Charles is one of our other front desk volunteers. He helps out at the front desk at CityWalk@Akard where he greets neighbors and guests and helps them connect with the right people at CitySquare. Charles also helps with administrative tasks such as data entry and addressing envelopes. Charles started volunteering at CityWalk six weeks ago after learning of CitySquare and coming to find out about nutrition assistance. “For many of us, it’s difficult to receive without giving back, so I offered to assist and have been volunteering here [ever since].”

This is definitely not an ordinary volunteer role. We depend on our volunteers to help us fill in the gaps when staff aren’t available or are assisting other neighbors. We are so grateful for those who are regular volunteers that become a part of the CitySquare family.

Alternative Spring Break

March 9, 2017

In recent years, high schools, colleges, and religious organizations around the country have started offering alternative spring breaks. Instead of sending students off on a ski-trip or beach vacation, students are given the opportunity to give back by volunteering or learning about social issues. This week and next week, youth from Richardson East are spending a day of their spring break with CitySquare. The first group visited with us yesterday. The day started with a mini-tour of the Opportunity Center and continued with the students volunteering a few hours at the Food Pantry. Mid-day, the students were escorted by Edd Eason, Assistant Vice-President for Health & Housing, and our Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), to a close encampment to share a meal and talk to our homeless neighbors. The day ended with a conversation with one of our neighbors at CityWalk@Akard and a quick briefing for the students to share their thoughts about the day. It was an impactful day for the young group from Richardson East. CitySquare is thankful for their assistance at the Pantry and the care they showed for our neighbors.

“It’s inspiring to see that even though all these bad things have happened to them they can still wake up every day and be grateful for what they do have,” said Taryn, one of the young volunteers.

Today, I finally had the chance to meet with the Notre Dame School student volunteers at the CitySquare Food Pantry.

Three times a week, the school’s teacher and job coach Donna Maguire brings an incredibly hard-working and positive group of five students to the Food Pantry, where they assist with sorting and bagging produce deliveries for neighbors in need.

As the students help give neighbors access to nutritious food, they also gain work experience by learning about food handling and packaging requirements.

Several have used their experience at the Food Pantry to successfully pursue jobs at Trader Joe’s and other local stores.

After volunteering for six weeks, Coach Donna and her kids have become a vital part of the operation at CitySquare.

The CitySquare Clinic serves as a community center for neighborhood youth in south Dallas. This week’s shout-out goes to those young folks, who dedicate their spare time at the clinic to tending the community garden or, as in the video below, assembling first aid packets to be given to new patients. Big thanks to these young volunteers for giving their time.

Scouting for Food

February 15, 2017

Earlier this month, Boy Scouts collected food and stocked the CitySquare Food Pantry as part of the annual Scouting For Food campaign. Scouts across the Dallas community collected food donations from generous families who were dropping their children off at school. The CitySquare Food on the Move picked up nearly 600 lbs of food from the collection sites. CitySquare is so thankful for the support of these young scouts and the families that donated. Together, this is how we fight poverty.