North Light is fortunate to have a talented pool of more than 650 volunteers, offering nearly 10,000 hours of service a year. Whether it’s a high-profile project like the KaBOOM! playground build, or the daily homework help for KidZone children the Villanova University RUIBAL students provide throughout the school year, North Light realizes the value of all the volunteers, and appreciates their contribution to so many projects and services.
Conor Kennedy, a graduate student at Villanova University, started volunteering last fall picking up clothing for the Thanks4Giving Clothing Drive. He handled the two busiest drop-off locations every week with ease. He was also there to unload the storage unit into a truck from Clothing Shoe Drive.
Conor started picking up for our food cupboard from Whole Foods on Fridays once the clothing drive was over. In fact, there are days when he’s also gone to Target and Acme to pick up food. Concerning his weekly pick-ups, he commented, “I worked in restaurants for several years. Sometimes I would have to go and pick up orders from various restaurant supply companies. So picking up food in a van was very familiar to me.” Volunteer drivers are essential to keeping our bi-weekly food cupboard, which distributes 120,000 pounds of food per year, up and running.
When asked how he felt about his volunteering at North Light, Conor replied, “Every week I feel as though someone is happy to have me walk in the door. I always get greeted with a smile. I know that what I do makes a difference because everyone is so gracious.”
RUIBAL, a volunteer program based at Villanova University, has been a part of the North Light children’s program since 2010. Named after Charles and Geraldine Ruibal, the program strives to build strong connections between Villanova students and the surrounding communities. Every semester, bright new freshmen and sophomores commit themselves to serving the North Light children’s community.
“I volunteer at North Light because I love getting to know the kids. I’ve had the privilege of playing with the students at North Light for almost two years now, and each time I go I spend my time laughing, playing, and sharing stories. I always learn something new and the kids inspire me to remember to always put time aside to play.” -RUIBAL Group Leader (Friday)
The RUIBAL volunteers serve in many different capacities, with daily tasks including homework help, snack collector, assistant teacher, cooking club leaders, and our favorite…a North Light Buddy!
“My favorite memory is one that happens each week we show up when all the kids come running towards us yelling, “The Villanova’s are here!” It makes every volunteer smile without fail and makes us feel welcome each time we walk in the door.” -RUIBAL Group Leader (Cooking Club)
Not only does RUIBAL come to us, but every holiday season they invite all the KidZone and summer camp families out to VU and they have a huge celebration for all of the children. There’s wonderful food, games, and crafts. Then, along with the help of our favorite volunteers, Santa stops by with a special present for every child!
“I feel as though I am more of a friend of the community than simply a volunteer. Even when my schedule restricts me from attending the kids program for a number of weeks in a row, I am immediately welcomed back with opened arms by each smiling face. I aim to be a positive influence on the lives of the children that attend North Light, offering encouragement, advice, and laughs – however I am constantly reminded that they are just as much as a positive influence on my own life. Nothing is as beautiful as watching that playground light up with life, and nothing brings a bigger smile to my face than when I hear one of the kids say that they want to go to Villanova just like me.” -RUIBAL Student Coordinator
We, at KidZone are so grateful for the experiences and opportunities we get to share with RUIBAL. Thank you for being North Light’s volunteer of the month!
Stephanie Nolt, owner Stephanie Nolt Photography, first began volunteering for North Light in 2011 when she joined the Pints for North Light committee. In February, 2012 she generously donated pro bono photography services for the 75th Anniversary Hobo Ball & Auction. Check out her photos of the people and the venue. In 2013 she stepped up to be a volunteer co-chair of the Pints committee, using her talent and connections to acquire most of the donated food for the event. We are thankful for her hard work, and recognize Stephanie is one of many volunteers who make North Light’s events successful year after year.
“There is no greater joy than to be of service to others and North Light Community Center does just that for our community, it serves people. I am blessed to be able to volunteer and help fundraise for them. It is my goal to help ensure that they can continue to open up their doors and their hearts to everyone around them.” Stephanie Nolt
Christopher Rigler, pictured in the green North Light t-shirt, has been volunteering twice a week for more than three years to help with the food cupboard. When asked what his greatest strength is, Chris replied with a laugh, “It’s my strength!” Not only does he help unload the vehicles when they arrive from Whole Foods and Target, he goes one step further and will carry the grocery bags for many of the senior clients to their cars.