In their Words...

"Participating in the Adopt-A-Family Program helps my students learn about compassion and empathy for others."- Donnamarie

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Volunteer Profiles - Meet Donnamarie

In their Words...

"Participating in the Adopt-A-Family Program helps my students learn about compassion and empathy for others."- Donnamarie

This past week, Harbor High School instructor, Donnamarie Stahl, carried out her an annual tradition of incorporating the spirit of giving into her lesson plans. For the past 10 years Donnamarie has participated in the Volunteer Center Adopt-A-Family project with her classes.

Each year she calls the Adopt-A-Family Hotline and includes her students on speakerphone so they can collectively determine which family they want to adopt.

This year the Adopt -A-Family Project will connect generous donors like Donnamarie and her class with more than 450 families who have been referred by 25 partner organizations, including the Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center, Santa Cruz County Head Start, Santa Cruz City Schools and Pajaro Valley Shelter Services.

As the class tried to make the difficult decision of whether to adopt a young mother and child, a homeless pregnant woman or disabled father and daughter pair, Donnamarie asked the phone line volunteer, “Can we get some more details about the families?”

A student then chimed in, “If we don’t adopt the first family, will they be helped by someone else?”

The phone line volunteer reassured the students that all families will either be connected with a donor or accommodated by the Volunteer Center using funds donated to the project.

In the end, Donna and her students chose to adopt a young mother and child.

This year Donnamarie made a second call to the phone line to share that she had another class who was interested in hearing about the pregnant woman her first class hadn’t adopted. After hearing the pregnant woman’s story the class voted to adopt her.

Each year Donnamarie chooses to include the Adopt a Family program in her curriculum because she believes it helps her students learn about “compassion and empathy for others” and the importance of “volunteering in programs in their community.”


Give Your Time

HOW TO HELP: Does your class, group or family also want to connect with the opportunity to make the holiday brighter for others in need? In the last two weeks, the Adopt a Project has connected 280 families with generous donors but 200 families are still hoping for a happy holiday. If you’d like to join volunteers like Donnamarie and her students, please call us at 831-457-9834 or fill out the Family Request Form on our website by December 12.

If shopping isn’t your thing we also accept monetary donations online or you can mail a check to the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, 1740 17th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062.

GIVE YOUR TIME: Volunteer to help out in the Adopt a Family donation warehouse – Sign Up Here.

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