Updated: Jun 5, 2019
65,000 is the grand total of volunteer hours Michele Prevedel managed in her last two positions combined. Now, she’s ready to build one of our newest volunteer-focused programs, Visit-A-Bit, as the new manager.
“I'm very excited about kind of starting from the ground up with Visit-A-Bit because I’ve always worked on very established volunteer programs, so I’m excited to be proactive about seeing what kind of efforts spark interest and to try different avenues out. I'm really excited about the different challenges," says Michele.
Before Visit-A-Bit, Michele worked with volunteers, serving a variety of of populations from those experiencing homelessness, to young students, and even a program where volunteer visited patients at a skilled nursing facility. And regardless of the setting, Michele has a recipe for keeping volunteers feeling engaged and fulfilled/ It's made of communication, appreciation and trust.
“Volunteers are a very special breed, in my opinion. Sometimes volunteers come in and they’re going to tell you what they want, but it may not necessarily be the best match, so you have to be able to think from the position of the agency and communicate the best option for that person,” she says. “It’s a balance of being soft in language, but at the same time being able to properly advocate exactly what the organization is looking for.”
Having worked with St. Louis organizations in the past, part of the reason Michele was drawn to the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis was due to the organization’s well-established community and overall reputation. The Visit-A-Bit program, in particular, resonated with her on a more personal level.
“Up until November, I had all four living grandparents, and they all lived independently in their homes. When I’d call my grandma, it was like Christmas for her. When I was telling her about this position, she wanted to know more about it, and I just kept thinking, ‘ you would be a great senior candidate for the program.’ All of her kids are still working, she had eight grandchildren, but I'm a one of the few that still lives in St. Louis, and she’s actually outlived a lot of her friends. So, I understand the need [for a program like this].” Michele shared.
With all the volunteer time she’s helped manage, it’s no surprise that she’s seen her share of program blunders as a result of being overwhelmed by rapid growth. For Visit-A-Bit, she's focused on growth, but not at the cost of losing a strong foundation.
“There's a lot of time investment with volunteering. We’re asking somebody to donate a commitment of one year, right off the bat, which I think is actually good. You don’t want to intimidate anybody, but at the same time we want the right people in here and when you place the proper people in those roles, you don't really have much turnover. Steady growth is the aim and right now, I’m doing as much research as I can,” she says.
To learn more about Michele and her thoughts on her journey ahead with Visit-A-Bit, watch our video below: