We are so grateful for the support and help we continue to receive from all of you even during the harder times of a public health crisis, and we want to share stories that resonate with our clients, staff, and volunteers through weekly Stories of Hope emails and through Volunteer Spotlights.

On Thursday, amid Thrive DC’s bustling Grocery Distribution, I talked to Cora about her time at Thrive DC. She had a lot to say about her time here and we’re happy to have her as a part of the Thrive DC family!

Tell me about yourself

I’m a second year student at American University, studying Economics with a minor in Spanish. I’m originally from Arkansas, and have loved my time living in DC.

How did you hear about Thrive DC? How long have you been volunteering here?

I heard about Thrive through my participation in the Community Based Research Scholars Program at American University. The program allows us the opportunity to volunteer at various nonprofit organizations around the DC area, and I’ve been volunteering here since last fall.

What made you interested in volunteering with us?

I’ve always had an interest in service and volunteering, but usually focused around children and education, so I wanted to expand my experience within different focuses. I think that addressing homelessness and poverty should be considered a priority within humanitarian pursuits, government policy, and public health. Given all of that, as an individual I think it’s your responsibility to evaluate your strengths and resources and give where able whether it’s your time, intellect, or another contribution.

What have been some highlights or a moment that has stood out to you?

When I first started at Thrive DC, I had only a little experience with Spanish and recognized some shortcomings through language barriers when communicating with clients. Over the summer, when my plans had changed I had some extra time, so I started taking elementary Spanish at a local community college back at home. Now this fall after I’ve returned to Thrive, I’m improving my Spanish skills and better at helping clients in their native language. They’re always grateful when other people can speak Spanish and it’s nice to be able to talk to them without a language barrier. Now I’m getting to know a lot of the clients better.

What does a typical volunteer shift look like for you?

Recently I’ve been helping with Thursday grocery distribution. I’ll come in the morning and distribute bags to clients and move boxes.

What advice would you give to someone just starting to volunteer at Thrive DC?

I would say just be flexible! Thrive is a great place with so many welcoming and kind people- go with the flow and be willing to help wherever you’re needed. It helps you recognize how your strengths can best serve clients and the other volunteers as well as staff.