By Amanda Hoffman
This month’s December Volunteer Spotlight belongs to Tennessee native Melissa Marchetta. After moving to South Florida, Melissa was tired of not knowing directions or people in her area, so she decided to get involved in her new community. Last year, a simple search for volunteer opportunities pulled up the HandsOn Broward website and—voila!–Melissa started her volunteer work at Young at Art Children’s Museum.
What originally attracted Melissa to Young at Art was her love for children and “the experience of being wanted or needed by someone other than yourself or your family.” Since she started volunteering at YAA over a year ago, Melissa has loved every minute of YAA. “Never once did I not want to go,” she says. “I went twice a week and there was not a day when I woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I dread this.’”
For Melissa, there is never a dull moment at YAA. “I’m on the computer a lot, entering other volunteer’s hours or they might have me in the Alice and Wonderland exhibit doing a tea party with the little kids. Or I might show the field trip kids how to make puppets. There are so many different things to do that it keeps it exciting.”
For new volunteers, and potential YAA volunteers, Melissa encourages them to find a passion in their volunteer work. “Find something that you really enjoy, stick with it and I guarantee you will love it,” she says. “A lot of volunteers feel forced to do it because they need the hours, but, in the long run, they will get something out of it that will change them inside.”
Before HandsOn Broward, Melissa worked at soup kitchens in Tennessee, making her no stranger to volunteering. Nor is she unfamiliar with the wonderful feeling of giving back. “There are so many places that need your help and it gives me so much joy, so much excitement, to see the kids that come in there to take classes. Volunteering makes you appreciate what you have.”
We’re so happy Melissa found HandsOn Broward last year. Thank you for all that you do, Melissa!