February Project Leader Spotlight

Jonathan Howard

Our February Project Leader Spotlight belongs to long-time HandsOn Broward volunteer and project leader, Jonathan Howard. Jonathan has been volunteering through HandsOn Broward for many years now. When asked how he first got involved, Jonathan said, “My middle school encouraged community service, so my mom started researching places both my younger sister and I could volunteer. While researching on the web, she found local places to volunteer but they didn’t make it easy. You had to call each one individually and see what times & days were available to serve. This made it time consuming. Many of the service hours they offered were during school hours and many places rejected us because of our ages (10 & 13 at the time). As she continued to search, she first found HandsOn Miami and eventually found HandsOn Broward. Their calendar view with age requirements, descriptions and variety of service types made it easy and possible to start serving the community at an early age.”

Since getting involved with HandsOn Broward, Jonathan has volunteered in numerous projects, such as National Days of Service like HandsOn Broward’s MLK Signature Day of Service, Family Volunteer Day and Children’s Services Council Back to School Extravaganza. “My volunteering started selfishly with my school offering three levels of awards each semester for doing service hours. I wanted the highest award level and so I began. I’ve since moved on to high school, ended up falling in love with volunteering and I am still going strong.” Jonathan is the perfect example of how passion can be driven through community service.

Jonathan didn’t stop at just volunteering; he began to lead as well and became one of HandsOn Broward’s amazing Project Leaders. In 2012, Jonathan became the youngest project leader at the age of 14 and began to lead the monthly project, Movies, Muffins & Beyond at Ronald McDonald House of Ft. Lauderdale. Jonathan presently leads a monthly electronic recycling program at ARC Broward.

“Volunteering has taught me how to work with different types of people, made me value what I have, made me compassionate to others’ struggles, and I’ve learned how to be a leader. I’m filled with pride when I drive by a past project and see the positive impact I’ve left behind. Through volunteering, I found my passion and will be heading off to college next school year to major in Marine Biology,” said Jonathan.

In 2013, Jonathan and his family were honored by the Points of Light Institute with the Daily Point of Light Award. He comes from a family that is passionate in helping the community and shows it through their commitment, drive and leadership.

One of Jonathan’s favorites quotes by President Barack Obama, states, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” Jonathan truly exemplifies that ideal. Thank you, Jonathan, for all the work you do to make a difference in our community.


HandsOn Broward Talks Service on Beasely Broadcasting’s Forum for Nonprofits Radio Show

HOB-at-BeaselyOn Tuesday, December 29th, Spirit of Giving’s Cara Zimmerman sat down with ‪HandsOn Broward’s Director of Marketing & Development, Kristina DaSilva and the Howard Family – one of HOB’s busiest volunteering families – to talk about service and the impact it has on local communities.

Tune in to Beasely Broadcasting’s Forum for Nonprofits radio show on January 10th. The segment will air on WSBR 740 AM at 6:20 a.m. and WWNN 1470 AM at 7:30 a.m.

Can’t tune in on January 10th?  CLICK HERE to download the interview and listen at your convenience!


December Volunteer Spotlight


Scott Kinzel

This month’s Volunteer Spotlight belongs to the awesome Scott Kinzel. Scott has been a driven citizen in the community since as long as he can remember. “For forty years I was blessed with a rewarding business career in South Florida and have committed myself to serving the community which has made my success possible,” said Scott.

Scott has been involved with HandsOn Broward for over a couple of years now and is a constant Top 10 Volunteer. According to Scott, “my primary motivation for service stems from my desire to fulfill the Great Commandment, that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Interestingly, I have found that the more we strive to love our neighbors, the more we learn to love ourselves.”

His drive for community serviced has stemmed from personal experiences and from outside the area of Broward county as well. For the last 13 years Scott has participated with an annual short-term medical mission team providing essential services to an impoverished area in Jamaica. “This experience has sharpened my awareness of the value of serving others and created a desire to serve those in need in our own community of South Florida,” said Scott.  Scott looked for all opportunities to give back to Broward County. “My early retirement in 2012 provided me with the opportunity to serve those who are less fortunate in our community on a weekly basis. A search of volunteer opportunities on the internet led me to HandsOn Broward, which in turn led me to The Jubilee Center of South Broward,” said Scott.

Scott is always found at The Jubilee Center and is always the first signed up at HandsOn Broward’s Feeding he Hungry at Jubilee opportunity. “We also provide clothing and personal hygiene items to those in need.  In addition, we provide pro bono legal services, basic health screening, work and shelter referrals and assistance with Food Stamps, Veterans Benefits and Medicaid applications through our Office of Social Concerns,” said Scott.

Scott’s dedication to service is proven day by day through his commitment of service at The Jubilee Center. “The personal benefits derived from providing hope and compassion to those less fortunate among us are immeasurable. A warm, caring camaraderie exists between the staff, volunteers and clients of The Jubilee Center. We genuinely enjoy serving each other and have fun doing so,” said Scott.

When asked if he has any advice for any other volunteers, Scott stated, “I am forever grateful to Hands on Broward for connecting me with The Jubilee Center. Serving others has changed my life and it can change yours too.”

November Volunteer Spotlight

lauraThis month’s Project Leader Spotlight belongs to the lovely Laura McRell. Laura has been involved with HandsOn Broward since 2010, or as she likes to say, “It’s been so long I don’t remember!”

Right from the beginning Laura knew where her interests and passions fell. “Serving the community has always been a passion of mine. After completing two terms of Americorps service, getting involved in an organization like HandsOn Broward was a natural fit,” said Laura.

Her drive for serving the community is noticed through all of Laura’s time dedicated to National Days of Service. From attending her first Martin Luther King Weekend Project Leader Training back in 2011 to leading the 911 Day of Service in 2014, Laura never misses a chance to give back to her community, especially on these nationally recognized days. She has been found leading the project, Feeding the Residents at the Broward Outreach Center, more than a handful of times. Talk about a love for volunteering!

One huge piece of advice that Laura stresses is “Find projects you are passionate about and have fun!” Whether it’s projects like the Ronald McDonald House Movies & Muffins, Broward Outreach Center or Keystone Halls, Laura can be seen with up and about and with a smile on her face.  Her next big project includes the Thanksgiving Basket Brigade at Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center.

After so many years of volunteering and leading projects, Laura decided to take it to the next step and recently led her first Project Leader Training session. “I recently facilitated Project Leader Training for the first time, and it aligns with my personal and professional goal to develop and empower others. I hope to continue in this role while I purse my Master’s Degree in Adult Education and Human Resource Development starting in January,” she stated. Laura finds the idea of volunteers empowering each other extremely important. “I realized that I could help more people by motivating and leading other volunteers,” she said.

Making a difference in the Broward County community is a goal to Laura, and she strives to accomplish that in several ways. “A Project leader makes such an impact in the community. Volunteers are responsible for an agency project from start to finish, which allows them to create change in the community one project at a time,” she said.

Laura’s favorite quote by John Quincy Adams states, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Laura has definitely outdone herself and is truly a fantastic leader!  Laura, you are the change!

October Volunteer Spotlight: Bruce Glasserman

This month’s Volunteer Spotlight belongs to one of our volunteers, Bruce Glasserman. Bruce began volunteering with HandsOn Broward as a freshman in high school. He first learned about HandsOn Broward through his school. “HandsOn Broward is listed on my school’s website. I started volunteering as a freshman and I’m currently a sophomore at Cooper City High School. Originally, my goal was to obtain the 40 hour minimum requirement for high school graduation, but after I was there for a while, I really liked it there and realized that I could obtain my Silver Cord, which is awarded to those who volunteer for a minimum of 250 hours.” Bruce has exceeded his 250 hours! He has a total of 272 hours through HandsOn Broward. Every month Bruce has been on our Top 10 Volunteers List. Bruce has done an amazing job volunteering!

Since November of 2014, Bruce has volunteered at Memorial Manor Nursing Home. Memorial Manor Nursing Home provides safe, quality, cost-effective patient- and family-centered care, regardless of one’s ability to pay, with the goal of improving the health of the community it serves. Memorial Manor Nursing Home also provides essential social and emotional support through stimulating activities, education and community outings. Bruce likes working with the elderly population and wanted to try volunteering with this organization. “I really liked interacting and helping the residents there.” Volunteering at the nursing home has made a huge, positive impact in Bruce’s life. Working with the elderly has really helped Bruce understand how important it is to help with all ages. “It is important to volunteer with every population, especially the elderly. People don’t realize that sometimes the elderly are lonely and feel forgotten.”

Bruce’s motivation to get involved in the community started when he needed service hours for his school. “Wanting to give back is something that is very special to me. After experiencing the huge difference it can make in someone’s life, volunteering is something that I enjoy. My dad went through radiation this year and having a great volunteer there helping us was very special.” Bruce has a very simple motto when giving advice to new volunteers: “Don’t be afraid to just get involved.”

September Volunteer Spotlight: Christopher Gates

Chris Gates

This month our Volunteer Spotlight belongs to Christopher Gates. Christopher heard about HandsOn Broward in 2007, while registering for the United Way Day of Caring. Although a resident of Miami, his work with the Broward County School District led him to wanting to volunteer with local organizations that served his students’ populations. He served in the City of Hollywood’s Liberia Community, one of the poorest, most underserved neighborhoods in Hollywood at the time.

Christopher has volunteered at several projects, beginning with, Feeding the Residents at Broward Outreach Center (BOC). “My experiences at the Broward Outreach Center, was another opportunity to view the vast services that the Miami Rescue Mission has to offer to the Broward community. Since 2009, I’ve volunteered at Christmas In July (CIJ) in Miami, as well had the opportunity to be a Team Leader for CIJ at the Broward Outreach Center. Beyond CIJ, I’ve teamed up with Broward Schools and Lynette Michie, BOC Volunteer Coordinator, in my Ambassadors of Hope Annual Clothing Drive. With Florida having the third largest homeless population in the nation, Ambassadors educate the community on the types of homelessness and mobilize to collect new and gently used clothing benefitting the BOC. Years later, I continue to volunteer in support of the Miami Rescue Mission through Leftover Cuisine, where we are partnered with local restaurants to end hunger and food waste by delivering cuisine to the MRM through the Feed The Waste Or Feed The Hungry Campaign.”

Christopher has a passion for volunteering and encourages others to get involved in the community as well. “Volunteering impacts others in several ways. The opportunities at the Broward Outreach Center are vast and varied. Your volunteerism is not stifled by only serving in the kitchen, but expanded upon by collecting and sorting “Hope Totes,” “Pack the Pantry” opportunities, and so much more. Ms. Michie is BOC’s passionate Volunteer Coordinator, who loves serving her community and the residents of the BOC. I encourage you to explore ways you can volunteer, and share those experiences with family or school groups.”

Christopher’s motivation to get involved in the community started when he was a child. “My motivation for being involved in the community came in that one moment, as a child, when I saw a need, and was given the opportunity to serve. When I was a younger, more often than not, kids weren’t given the opportunity to serve. Our thoughts, views and expressions of wanting to be a part of something for the common good were not entertained, seen as insignificant, and/or pushed off to the side as if we were “in the way.” My motivation was imbedded from my foundations in Faith, Faith that believes in humankind and a determination that at my own behest, I would serve. After all, I believed that a kid could make a difference, if only taken seriously, and given the opportunity. From that first moment, when I was given an opportunity to feed the homeless, and hand out care baskets full of toiletries and hygiene products under the overpasses of Downtown Miami, that moment was a demonstrative opportunity to give with purpose. That moment was that one moment that became a springboard to a lifetime of service, a lifetime of giving.”

Christopher enjoys volunteering for many different reasons. “From that first moment, to every moment thereafter, I volunteer because it has become a part of me – expanded through generations in a voluntary compulsion to serve. I enjoy volunteering because it brings life to seemingly lifeless situations. It unearths the human spirit, and breaks through rhetoric, moving forward in tangible ways –HandsOn! Too often we talk about change, while more often we need to “be the change.” I enjoy volunteering because the one thing about the human spirit is that when we mobilize, the collective impact brings together shared passions and visions of effective and proactive givers. Volunteering for me brings the joys of like-hearted individuals who serve above self. I enjoy volunteering because in our doing, it impacts so many, with results that do not underestimate the giver or the receiver, with results that do not marginalize, but mobilize. Volunteering for me is that opportunity to do something even after the cameras leave and the story fades, to be able to make an impact, giving to others through opportunities and experiences that even we may not be able to afford ourselves. Wherever I serve, however I serve, I do so for the good of humanity.”

Christopher has some great advice and inspirational words for new volunteers: “The advice I would give to new volunteers is to begin your volunteer journey relentlessly optimistic. We all share the same 24 hours in a day, but ask yourself how much of that time can you allot or set aside for someone else? Your choice to serve, to give, can help someone in the most difficult times. On your journey, find ways that you can be an effective giver. Effective giving does not mean that you should run to every cause, but means that you should believe in your cause. On your journey, you will find your niche, those specific causes that capture you in the moment, and captures your heart for a lifetime, those causes where you can share your gifts and talents, including those causes that may be new or different, but may help you find that hidden or untapped potential inside of you! To that end, my final and most important advice to new volunteers and veterans alike – is to become an unstoppable giver, and honor the lives of those you may never have the honor to meet.”