ISF Cares

Volunteer Spotlight

ISF staff donate much of their free time to activities benefiting worthy causes throughout the community. Our Staff Spotlight highlights one such individual and his or her personal dedication to a cause.

 

Duane Daunt

ISF Client Partner Duane Daunt has volunteered as a youth soccer coach for over 20 years, giving back to the sports community that he enjoyed being a part of when he was growing up. In 1993, Duane started coaching soccer for various age groups from children under eight years old all the way up to high school. He explains that one of his favorite parts about coaching is “seeing a player dedicate their time, and seeing that player being rewarded for that dedication, over time.”

This idea isn’t just positive thinking; it’s supported by research as well. In a 2012 study of the value of youth sports, Psychology Today reported that one of the most positive aspects of youth sports is the sense of continuity that they provide, giving children a way to approach difficult circumstances that they will encounter. Within their sports activities, players’ “commitment over time facilitates the likelihood that children will overcome challenges and obstacles in their performance.”

Duane reports experiencing the positive effects of this commitment as it translates into the lives of the players as well, calling the connection between coaching and building a strong local community “absolutely vital.” He comments on the community spirit present in his own soccer community: “One of the main draws to our club is the family nature of each team, and how the players interact with each other.”

On the field or off, building community is a goal that ISF aspires to achieve, and Duane’s work with youth soccer exemplifies this ongoing commitment to the local communities where we live, work, and play.

 

Brad Harris

Brad Harris wears many hats at ISF. He has served on many projects as a software architect, technical lead, web applications programmer, and the list goes on. However, what many do not know is that after hanging up his work hats, Brad gets out and serves the Tallahassee community in his free time.

Brad Harris is co-founder of Making Awesome, Inc. This non-profit organization is dedicated to providing tools, space, and workshops to people in the community that do not otherwise have access. Essentially, Making Awesome is a maker space for any member to come and make things.

Recently, Brad led the Build Your Own 3D Printer event for Making Awesome. The event had 35 registered participants and 17 teams, some representing three local high schools – Chiles, Rickards, and SAIL. For four weeks every Saturday, participants built and tested their own 3D printer, which looked  something like this:

High school participants donated their printers to their schools.

In keeping with the momentum, Brad also told us about Making Awesome’s recent move from a building on the Tallahassee Community College campus to the Railroad Square Art Park, allowing more growth opportunities. More information can be found here: http://news.wfsu.org/post/group-makes-awesome-new-railroad-square-makerspace-after-unplanned-move.

Making Awesome has been featured many times before in the Tallahassee Democrat and WFSU news. With no intention of slowing down, Making Awesome will be sure to make future headlines.

Other news for Making Awesome:

Lauren Kemper

ISF, teaming with the Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS), North Central Division, sponsored a Teddy Bear Drive collecting new stuffed animals for donation to the Child Protection Team (CPT) program. CPT provides examinations, evaluations, and forensic interviews for children suspected of being abused and/or neglected. When a child is going through an evaluation, be it physical or psychological, the CPT team members give the child a new stuffed animal, which offers comfort in a time of confusion and trauma.

ISF collected 100 stuffed animals. ISF’s Teddy Bear Drive lead, Lauren Kemper, performed weekly counts of the teddy bears and stated, “Holding a teddy bear brought back good childhood memories. I can only imagine what it can do for a child in real need of comfort.”

Because the Drive was held through Valentine’s Day, many of the stuffed animals donated were more vibrant than the typical brown teddy bear. Some teddy bears were striped pink and purple, some had red hearts and white fur, some even with bowties and heart shaped noses. Ms. Kemper commented, “Everyone at ISF was enthusiastic about this teddy bear drive. I think we realized the magnitude of what this drive could do for a child in need – and that’s honestly how our small staff was able to come up with 100 teddy bears and stuffed animals.”

Lauren Kemper and ISF CEO Cyndy Loomis met with CHS’s Director of Development, Jennifer Albaugh, to deliver the 100 teddy bears to the CHS in March. Ms. Albaugh extended an invitation for them to participate in the monthly tour of the CHS facility and while on the tour explained these stuffed animals can be distributed in as little as a month. Ms. Albaugh pointed out that CHS is always collecting new stuffed animals to donate to children.

Cyndy Loomis serves on the Children’s Home Society Board, North Central Division, and announces another opportunity for you to help CHS during the 28th Annual Chef’s Sampler on April 21, 2013.

To learn more about Children’s Home Society of Florida or to discover volunteer opportunities to help children and families in our community, contact Rebecca Amnott, Development Specialist, at (850) 219-4206 or Rebecca.Amnott@chsfl.org.

Ramona Poole

Ramona Poole is known as ISF’s Human Resources Coordinator, as well as our resident meatball chef. But to the youth at her church, she is their advisor, program coordinator, and their choir assistant. Ramona dedicates her free time every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month to teach and assist with the youth group at Mt. Bethlehem P.B. Church in Tallahassee.

In 2012, Ramona and her youth group began a project to collect and recycle used Christmas cards. This isn’t typical recycling. The purpose of collecting these Christmas cards was to repurpose them into ornaments to distribute to nursing homes in the Tallahassee community.  The ornaments are created from the face of the card. The decorative half is trimmed and embellished. The children sign the back of the ornament with heart-felt messages, wishing the recipients a Merry Christmas. Colorful, silky ribbon is attached and the refurbished ornaments are then ready to be given to their receivers at homes like Seven Hills nursing home. Last year, Ramona and her youth group donated 160 card ornaments.

This year, Ramona has set the goal to donate these card ornaments to 3 nursing homes within the area. Ramona and the kids have faith that all 480 recipients will be able to receive an ornament of their own. They only have 256 cards to go, already surpassing the amount they collected last year. “I’m confident that more cards will come in,” Ramona says. “We really want to touch as many lives as possible.”

In addition to the ornaments, this past Christmas the choir was invited to sing at the Miracle Hill nursing home. At 10:00 a.m., 15 choir members volunteered their Christmas morning to sing songs such as “Silent Night” and “May be the Last Time, I don’t Know.”

“I am so proud of our kids and the work that they are doing to help us put a smile on a face and touch the lives of those who are often forgotten,” Ramona says.

Donations are ongoing. If you wish to donate, or find more ways to get involved with the youth or at Mt. Bethlehem P.B. Church, please contact Ramona at rpoole@isf.com

Brad Harris

On August 25, 2012, Red Cross held a workshop to prepare people for possible weather related emergencies. ISF’s very own Brad Harris attended this workshop in Tallahassee. Red Cross’ goal was to educate residents on how to handle and prepare for weather related emergencies and to provide survival tips for its residents to keep their community safe until trained First Responders arrive. From the perspective of a local resident and homeowner, Brad said he was pleased to see how many people were looking to "up" their preparedness by attending such an event. Approximately 12-15 people took part in the workshop.

Brad participated in the workshop because he understands the importance of being prepared and the potential danger for those who underestimate the impact severe weather can have on their community. When interviewed by a local news broadcaster, Brad stated, “It’s very important, especially in the early hours right after a storm, for neighbors to help one another and step up and clear those trees and share resources. We have a family hurricane preparation kit. It has four days’ worth of food, water, batteries, flash lights, those kind of things”. Emergency officials set up real-life scenarios and discussed action plans, including how to care for a handicap neighbor.

Brad was representing his Home Owners Association (HOA) as the Board President and gained valuable tips on what can and should be done when preparing for a storm which he would like to share:

There should be a list for the community of resources that each person could lend out in case of an emergency, such as gas jugs, generators, chainsaws, four-wheel drive trucks, etc...

  1. There should be a list of special needs in the community so we know who needs to have medicine refrigerated, or has an oxygen pump, or who has special dietary needs (infants, elderly, etc...)
  2. The neighborhood should be made aware of any special arrangements or preparations underway so they don't duplicate effort or adversely affect the community efforts.

During the storm....hunker down and stay safe.

Immediately after the storm, a neighborhood assessment should be conducted to check for damaged homes, downed power-lines, broken gas/water lines, road damage, and downed limbs. This assessment should include who has power, who doesn’t, who's phone works.

Then a remediation plan should be devised in the case that emergency vehicles couldn't gain access to the neighborhood grounds. The priorities of the plan should follow:

Personal safety

  1. Emergency access
  2. Provide for water and food needs of the community (water first, food next).
  3. Prevent further damage to property.
  4. Animal control and roundup
  5. Re-establish normalized routines.

Then there were more "after-the-fact" tips that seem as equally important. Katrina taught us that after a large storm, handy-men and contractors will descend upon an area and potentially misrepresent themselves as legitimate avenues for quick repairs. In New Orleans many fly-by-night contractors appeared to "weatherize" homes and they would simply throw a tarp over the roof and bill $2,500 for it. The moral of this is to make sure you know who you are dealing with and make sure your insurance is in the loop.

Overall, Brad found the exercise fun and interesting, and he presented his findings to the HOA Board at their last meeting. Brad has shown that he leads by example; he does not underestimate the importance of being proactive.

Red Cross’ web site offers additional information on their Workshops and Training opportunities, it can be viewed at the following URL: http://www.redcross.org/prepare

Tammy Young

Tammy Young

ISF Business Development Coordinator and Project Manager, Tammy Young, has been selected to serve as a member of The Florida State University Family Connection Advisory Council. Through an application process, Council members are selected to serve as liaison between the university and current students and their family members to promote information sharing and encourage family involvement at the university.

In Fall of 2011, Tammy's eldest son became the third generation Young to attend FSU, following in the footsteps of both Tammy and her husband Joe, as well as Joe's mother, who graduated from FSU when it was the Florida State College for Women.

 

ISF Cares Campaign

ISF Cares is ISF's corporate community involvement campaign. At the core of ISF's belief system is the concept that we can accomplish more when we work together. Inspired by this core principle, ISF undertakes community involvement initiatives that require little of each individual, but the sum of which is significant. Participation is never mandatory, but our staff always heed the call. Recent ISF Cares activities have included a book drive to benefit The Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend's "My First Books" program and ISF's 2nd annual clothing drive to benefit the Lighthouse Children's Home.

The following is a small sampling of some of the many worthy organizations with which ISF and its staff are involved:

  • American Cancer Society
  • American Heart Association
  • American Lung Association
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Children's Home Society of Florida
  • Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend
  • Friends of the Leroy Collins Leon County Library System
  • Girl Scouts of the USA
  • Lighthouse Children's Home
  • Second Harvest of the Big Bend
  • Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation
  • Tallahassee Museum
  • Tallahassee Senior Center
  • The Florida State University Family Connection 
  • Vision is Priceless