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Cheers to our Volunteers!

By Blog Master
Posted: 04/01/2021

Pasadena Village relies on volunteers to build community, fulfill member requests for rides and other support, for office and tech help, to create and run all of our programming, and a myriad of other ways of furthering our mission. Knowing that the 2021 Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 18-24) would again be without the joyous and delicious gathering at the local favorite restaurant Mijares, the Village forged a new partnership to show our appreciation in another way.  

Gabriel Vazquez from the Institute for Redesign of Learning was looking for ways their clients can give back to the community when he and Katie Brandon met on Zoom at a Pasadena Chamber of Commerce event earlier this year. The Institute for the Redesign of Learning (IRL) provides programs for individuals with special needs, ages infants through adults, through the greater Los Angeles including here in Pasadena.

This mutually beneficial partnership turned into a creative endeavor for adults in IRL’s programs who are on the autism spectrum or who have Down's syndrome. Gabriel told the Village how much these individuals miss social connections and how they find joy in art projects. One of IRL's clients is Francisco who has been a part of the Almansor Transition Program for many years which has surely enriched his life. The IRL staff works with him on independent life skills and ways to be a part of his community. They shared, "Francisco is mainly non-verbal but if you know him well as we do, you will be able to communicate with him," and that he has been recognized for his hard work and ability to follow directions. The IRL staff was grateful for this creative project for Francisco. They shared that, "Artistic freedom allows Francisco to totally be himself. His art frequently displays bright vibrant colors with no rhyme or reason." We hope the cards he made will convey his larger than life smile and personality.

Two months after the Chamber event, Gabriel hand-delivered over 100 colorfully decorated thank you notes to the Village office to be sent to Pasadena Village volunteers and supporters. They have traveled from the Institute for Redesign of Learning campuses, to the homes of their clients, to the Village’s offices, and finally will arrive in our volunteer’s homes in the coming weeks. The Volunteer Coordinating Committee hopes our amazing volunteers know how appreciated they are and that these little cards will spread joy and make our community feel even closer during these times when we continue to be physically separated.

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