The White Rock Village Community Care Team is committed to serving its community. The team consists mostly of residents who live at White Rock Village and have decided to give back to the neighborhood and community at large.
The team of volunteers wear T-shirts that read on the back “Demonstrating our care by doing our neighbor good” and they are doing just that.
Iva Bartley volunteers by facilitating the KidzLit Reading Program and teaching an art class at White Rock Village.
“I enjoy reading a story with the kids and taking their understanding of the story to another level and seeing the expression on the their faces as this happens is priceless,” she said. “When that happens you know you have been successful.”
The Community Care Team has been very successful when it comes to making a difference in the community. Sarah Hart, a mother of two boys who participated in the KidzLit program and a White Rock Village resident, said she’s very grateful for this program. Her son, who is in third grade, started the school year at a first-grade reading level reading. After participating in the program he caught up to with his grade level.
“He is so much more confident reading now,” Hart said.
Many of the CCT volunteers have also served lunch in the Seamless Summer Feeding Program offered at White Rock Village. Rescue Union School District staff cooks and delivers the food and the volunteers prepare and serve it to the children.
The program is designed to offer meals to children who rely regularly on healthy meals available to them during the school year and any children who want to participate in the program. Many families are struggling to put food on their tables and the program is designed to help feed children dealing with difficult financial situations. More than 100 children were fed this summer and more than 300 have been fed at White Rock Village since the program started three years ago. All children younger than 18 years who live in El Dorado County are eligible to receive meals.
White Rock Village is a property of Mercy Housing, which provides affordable housing to create stable and healthy communities by developing, financing and operating affordable, program-enriched housing for families, seniors and people with special needs who lack the economic resources to access quality, safe housing opportunities.
“I wanted to give residents an opportunity to build and support their own community and the larger community encompassing El Dorado County, Placer County and Sacramento County,” said Eddie Zacapa,White Rock Village resident services coordinator, who came up with the idea of starting the Community Care Team. “I believe they have done that and connected with the power of giving. When we connect to something bigger than ourselves it is transformative.”
Bartley has logged in more than 100 hours of service this year. “When we get involved we have a voice and are able to be in touch with resources and provide them to others,” she said. “We facilitate the growth of our community.”
But the doing “good” does not stop there. Gloria Webster and Gale Rogers, CCT members, organized a team of volunteers to knit caps for newborns and patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. The knitting team has donated 1,186 caps to various organizations including Marshall Hospital, Kaiser Roseville, Mercy San Juan, the Cancer Resource Center and the Infant Parent Center in Cameron Park.
Webster, a White Rock Village resident, said she was participating in a crochet class that was being facilitated by Rogers at the property. When the class dwindled down the two decided to continue knitting. Webster suggested using looms to create caps for infants and then the word got out and others joined. There are currently six women on the team.
“It is great to see residents in our community coming together and making a difference,” said Zacapa, who received the Outstanding Community Member award for his work with the Seamless Summer Feeding Program. “It is inspiring to watch what a few people can do when they focus on doing good for others.
“I look for what a potential volunteer’s passion might be and try to match them up with an opportunity to serve from that passion,” he continued. “We all have a passion for something and it is great to share it with others.”
“What I like the most about working with the kids is sharing my passion and love for art,” explained Bartley, who facilitated the art program at White Rock Village and helps with cooking pancakes or flipping burgers at the community meals for residents
Marco Sanchez, a 19-year-old who has facilitated a couple soccer clinics for the kids at White Rock Village, added, “It is meaningful for me to give back because I was once the kid getting the help. I am grateful and want to give back.”
The CCT is looking for more volunteers. If you are interested in helping or making a donation contact Zacapa at (916) 941-2357.