Volunteer of the MonthApril 2009
Linda, the Super Volunteer and MaestroBy Mindy Weidman
The usual picture of a volunteer: someone who shows up at a facility to follow directions, rag and spray bottle in hand. But then there’s the volunteers who can come into a hospital house, manage its operations, put in extra hours at events, lead, teach, and basically engrain themselves into the organization.
These “super volunteers”, like Linda Piazza, who began volunteering at The Believe In Tomorrow House at Johns Hopkins about a year ago, always complete these vital and invaluable tasks with the greatest degree of humility. For Piazza, volunteering is just a part of life.
“Members of my family had used the Ronald McDonald House in New York City and I knew I wanted to volunteer somewhere,” says Linda. “I thought the front desk suited me.”
It’s more like Linda suits the front desk. She becomes Maestro at the Children’s House every Tuesday and Thursday, greeting families on the phone, checking them in and out of rooms, processing folders, assisting in volunteer management, and generally serving as that smiling face that helps make the Children’s House a home-away-from-home.
“Linda is very personal and professional,” says one staff member. Another: “She takes her position very seriously.”
Beyond the 16 hours each week that she contributes gratis, Linda often lends a hand at Believe In Tomorrow events. Last summer she snapped pictures of foursomes at the Pulte Gold Tournament. Last month, Linda brought her husband, Bob Piazza, to help run the silent auction table at Believe In Tomorrow’s annual Rock the House party.
Her husband is not the only one who has fallen into Linda’s magnetic “super volunteer” pull. She’s also recruited her daughters Adrienne and Jessica to volunteer when they come home to visit.
So what has Believe In Tomorrow done to earn the committed services of a “super volunteer” like Linda?
Says Linda, simply: “The staff, the market [where staff sometimes grab lunch near the house], and the families. Them too.”