Volunteer Spotlight: Jim Stack
How long have you been volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul Center?
I knew you would ask that and I can’t remember! It was shortly after the new building opened so I probably came in around 2003 or 2004. I’ve been retired since 2000. I actually used to be in fundraising for hospitals.
Why do you think it’s important to volunteer?
I think in my life I’ve been given a lot and I felt that when I retired I ought to start giving back to the community. I started at St. Vincent because of the Daughters of Charity at St. Joseph Hospital. So admired the work they were doing and I thought maybe I could help the center.
You work in our Early Childhood Development – how did you get started?
I started out doing some after school tutoring there and that didn’t quite work out. I thought this is my first volunteer effort and I blew it! But the person who managed volunteers at the time asked, “you ever think of working 2 year olds?” and I thought, “no I don’t even know what to do with 2 year olds,” and they said, “well you’re gonna find out!” So after about a year of doing the tutoring thing I went in to work with the toddlers once a week and It brings so much joy to my life – I look forward to my Monday mornings. I get to be the big monster to chase them around the playground – these interactions, their laughter, it really brings out the kid in me!
Why is it important for low-income families to have access to quality Child Care?
That’s a good question. I don’t know what the alternative would be for kids. I mean, most low-income working families are forced to rely on relatives to take care of their children but by coming into the classroom the kids learn how to interact and get along with other kids and become part of a group and I think that’s important. I’m so blown away by the way kids are taught to identify their name and spell their name and be able to write their names at 2 and 3 years old and I don’t know how these kids could get that at home.
Is MSV having a positive impact on the communities it serves?
Definitely. Since I’m only here on Mondays, I actually get to see very dramatic development in just 7 days, week after week. It’s amazing how the kids grow in one year in the classroom. The teachers are so considerate of the kids and to see such a loving approach to their care and their learning, it’s truly remarkable.
Anything else you’d like to add? Fun facts or hobbies?
Sure! I work with another group called WITS (Working In The Schools) where I read to kids in school. I live in a retirement community and there’s a group of us that go once a week to do that. And over the years I also have taken up portrait drawing and sculpture.