Volunteer Spotlight: Vicki Rensch

30th of January 2019

Vicki Rensch is an artist, teacher and longtime volunteer with the Children’s Foundation of America. Vicki got involved with the Foundation when her daughter, CFA Development Specialist Jenelle Phillips, recruited her for her expertise.

Vicki has a long and passionate history with volunteering. Her earliest memory of being active in her community is helping her mom pass out pamphlets and buttons in support of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign.

In the 1990’s, her place of work allowed Vicki to volunteer full-time with United Way, an organization dedicated to fundraising and benefiting in need communities. Vicki chose to support the San Bernardino Child Advocacy Group and organized an ongoing toy drive with a goal of 100% participation from the department she was working on loan from. They met that goal in the two years she was involved in the campaign and the department continued the toy drive in the years after Vicki established it.

“When I was running the campaign, I brought speakers in to talk about volunteering to help employees realize that making the time to volunteer was so important. I made speeches about the services and research United Way benefits. Many of the employees said that their loved ones had benefited from these services and some shared that they were raised in foster care and understood how they have been impacted by many of the things that United Way supported,” she said.

She later volunteered with the Girl Scouts of the USA. Beginning in 1993, she started as a troop leader and had became a council trainer for Daisy troop leaders in the early 2000’s. She helped Senior Girl Scouts become Gold Award recipients, provided support for girls interviewing into the Rose Parade Tournament Troop and organized a trip for girls to travel to Savannah, GA to visit the birthplace of Girl Scouts Founder, Juliette Gordon Low.

At the Foundation, Vicki is a Volunteer Lead for appeal mailing, directing volunteers in mailing our constituents and is a support volunteer at many of our events. Her and her husband can also be seen at our various fundraisers supporting the cause.

A True Holiday Hero

Her favorite event is the Holiday Heroes gift wrapping booth. “Even though I have many favorite events, this one is the most fun to do.” Vicki loves being able to put her love for gift wrapping to work for a good cause. “It always puts me in the Christmas spirit every year,” Vicki said. “I learned it is important to volunteer for that which you already love to do.”

Responsibility to Community

Vicki holds passionate beliefs about having a responsibility to help her community. She makes it a habit to go wherever she is needed. “As a kid, I wasn’t aware of everything that goes into our community opportunities. It’s my turn to give back,” she says. “My parents instilled a belief in me that if there is a need, we have the responsibility to help fill that need whenever possible. So I volunteer.”

Vicki views volunteering as something that allows her to explore what life has to offer. “My favorite thing about being a volunteer is going to places I’ve never been, meeting people I may otherwise never meet and doing things I have never thought about doing”, she said. “Volunteering, for me, is an enriching experience with the very pleasant side effect of helping others.”

Vicki’s hobbies include creating art, photography and visiting historic landmarks. However, her favorite and most fulfilling pastime of all is volunteering. “When my hobbies allow me a chance to also take part in volunteering I am at my most complete.” For example, Vicki volunteered 20 years in a row as a photographer for Grandparent’s Day at a local elementary school. “It brings me great joy to know someone has grown up cherishing that special bond of family though a picture I took,” she said.

Vicki’s Advice for Getting Involved

For those that are considering volunteering, Vicki has a few useful steps to help get yourself started. “First,” she said, “Make the initial contact. Find something you love to do. Volunteer to do that something. Attend the event with a happy heart. Lastly, feel good about yourself and volunteer often.”

Vicki stepped up as a CFA Volunteer Leader because, “I was needed,” she said. “CFA is a quality, well established organization for children and I saw a need that I could fill. They are a well organized group whose mission is to help children by making volunteering fun and easy. The staff is very friendly, gracious and helpful and everybody makes you feel like a valued member of the team,” she said.

The Children’s Foundation of America is supported by great volunteers like Vicki. Click here to learn more about getting involved!

Jose Rojas, CFA Intern
Jose is an English literature major at California State University San Bernardino. As a CFA intern, Jose attends and photographs events and writes for our blog. He has previously volunteered with The Prison Library Project. In his free time, you can catch him playing tennis or cramming for his next exam.

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