Austria Hatcher is our Most Valuable Volunteer for the first quarter of 2020. Congrats, Austria. Thanks for all you do.
Austria was nominated for the MoneyMinder MVV program by her friend Edris who states she "doesn't know anyone who, as a volunteer, has invested so much time, effort, energy and devotion, as well as strategic vision and execution to implement programs benefiting her community."
Wow. That's quite impressive. Let's learn a little about Austria.
A native of Washington, DC having lived in MD, NJ and CT, Austria had a simple plan: downsize and pay cash for a house so she could travel and just show up home when necessary. As an accountant, she could work remotely. That quest landed her in Greenville, SC. On her first day in town she met a neighbor who told her about the local community association and their need for volunteers.
Austria says, "I had no idea a few meetings was going to turn me into a community advocate and set my world on fire to volunteer, develop a nonprofit, create programs, raise funds and secure a place where children can be children and get their needs met. It was a long and hard journey, but it happened quickly."
Austria's initiative and leadership has made a profound change in the health and well-being of the children in her community. She was instrumental in reclaiming the community center from the county, rejuvenating the playground, paving the basketball court, securing a well-lighted street (including establishing a lighting district), funding for the after school program, jumping through many hoops to provide free meals, and securing equipment and training in the computer lab.
In addition to all of that, Austria has ensured sustainability for the community center by making it a desired meeting space for special events, which has helped to fund the center's programs.
Austria's travel schedule may have taken a back seat. But her days consist of volunteering on United Way boards and doing some form of work for the children and the community center. Of her MVV award, Austria says:
"When I look back, I am wondering what happened to the traveling! I would not change a thing. It has been one of the most rewarding adventures of my life outside of raising my own two girls. I am proud to know that people appreciate and know me for service. I am happy to have a positive impact on so many lives."
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