September 28, 2012

by: Tammy Gibson Willet

UCP Volunteer Honored by OPRA

Patricia Chan, long-time volunteer for UCP of Greater Cleveland was honored on Wednesday, September 26th as the 2012 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year by OPRA (Ohio Provider Resource Association).  Pat was nominated by staff and clients of the Vocational Services Organizational Employment Program.

After retiring from a successful career, Pat began volunteering at UCP of Greater Cleveland in early 2004 for “something to do.”  Despite having never volunteered or worked with people with physical and developmental disabilities, she has the natural gifts required for the job.  Pat has been extremely dedicated, dependable and carries out her volunteer work with high energy, creativity and compassion.

Pat takes time to discover clients’ interests and helps the day program participants turn those interests into passions.  She leads the clients in cooking, baking, sewing and craft activities and has also helped clients learn to read and do math.  Pat has taken clients on trips to exotic places through her “Cooking Around the World” activities and taught them to be aware of and caring about the wider community through the “Giving Back” group. Pat has helped foster friendships by engaging individuals  in challenging, yet fun, activities and helping them practice things like politeness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness and an openness to trying new things.

Pat also fills in wherever there is a need. She will notice the smallest thing about a person and make them feel good about themselves. She has become a person that many of the clients trust and think of as a confidant—handing out sound advice. And she has no trouble being honest (even when the truth can be hard to swallow), but always in a kind, caring way.

Every Tuesday and Thursday the participants at UCP eagerly ask, “When is Pat going to be here?”  Program participant Ronrico, for whom Pat often makes home-cooked meals, stated, “Pat’s a nice lady to have around. She helps me with getting along with others so I don’t get in trouble.”  But long-term participant Kimberly says it best, “She (Pat) has a beautiful heart and is really, really nice. I love her like my mom.”

Thank you Pat for all you do.  The staff and clients at UCP truly appreciate your help, kindness and friendship!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *