Volunteer Appreciation Month: Meet Sonja

April 24, 2024

April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month, and we want to introduce you to some of our incredible volunteers and to share what we’re able to do together. Meet Sonja.

Sonja has a long history of volunteering. With the American Red Cross, she helped coordinate logistics after September 11 at the Pentagon and World Trade Center. And with AmeriCorps NCCC, she built houses for Habitat for Humanity in White Plains, NY. Between stints with both organizations, she has lived in 23 states. Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity was part of every stop.

For Sonja, Habitat’s work is personal. Her brother, a disabled veteran, was helped by Habitat’s Veterans Repair Program, making exterior and yard improvements to his home. “He was so overwhelmed the day that Habitat was there,” she says. “He felt the love from the entire team that came out to make his home better.”

In Omaha, Sonja is a project manager for Rock the Block events where dozens of volunteers converge on a block to help with transformation through a variety of beautification and minor exterior repair projects. As a Senior Account Executive with OPPD, Sonja enjoys getting to apply her project management skills to the Rock the Block events. She does a walk-through with the Habitat Omaha team prior to the actual event to make sure she knows how to help instruct other volunteers on the day of the neighborhood event.

Volunteering has been part of Sonja’s entire life. “I grew up very poor, but we were a household of giving. We had times of struggle,” she says. “But, I’ve always wanted to do more with my life, and I’ve always wanted to support others to do more with theirs.”

“Habitat has always been a part of my life,” Sonja said. “There’s a deep connection to me personally, not only the support they’ve given my family and my community, but also because I’ve been able to help the community in a deeper way. I understand the need personally. In New York, I got to see the tears in people’s eyes when they moved into their homes. To see the connection and to know what a difference you’re making in their lives is so gratifying.”

“OPPD has brought this full circle to me. Not only is OPPD a partner to Habitat Omaha, but the connection I get with my fellow colleagues is so powerful,” said Sonja. Now, she also brings her 12-year-old son to Rock the Block events to teach him the benefits of volunteering and build empathy.

Thank you to Sonja and all the volunteers who make our work possible. If you’d like to volunteer, we’d love to have you! Learn more about volunteering with Habitat Omaha.

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