Volunteer Corner

VCH’s Volunteer Board Gives Steve Clare Rousing Sendoff

Attendees of the VCH Annual Board Meeting: Becky Dennison and Steve Clare seated far left. Photo Credit: Jack Prichett


The VCH Board of Directors held its annual, all-day meeting at the home of Board Member Sylvia Aroth in February. Former and current Executive Directors, Steve Clare and Becky Dennison attended along with VCH Directors.

All gave Steve a rousing sendoff as he begins his retirement and welcomed Becky enthusiastically.  A photo “memory book” of some of Steve’s many shining moments guiding the VCH ship was presented to him with heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

Top Photographer Melba Levick Teaches Photo Basics to TLC Kids

Acclaimed photographer, Melba Levick, recently taught a month-long volunteer project for VCH’s Transitional Living Center (TLC).  Classes at the Center’s community room were interspersed with two beach field trips where students, accompanied by TLC support volunteers, learned to choose subjects, look critically and frame their photos carefully.  Afterwards, Melba and the kids reviewed and evaluated their shots.  It was a new adventure for all, including Melba, who praised her students’ desire to learn, ability to ‘see’ and take unique photos and then to discuss them.  “It was very rewarding for me,” she says.
Levick has published over 60 photographic books on travel, design and architecture in Europe and the Americas.  Her work has been exhibited and appeared in magazines worldwide.  She is known for her books on California homes and gardens,  Gaudi and the “Modernismo” era in Barcelona and the MEXICOLOR collection in Mexico.  She recently published two books on India.  She lives and works in Venice Beach and Paris.  VCH thanks Melba for her imaginative contribution.

Mary-Jane Wagle Inspires TLC Women to Write Their Stories

Mary Jane Wagle with her book about lives of remarkable Ethiopian Women Photo Credit: Jack Prichett
Mary Jane Wagle with her book about lives of remarkable Ethiopian Women
Photo Credit: Jack Prichett
Recently, volunteer Mary-Jane Wagle gathered several residents of the Transitional Living Center (TLC) on two evenings to share stories from her book, Temsalet:  Phenomenal Ethiopian Women,featuring lives of 64 women, who pushed back boundaries in Ethiopia.  Mary Jane lived there for almost four years, helping interview women and edit their stories for publication, there and in the US.  The women tell their backgrounds, challenges, personal strengths, hopes, dreams and advise young women.

“It was heartwarming and amazing to see how TLC women identified with the Ethiopian women.  They face many of the same hardships and draw strength in similar ways. I was struck by the empathy and inspiration they felt for the Ethiopian women and their lives,” says Mary-Jane.  Now several TLC women are thinking about writing their own stories, with the help of Mary-Jane, Nancy Griffin and Margot Dougherty as volunteer interviewers and story crafters.  “I am hoping their effort to tell their stories will help them realize their power and strength by surviving, remaking their lives and helping others.”
Mary-Jane is a retired executive with over thirty years business, government and non-profit sector experience in the fields of housing development, community development, women’s reproductive health, and strategic planning.  She currently is a community volunteer.  Many thanks  for her remarkable contribution!

VCH Will Miss Whole Food’s Gabe Dupin

VCH's Volunteer Coordinator - Barbara Milliken, Gabe DuPin, VCH's Community Outreach and Special Events Coordinator- Linda Lucks (l. to r.)
VCH’s Volunteer Coordinator – Barbara Milliken, Gabe DuPin, VCH’s Community Outreach and Special Events Coordinator- Linda Lucks
(l. to r.)

Whenever a volunteer event or donation of food and drink was in the works, the first thought was to call Gabe DuPin from Whole Foods for help.   Gabe was available and could be counted on to come through with just the right products, donated often and freely to VCH.  As just one example, when VCH’s Free Storage Venice organized a sleeping bag fund-raiser for homeless persons, Gabe filled a shopping basket with free burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers and rolls for the event-along with mustard, relish, ketchup, chips and drinks of all varieties, plates, napkins, cups and utensils.

Gabe goes onto a different career with a local kombucha manufacturer.  He has served on YouthBuild’s Advisory Board and will continue to do so, so he will still be seen around VCH.  Many thanks to Gabe and Whole Foods.  We wish him the best in his new endeavor!

If you’re interested in volunteering, learn more about our volunteer opportunities by clicking
here and/or contacting Director of Operations, Paola Fontana at pfontana@vchcorp.org or at