April 2010 Volunteer of the Month Sean Spence

City of Columbia volunteer Sean Spence says his involvement with the Adapted Community Recreation Program at Paquin Towers initially stemmed from fears about the Program’s 2009 budget:  “I attended a meeting about a reduction in funding for the Adapted Community Recreation Program, and I realized the need to get the community more involved in supporting those efforts.”

From that recognition grew a funding effort, known as CARE@Paquin, made up of more than 150 volunteers and donors.  Over the last thirteen months, this small non-profit organization has raised $11,000; it donated $5,000 of that money to the City for the Adapted Community Recreation Program, and invested $5,000 for the program’s long-term benefit. The Adapted Community Recreation Program, part of the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, provides low income Columbians with disabilities a variety of classes, activities and trips.  Spence says that CARE@Paquin is on track to donate at least $5,000 again this year, due in no small part to the strong partnerships that have formed throughout the city.  Says Spence, “I’d like to think I played a small role in helping the community at large recognize this program.”

Spence says that volunteering in Columbia provides him the opportunity to participate in activities that touch a diverse range of people.  “Volunteering for the City affects all of us, rich or poor, black or white, down-town and around town.  It’s a great way of making an impact on everybody.”

Spence also coordinates the volunteer efforts of the Columbia Rotary Club in its participation in the children’s Punt Pass & Kick event, which he has done for the last four years.  And Spence is co-planning with Margaret Hickem a community-wide tribute dinner for Mayor Darwin Hindman to take place March 27, 2010.

 – Submitted by volunteer Sarah G. Madden