Meet our Orlando Program Lead, Debbie Sponsler!
Debbie has been volunteering with drawchange for over two years. By day she works for the Orange County Utilities public water department as a Communications Section Group Manager, and by night she volunteers in her community. Before seeing a flyer about drawchange’s volunteer opportunities, she volunteered with a homeless daycare system in Orlando. Now serving as a Program Lead she puts careful thought into each and every session and consistently shows up with joy and love for the children. Learn more about Debbie:
1. What made you decide to become a program lead with drawchange?
After volunteering at both drawchange Orlando programs, there was a need to fill a lead role at the Salvation Army location. I have seen first-hand the benefits of the program to the children and wanted to make sure they could count on it continuing each week so I filled the open role.
2. How has volunteering with drawchange impacted you?
I have a much better appreciation for the challenges facing families in the shelters as well as the overwhelming need for resources, volunteers and community support for this and many other shelter programs. I am always amazed at the capacity of the children to open their hearts to others even when their lives have been greatly disrupted.
3. What is an example of a time you were inspired by a child within your program?
There are a lot of unexpected moments of joy with the children, but one time in particular we had a little girl in the program for the first time one evening. She really enjoyed the activity and as she showed her mom her artwork she exclaimed that she had the best time! The joy on her face and in her smile was a big bonus for me.
4. What is your favorite part about leading a program?
Seeing a child who is initially uncertain about their ability to create or draw and by the end of the session they finish a project and proudly discuss it at show-and-tell and get positive reinforcement from the whole room.
5. Can you share how you have seen drawchange impact the children?
While I would love for their stay at the shelter to be short-term, for the children that are there longer term it is nice to offer them something to look forward to each week. A majority of the time they leave learning a little something about how to constructively deal with life’s challenges and most of all to keep dreaming for a bigger and better future. There is a lot of hidden talent inside each child and with the program’s encouragement and work on self-esteem. I hope that talent gets an opportunity to shine one day.