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Volunteer profile: Gordian “Bo” Boteilho, Interfaith Assistance Ministry

Gordian "Bo" Boteilho Gordian "Bo" Boteilho

Gordian “Bo” Boteilho

Interfaith Assistance Ministry

 

What do you do in your volunteer job?

 

My volunteer position is called a facilitator. A facilitator is fairly new position started maybe five or six years ago, I like to describe it as facilitating — move things along. We’re kind of the right or left hand to the intake managers. What we try to do is take away some of little things like answering phones, receiving documents when clients are required to bring documents back. We keep supplies — all that sort of thing that takes away time from intake manager, and we figure out how are we going to help the client, what agencies we may need. It’s a very busy position and no two days are alike. The other day I got a call from a women who said, “ How do I get help to bury my son, he passed away and I don’t have the money.’ One time there was a lady living with well water. Something happened and it got contaminated.” She could get city water but “they wanted $1,650 to get it hooked up. Between us and Salvation Army and several churches, we put it all together and got it hooked up. Those are the type of things that come up. For me personally, I also involved in the budget class, we call it dollars and sense, and I’m also involved in training some of the new volunteers.”

How long have you been volunteering?

It will be eight years in January.

Why do you volunteer?

Like most people, I want to give back to the community. I have gained a lot of benefits in my life so now it’s time to give some back. I’ve been very fortunate in my career and have been able to make some advances. I come from a very poor background. I’ve had some successes and now it’s time to give back.

What’s the best thing about volunteering?

The best thing about volunteering is you get to give back and at the same time you enjoy some of the other benefits such as seeing people being happy about solving a crisis situation when they didn’t know where to turn. It’s a good feeling, especially around back-to-school time when kids come in and get their new backpacks their school supplies. The joy on their faces is something to see. A family will come in with no heat. They leave in tears because the electricity is back on and they have food for their family. If that doesn’t warm your heart I don’t know what does. Believe it or not, even in volunteer jobs you also make new friends.  

If someone is interested in volunteering, what is the best advice you would give based on your own experience?

“Henderson County really has a significant community of retired people and most of those people were successful in their career. I was once told or read there are 126 charitable organizations in Henderson County, so certainly those looking to volunteer have a wide array of different agencies to choose from. I myself volunteer at two places and to me IAM is the best organized and has a process in place to succeed in supporting our motto, which is ‘a hand up and not a handout.’ When new volunteers come in they all confirm that we’re the best organization We have training in place to help them learn what to do. IAM is unique too in that one can volunteer as much or as little as one wants. They can volunteer in the pantry, in clothing, intake, special projects — wherever you feel most comfortable helping those in need and all the while you’re making new friends. It’s good for your health and it’s a Christian thing to do. You become a little cog and in a very big wheel.”