Our House News


 
 
Nov 09, 2016
Volunteer of the Month - Ruth Aquino-Adam

Dinner Cook
Volunteer Since September 2006

What drew you to volunteer at Our House?
I watched the old Our House building get torn down and rebuilt from my vantage point in the neighborhood. I never really knew what happened in that old building. After the new building was completed, it was opened to the public for touring. I was curious so I went for the tour. I was surprised to learn that there was such a great need of volunteers to help Our House operate. I met Innie Marshall, the Kitchen Manager at that time, and liked her immediately. I learned what Our House was about, learned the layout of the kitchen, and signed on for duty right then and there during the tour. I lived in the neighborhood, on the same block for 15 years before I knew what happened in that building on the corner of 28th street. How could that have been possible?

What is your favorite aspect of volunteering?
In general, I like to continually prove to myself that combined efforts from many people can effect great happenings. But specifically here at Our House there are many kind and colorful characters to work with. It is always nice to surround oneself with such people. I haven’t yet decided which I like more: the act of feeding people or the activity of cooking and trying new recipes. At my home I cook for a small family. Sometimes I cook more than they can or want to eat. I don’t like to waste food, so I have to restrain myself. And my efforts are not always appreciated! At Our House it is nice to be able to share something that I enjoy doing and to feel appreciated for it. It makes my evening when the residents thank me for the meal and tell me they enjoyed it. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ go along way—I’m old school like that. And so far I haven’t had a mutiny in the dining room, so I’ll keep cooking until they make me walk the plank!

What do you do other than your volunteer gig?
Usually I teach figure skating at the Lloyd Center ice arena. However, this past year I have been on a mini sabbatical, of sorts. I have been driving up the freeway to Vancouver to teach two mornings during the week. Much to my chagrin, the ice arena at Lloyd Center has been torn out, updated and rebuilt much smaller than before. I teach children and adults for recreation, skills tests, and competitive endeavors. I teach basic and advanced group and private lessons. I have a lot of fun teaching a performing theatre group and co-producing our annual Holiday Show. I am known to be very analytical and enjoy imparting the details of skating technique. The Lloyd arena will be reopening soon and I will be back to a fuller schedule. When I am not in the kitchen at Our House I will be bundled up and blissfully gliding the new ice surface at Lloyd Center. Come and see me there!

What is something about you that would surprise others?
One thing that I really like to do and have done now for many years is to go to the forest and forage for edible mushrooms. My husband and I are now very good at knowing chanterelles, hedgehogs, chicken of the wood, lobster mushrooms, and morels. We specialize in chanterelle mushrooms during the fall season. When the chanterelle season is really abundant we share with friends and dry what we can’t eat fresh. With the dried chanterelles, I create a dried mushroom risotto gift package and we give that as our holiday gift. It is a really fun activity that both my husband and I like to do. We forage together and we both make the gift packs together. In the past few years we have started taking curious friends with us on our foraging outings. Thankfully, on those days nobody comes home with an empty basket. Steve and I have had a few seasons when we came home with empty baskets. That’s not so much fun!

 

 

 
Oct 17, 2016
Volunteer of the Month - Debbie Holgate

Lunch Cook
Volunteer Since August 2015

What drew you to volunteer at Our House?
Our House was recommended to me by a friend who said that this was a great place to volunteer. They were right!

What is your favorite aspect of volunteering?,
I love getting to know all of the residents and the other volunteers, as well.

What do you do other than your volunteer gig?
I also volunteer at Hopewell House and the Gateway Center for domestic violence. I am also going to school part-time at PSU.

What is something about you that would surprise others?
I am one of the few Portlanders who grew up in Oregon!

 

 

 
Sep 07, 2016
Volunteer of the Month - Gene Gumz

Esther’s Pantry Companion
Volunteer Since March 2016

What drew you to volunteer at Our House?
Ken, who volunteers here, made me aware of the opportunity and I wanted to contribute something worthy.

What is your favorite aspect of volunteering?
I really enjoy mixing with and meeting the clients.

What do you do other than your volunteer gig?
I’m retired. I travel a lot and take care of my house and yard.

What is something about you that would surprise others?
Maybe that I survived lymphoma and am doing well and am enjoying my life.

 

 
Aug 02, 2016
Volunteer of the Month - Keith Kurtz

Receptionist
Volunteer Since July 2005

What drew you to volunteer at Our House?
I wanted to do something to be able to give back to others. I have had my own personal life challenges and have always believed in giving back to pay it forward in the community.

What is your favorite aspect of volunteering?
I really enjoy the interactions of the clients and Our House staff as well. I have made many friends throughout the years. Our House has become like a sort of second extended family.

What do you do other than your volunteer gig?
I work part time for a Bio-Zoonotics lab think tank for the study of RNA/DNA studies as it relates to primate, feline, canine pathogens and cross-referencing polymerase gene mapping. I also enjoy Italian cooking – and eating, of course!

What is something about you that would surprise others?
I enjoy my pets – two dogs, two cats, and four guinea pigs.

 

 

 
Jul 05, 2016
Volunteer of the Month - Wendy Weaver

Breakfast Cook
Volunteer Since May 2013

What drew you to volunteer at Our House?
I heard about Our House from longtime volunteer and supporter Marc Gaudin. He knows I enjoy cooking and he encouraged me to look into it, then my friend Richard Bradspies was going to join the volunteer team and I met Kathryn out with friends. Suddenly all signs were pointing to Our House. I like to hang with the cool kids!

What is your favorite aspect of volunteering?
I like to talk to the residents about what foods make them feel happy and the memories they can bring to mind…then get cooking!

What do you do other than your volunteer gig?
I sell furniture by day and like to cook for my friends by night. I especially like to bake tasty treats.

What is something about you that would surprise others?
I am a superior parallel parker!

 

 

 
Jun 02, 2016
Volunteer of the Month - Mike May

Lunch Cook
Volunteer Since July 2013

What drew you to volunteer at Our House?

When I moved to the area almost four years ago, I was looking for a volunteer opportunity through volunteermatch.com. Our House appealed to me because HIV is an issue that doesn’t receive as much attention as it did in the past, and it feels like a lot of people have forgotten there is still a need for help. 

What is your favorite aspect of volunteering?

My favorite part of volunteering is catching up with the residents and staff each week.

What do you do other than your volunteer gig?

I work as a tutor and as a guide for autistic children and young adults.

What is something about you that would surprise others?

I have two adopted children from Ukraine. They both came to this country as teenagers. 

 

 
Apr 27, 2016
Volunteer of the Month - Michael Stuart

Dinner Volunteer
Volunteer Since July 2014

What drew you to volunteer at Our House?
I was brought in via the auction within two or three weeks of moving to Portland, and all night I heard about what a great place it was, so I contacted the Volunteer Coordinator and asked how I could help in a more regular manner.

What is your favorite aspect of volunteering?
At Our House, it’s chatting with residents and other volunteers and getting to know people I might not have ever met otherwise. I like hearing people’s stories. I’ve always tried to find places and ways to volunteer or give service to the community I’m living in. I think it’s an important aspect of life, and I think it enriches the person volunteering as much as – perhaps more than – the organization that is receiving the services.

What do you do other than your volunteer gig?
I work full time at an English testing center, and I also write write write write write. And I’m still exploring Portland more and more as I live here longer.

What is something about you that would surprise others?
I won $12,000 on a trivia game show. And Peter Brady gave me the money! As I always say, I know a little about a lot, and just enough to make me sound too smart for my own good but too dumb to shut up about it. But sometimes it pays off!

 

 
Sep 30, 2015
Volunteer of the Month: Margaret Thomson

Volunteer Roles: Receptionist & Tod’s Corner Volunteer
Volunteer Since: November 2013

What drew you to volunteer at Our House? I attended your auction gala about three years ago with my daughter. I was very interested in learning more about Our House but since I was still working I had to wait until I retired to begin volunteering, which happened about two years ago.

What is your favorite aspect of volunteering? I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of volunteering at Tod’s Corner and Our House. The staff, residents, clients, and volunteers are all great to interact with.

What do you do other than your volunteer gig? I am fortunate to live near the Spring Water Corridor and usually do a two-mile walk almost every day. When the cold rainy weather sets in, I work out at Snap Fitness in Sellwood. I enjoy reading and belong to a great book group. I am a big fan of movies, plays, and especially musical theater. I love to bake. I belong to a senior studies group and enjoying attending lectures on a variety of subjects. I started doing beading this summer and enjoy making jewelry, especially bracelets and necklaces. I enjoy crossword puzzles and play Words With Friends.

What is something about you that would surprise others? I am a first generation American. My parents immigrated from Scotland. I have 3 grown children and 9 grandchildren and one cat.

 

 
 
 

Wells Fargo - Circle of Life, Sustaining Sponsor Circle of Life
Sustaining Partner

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation Quality of Life
Sustaining Partner