Volunteers Give Back

Helping Hand

Jessie Tientcheu has spent her career empowering people.

As CEO of Opening Doors, Tientcheu is responsible for a complex organization that provides economic and social services to refugees, immigrants, human trafficking survivors and underserved Sacramento area residents.

Before becoming CEO in 2019, she volunteered for the organization’s refugee resettlement program, helping newcomers connect to their new community.

Campaign for Kindness

It started with quiche.

The year was 2015 and Arden-Arcade resident Sarah Thompson suffered from post-partum depression after giving birth to her daughter. An avid cook, she was chopping and baking her sorrows out when she decided to see if her kitchen skills might help someone else.

She put out a call on Facebook, offering to make a quiche for anyone who needed “an extra measure of kindness.” A connection came from a woman recently diagnosed with cancer.

Mask Makers

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, Karla Burgess has gotten a “glimpse of the best in people” thanks to her work as logistics coordinator for Folsom Mask Makers, an all-volunteer group of local seamstresses formed in mid-March to address the community’s chronic lack of pandemic personal protective equipment.

To date, the group has produced nearly 65,000 masks, 2,650 scrub caps, 1,310 visual masks, hundreds of 3D-printed face shields, and thousands of crocheted and 3D-printed ear savers. They’ve donated to more than 350 hospitals, medical and dental groups, care homes, schools, nonprofit and community organizations, and emergency service agencies in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties.

Fostering Relationships

Eulonda Lea never thought she’d play tag again at the age of 56, but here she is—and she’s loving it.

Lea volunteers as a court-appointed special advocate—or CASA—for the Sacramento County branch of the National CASA Association, which provides consistency and support for children in the foster care system through volunteer advocates. These advocates are community members—no law background required—trained by CASA and then appointed by a judge to advocate for a foster youth on a one-to-one basis.

Wheels Of Fortune

Trucking and charity might seem like an unlikely pair. But for Desiree Caldwell Amaral—founder, owner and director of operations for Elite HR Logistics—helping people find lifelong careers and giving back to her community have always been inextricably linked.

For the past 20 years, Sacramento-based Elite HR Logistics has worked with numerous nonprofits, especially those focused on helping children, while simultaneously growing into one of California’s premiere employment agencies for all kinds of industries across seven states.

In 1998, after years in ad sales, Caldwell Amaral decided to switch careers and discovered an affinity for recruitment—particularly for jobs in the trucking industry.

Helping Themselves

Sacramento is home to many people eager to help their community by joining nonprofit groups. But there are holes in this safety net.

Our region has about 15,000 nonprofit groups. These include fraternal organizations, charities, service clubs, foundations and chambers of commerce. The economic impact of local nonprofits is a monster number.

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