Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Meet GardenShare's new Volunteer Coordinator

GardenShare welcomes a new member of our team this week.  Here's a little more about her!

Name:  Rhonda Rodriguez

Town of residence:  Massena

Role at GardenShare:  Part-time employee (Volunteer Coordinator)

How long? I just joined the organization in November 2016 and am happy to be a part of it!

Why I do what I do:  I was born and raised in the North Country and spent about 10 years away (in Boston and New York City) and then came back North in 1999, so I've had plenty of opportunity to see how poverty and hunger impact not only our area but America as a whole. Something needs to be done to get things in balance, and we can only solve the problem one person at a time. I admire GardenShare's efforts to help people in need access healthy food, fruits and vegetables, while bringing attention to local growers in the process. I am glad to do what I can do help spread that good message.

Role outside of GardenShare:  I am the proud (and often tired!) mom of a very active 9-year-old and I volunteer for community organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Massena and a local Girl Scout troop.

Hobbies:  I am a certified teacher and I tutor students in my spare time. I enjoy music - when time allows, I sing in a local choir and play flute in a local community band. I am also a hockey fan and probably spend too much time on Facebook than I should!

Most recent accomplishment:  This summer in Albany, I served on a committee established by the New York State Commissioner of Education to help revise the high school Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts

What's the hardest thing you've done or had to learn? That as much as I want to, I am not going to save the world. However, there is profound value in helping one person one day at a time.

Favorite book? My favorite author is a childhood classic - Laura Ingalls Wilder. I've read not only her books but biographies and academic works about her, and it's a goal of mine to see the museum in Mansfield, Missouri that is dedicated to her life and career.

Last read? Arrow's Flight by Mercedes Lackey. It's a family custom to read out loud in the car whenever we're going somewhere, and we are currently working our way through Lackey's multi-volume Valdemar series.

What one word would you use to describe yourself? Brainstormer

Share something about yourself that few people know. I appeared on Jeopardy! many years ago, in one of their college tournaments. My performance was quite dismal, but it was still a lot of fun.

What are you most proud of?  My daughter and her adventurous spirit

If you could trade places with anyone for a week, who would it be?  Why?  Sometimes I wish I could trade places with my daughter, so that I could see and experience the world as she does. Viewing the world with fresh, young eyes, with no understanding of cynicism and sarcasm, would be a really powerful thing.

If you were a superhero, what would your power be?  I have always wished that I could read people's thoughts. I am not terribly adept at interpreting body language and prefer to know directly what's on someone's mind. But the books I am reading with the family right now (the Valdemar series) feature a character who has the psychic ability to read, manipulate, and project EMOTIONS. That ability (used with the appropriate ethics, of course) would be amazing, I think.

What would I find in your refrigerator right now? Not too much, as we're almost due for a trip to the market! Mostly deli meat and cheese, milk and juice and creamer for coffee. Assorted fruits and veggies - usually peppers, cukes, grapes, apples and peaches. We tend to plan out our meals for a week and then buy just enough at the store, rather than having a lot of extra food around.

Anne Frank once said that in spite of everything, she believed people were basically good.  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?  I think that people WANT to be good, but that they fool themselves into allowing behaviors that are not good and rationalize them as good and come up with justifications to absolve themselves of guilt. The  mind is a powerful thing. And what's good for some people is not necessarily good for others.