Meet two great guys – City of San Rafael Custodians Ross Morrison and Juan Carlos Sorto. Between the two, they have worked 27 years for San Rafael. Each manages the cleaning and maintenance of busy San Rafael Community Centers. By default, they are also volunteer coordinators, working mostly with court mandated community service workers (CSW). These are adults with traffic tickets or other minor infractions who can pay off the fines by working an equivalent number of hours at authorized locations.
Community Service Workers Make a Difference
Ross works at the San Rafael “B Street” Community Center and Juan Carlos works at the Albert J. Boro Community Center. Both Centers offer a wide variety of programs and activities, host City events and can be rented by individuals and community groups. Each has an auditorium, a stage, classrooms, patios and park area. Ross and Juan Carlos are responsible to ensure that all areas and equipment is in repair and clean. Plus they ensure that rooms are set-up daily for various activities. Ross and Juan Carlos agree: “We are able to get much more accomplished with the help of CSWs. Most are good people who work hard and are motivated to put in the hours. “
Ross and Juan Carlos make an effort to work with the person’s schedule, and appreciate those CSW’s that call as soon as they receive their hours. This helps to arrange tasks and a schedule that works for all. Juan Carlos shared: “I can often take advantage of a person’s skills or experience. I have had experienced house painters who need to work off community service, so I use their skills to complete any painting tasks!” Currently Juan Carlos has three CSWs on his schedule. A couple of them have hundreds of hours to work off. Juan says; “One man is working eight hours a day Monday to Friday and will be working with me for 3 months.”
Often ones misfortune leads to a new beginning. Those individuals with many hours build a relationship with the Custodians. “On more than one occasion we have ended up hiring a volunteer as a paid facility attendant.” At the B Street Community Center the current weekend facility attendant got his job after completing his community service. Ross said; “He so impressed me with his work ethic and great attitude that we asked him to join the team. “
The Albert J. Boro Community Center is a resource for Canal neighbors. Those seeking a place to work off their community service go directly to Juan Carlos. He shares the immigrant experience and understands their unique pressures. In addition to helping those with court mandated hours, what Juan Carlos finds most rewarding is that he can provide service opportunities for those seeking to enhance their applications for citizenship. He is proud to assist new immigrants who want to show their dedication and good will for their new community.
Recipe for Success
Ross and Juan Carlos are both adaptable and congenial, traits that make them perfect to interact with different personalities and find work for people with varied skill and experiences. They go the extra mile to find a task for CSWs. To anyone considering doing volunteer hours (provided you are willing and able to do physical work including light janitorial work, classroom set-up/break down and possibly some light gardening) they can almost always use your help. Some tips from the pros: Please communicate what you can do. Once you commit to a schedule, stick to it. Call if you cannot show up, be dependable and reliable…this is a job. It’s a fun place to work and a great environment. Juan Carlos and Ross are both “great guys” and they appreciate the help!
Ashley D. Howe, MS, Senior Recreation Supervisor at the B Street Community Center shares this: “Ross has an exceptional ability to lead volunteers from the community. Ross eagerly accepts volunteers needing a variety of hours and does his best to pair individuals with projects and maintenance tasks at the San Rafael Community Center and at the Albert Park Baseball Stadium that fit their skills.”
Steve Mason, Senior Recreation Supervisor at the Albert J. Boro Community Center share this: “Juan Carlos’ ability to effectively utilize community service workers has been an enormous asset to the Albert J. Boro Community Center and Pickleweed Park. He is able to keep the facility looking great with the extra, free, help he receives.”
What is the difference between a community service “worker” and a community service “volunteer”?
Workers are mandated by a court to work off a violation or ticket. Community service volunteers are adults or youth who do service as part of a school, religious or work experience requirement. San Rafael gladly supports all these individuals. If one of the two descriptions above fits your need, or that of someone you know, please be in touch with our Volunteer Program.