Describe your volunteer activity with San Rafael?
In 2004, I joined the Canal Youth & Families Council (CY&FC). I am the treasurer for this group of parents who meet monthly to plan activities and raise money for Canal Arts and other youth activities and holiday events at the Albert J. Boro Community Center. Canal Arts provides a free art classes the second Saturday of the each month from 10:30 am to 12:30. This is a busy time for CY&FC. With the Día De Los Muertos celebration and the Christmas holiday – I might be volunteering up to 15-20 hours each month.
Why did you choose to volunteer for San Rafael?
I arrived as a newcomer/immigrant in 1988 and at that time I resided in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood. I was a first-hand witness to the dire needs of the children, mothers and families in the Canal. I left San Rafael in 1991 and moved to Novato but I could not turn a blind eye to the needs I had seen – a need for information, for guidance, to learn about the American culture, one’s rights and responsibilities, and the need for health care and education. So my husband Carlos and I come to the Albert J. Boro Community Center for CY&FC’s evening planning meetings the fourth Thursday of each month. We also attend the Canal Arts program on the second Saturday of each month.
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer work?
I enjoy seeing the children and families smile and work together on an event or activity that we have put together for them. I love to hear their laughter and the look in their faces that says “we matter; someone put this together for us.” I enjoy helping people feel that they belong and that they are cared for!
What accomplishment are you most proud of as a volunteer?
I am most proud to see families grow and mature through the years, especially those I first met 12 years ago. I am proud when I see that they are happy, healthy and successful in raising children that are thriving and achieving their goals. On a more tangible note, I am very proud at being instrumental in the successful implementation of our yearly Easter Egg Hunt and Santa Visit/Holiday Celebration in the Canal.
What other volunteer activities do you do?
In addition to working as a parent volunteer at my son’s high school, I am a volunteer for Novato Human Needs’ Holiday program and I have been an American Red Cross Volunteer for over 25 years. I have also been a Foster Parent since 1997. In the past, I volunteered as a Mentor for Family Day Care providers both through Marin Child Care Council and Jardín Infantil del Canal.
What would you suggest to those considering volunteering with the City?
Get to know your community and your community’s needs. Educate others on their rights as residents of the neighborhood. Inform yourself about community resources so you can refer families to needed services. Be conscious about the fact that everyone learns differently and that not everyone has the same level of education. In other words: tailor your approach and communication to your audience.
Describe in one to three words your experience as a volunteer with San Rafael?
Love, Faith, Goals
Steve Mason, Senior Supervisor, San Rafael Community Services Albert J. Boro Community Center shares this about Rosa Amalia: Among the many dedicated members of the Canal Youth & Family Council, Amalia stands out as the heart of the group. Giving is what Amalia does.
Read more about Rosa Amalia in the 2014 online magazine Equal Voice News – America’s Family Story — News and Opinions about Poverty, Policy and Progress: Rosa Amalia Garcia – Sharing Her Heart in California.