Sandy Howard and Lil Hayashi met over seven years ago while carpooling to an RSVP* recognition event in South King County. It did not take long for them to discover they had a lot in common, and they quickly became fast friends. Both had husbands employed by Boeing, and both had lived in Nagoya, Japan while their husbands were employed there (although at different times).
Volunteering has long been a staple of their lives. Sandy immersed herself in an international women’s cultural exchange group while living in Japan, volunteering to serve as its president for two years. She also contributed her considerable skills as a writer for the for the RSVP newsletter, Experience in Action, for many years.
Since its inception, Lillian has been a longstanding, active volunteer in the Asian community’s Nikkei Concerns (now known as Keiro Northwest), which provides health and wellness services for the elderly. In addition, her volunteer work with her church and many local nonprofit organizations, including Sound Generations and AARP, not only gives her a deep sense of purpose but keeps her very busy.
Soon after joining RSVP, Sandy and Lil became Ambassadors – a core group of volunteers who serve in an advisory capacity and help increase the visibility of RSVP in King County. They do this not only by attending quarterly ambassador meetings to network with other RSVP members and by learning more about volunteer opportunities in order to spread the word in their communities, but also by sharing the mission of RSVP at senior fair events, relating their own experiences to others and through their continual recruitment efforts.
Even if you have not attended a resource or senior fair and met Lil or Sandy personally, you may recognize them from the RSVP informational brochures and recruitment board their images grace. They are RSVP’s smiling, gracious ‘poster pals’ and have helped us immensely in spreading the word about the benefits of joining RSVP.
At times, volunteering and being part of RSVP may seem bigger than the both of them. Says Sandy, “Giving back is important to me. I am so glad to have a group that encourages this, while also meeting new friends and volunteers, such as Lillian.”
Lillian chimes in that RSVP means “opportunities and opening of doors to friendship; meeting my good friend, Sandy. It is spreading the word to others of the rewards of volunteering and helping the community in the process. It keeps me alive, sharp and healthy.” From her beaming smile, it is evident that this is what Lil loves to do.
As the interview was coming to a close, Sandy may have summed it up best: “If everyone volunteered, showing kindness and love around the world, wouldn’t that be a great step to world peace?” Yes, indeed it would.
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