Broadview Emergency Shelter & Transitional Housing appreciates all of the many volunteers who allow our programming to be so robust. We’d like to congratulate Broadview’s 2017* Volunteer of the Year, Signe Burke, for going above and beyond as a volunteer.
Signe has been such an asset through her commitment to Broadview. She regularly mobilizes her community to share her passion of supporting children experiencing homelessness. We are so grateful for caring community members like Signe.
She began volunteering at Broadview in April 2016 and has volunteered in many different capacities to support the kids who live at Broadview. She first started as a Pongo Writing Mentor, working one-on-one with her mentee for over a year, and crafting powerful poems together every week. She has also been a tutor and helped with childcare during support groups for moms at Broadview.
“I love working with kids. They’re hilarious, creative, and genuine and I admire their excitement about even the littlest things in life,” Signe says. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all find endless enjoyment out of something as simple as scrap of paper or a cardboard box? Kids can make fun out of anything – it’s inspiring!”
Last year, Signe rallied a community group she is a part of to participate in a Volunteer Day at Broadview. More than 10 volunteers came and painted our building, weeded and planted in our garden, and sanitized our playroom. The group collected two carloads of donations and got about $500 donated from Signe’s company to buy school supplies. The kids living at Broadview had a blast planting flowers and painting with the volunteers. The moms at Broadview raved about how good they felt coming home to a nice garden.
Signe shares, “The women here amaze me with their strength. I’m continually shocked by how relatable their situations are and how ‘normal’ their lives used to be. I was surprised when I realized that almost any woman in my life could have ended up in their situations; it’s so real and takes just a few unlucky or unfortunate events.
“When I feel that my life is too busy with work or errands, thinking of the supermoms at Broadview puts life into perspective. They are so friendly, work so hard, and their work is often thankless. They take care of themselves and their kids as single, working moms, and that in of itself is a challenge.
“But on top of that, they have countless additional challenges that many of us don’t face: They handle the complicated legal issues that come from domestic violence cases, they spend time searching for low-income housing in a city where that is scarce, they spend time overcoming the trauma of domestic violence, they have to search for a job when they can’t necessarily afford the professional clothes to do so or face employers who are hesitant to hire working moms, and, in some cases, they have to stay in complete hiding from domestic abusers (including those receiving death threats). They truly are supermoms!”
Signe adds, “Beyond feeling that I am helping the moms, I simply enjoy working with the kids. They’re different than most kids in that they’ve gone through some really, really hard situations that no kid should ever go through. Despite that, they are so cheerful, playful and individual, just like any other kid.”
“One of the main reasons I care so much about Broadview is because of my connection with my mentee. She is a wise 12-year-old who has a heart of gold, gets straight As in school, but hasn’t had the chance to simply ‘be a kid.’ Since she is the oldest of 6, she has had to step up and help her mom care for the younger ones.
“On top of that, her stories of what she’s been through (and continues to face in some regards) are heart-wrenching. You’d never know about any of her struggles by just meeting her. She is so strong. Working with her to tell her it’s ok to be weak, to build her confidence up about herself and her accomplishments, to help her be a playful, happy kid, and to talk to her about her dreams (she wants to be a doctor) is what inspires me to be involved more than anything else. I’m looking forward to bringing more people into the Broadview community and finding new, creative ways to help out.
“Major shout out to the Broadview staff for their kindness and hard, effective work. Another shout out to the moms who work tirelessly doing the most admirable job out there: being a loving mom. To anyone reading this, I encourage you to check it out! If you like kids, this is a phenomenal opportunity to help out where you are really needed.”
Broadview would like to extend a huge thank you to Signe and all of our volunteers for being part of the Broadview community. You are appreciated!