Bryan Sparks was Fort Bend Women’s Center’s Volunteer of the Year in 2015. He is currently serving as President-Elect and Chair of the Board of Directors’ External Committee.
This is his volunteer story.
What brought you to Fort Bend Women’s Center?
“I came to the Women’s Center through PCCA, which is where I work. The first year I was there, one of the employees read about the shelter needing supplies around Christmas – simple things like diapers and toys. We held a donation drive at work.
“That was the beginning of the relationship between PCCA and Fort Bend Women’s Center – we adopted the Women’s Center as our main charitable partner.
“Initially my involvement was just donating whenever I was asked to but after a couple of years, I was working with middle schoolers at my church and looking for a project for them. We partnered with the Women’s Center, getting our kids involved in providing gifts for the children in the shelter.
“After that I began to get more involved and over the last five years particularly, my commitment has really grown. I’m also happy to say that PCCA’s commitment to Fort Bend Women’s Center has grown with the business. The Women’s Center’s work is really top of mind with our employees and our Culture Committee has really engaged people in getting actively involved.”
How long have you been a volunteer?
Most of my volunteer involvement has been in the last five years. I really got more actively involved through our Culture Committee at work. About five years ago, we spent the day painting the hallways at the shelter.
Then when the new PennyWise Resale Store was opening in Richmond, we spent a day building display stands and clothing racks.
I really got more seriously involved in the build up to the Women’s Center’s 35th anniversary when I was responsible for making a special commemorative video. That project also led to my volunteering to take photographs for a variety of projects.
What volunteer activities have you been involved in?
I’ve painted, worked at PennyWise and been involved in photography and video production.
The photography and video work is a great thing for me. I’ve been into photography for a long time but having a way to use it like this has been enormously satisfying for me. I get the most satisfaction from putting my passion and skills to good use; to provide something that is needed but that the Women’s Center can’t afford to spend money on. It’s just great to be able to take something I’m good at and help someone else, to see the results and to see how much the organization benefits, and to know that you’re helping someone else.
Can you share one memorable moment from your volunteering experience?
There are two. There were a team of us working on the 35th anniversary video. At the end of a long day of shooting, we went and ate dinner together and then continued filming late into the night. The scenes that we filmed at night were difficult and definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but the teamwork was amazing and I had a lot of fun, despite the challenges.
Secondly, the day we spent painting walls at the shelter stands out. It was a hot summer day and there were 12 of us. We brought some outdoor toys for the kids and they played for hours outside. We worked hard but successfully finishing the job makes you feel good.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering with us?
I never realized how positively volunteering would impact my life – just do it. Try it once, think about how it makes you feel and you’ll find that you want to do it again and again. I can’t quantify all the ways it has impacted me but it’s such a positive feeling. Volunteering with the Women’s Center has been more satisfying than I ever thought it would be. I always feel that I’ve done something really good which reminds me why I do it!