Sometimes members find new volunteer passions through Many Hands; sometimes those passions lead women to become Many Hands members. And sometimes those stories intersect.

Andrea Taylor has been a member of Many Hands since its inception in 2004 and has served on a Focus Area Committee (FAC) during almost every grant cycle. She has primarily served on the Health Committee, where her background as a nurse deepens her understanding of the myriad of health-related issues that applicants address. Andrea loves the hands-on approach of FAC work, which enables her to truly understand each organization’s mission and programs and to see applicants at work through the site visit process.

Drawing of an eye containing a cityscape and drawing of a heart

Artwork created by the child for whom Andrea advocates through Voices for Children Montgomery

Through Many Hands, Andrea learned about CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)/Prince George’s County, a 2019 Partner Grantee. Their work inspired her to become a CASA, a court-appointed volunteer who serves as the voice for a child in the foster care system (typically a child who has been the victim of abuse and/or neglect). Just before the pandemic shut things down last winter, Andrea went through a rigorous two-week training program with Montgomery County’s CASA program, Voices for Children Montgomery, and was assigned her first CASA child. Despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, Andrea has gotten to know her CASA well and speaks of her with tremendous tenderness and pride.

During her CASA training, Andrea met Melissa Hancock, who had recently moved to the area and was considering a career move into the nonprofit sector. Andrea told Melissa about a terrific organization that would give her great insight into the DC nonprofit community: Many Hands. Melissa signed up as a Young Member that night and secured the last spot on the Job Readiness (now Economic Empowerment) Committee. Melissa was thrilled to jump into committee work and values the relationships she made in the process. She is now working to encourage more young women to get involved in Many Hands.

Melissa also serves as a CASA for an 8-year-old boy. In addition to advocating on his behalf, Melissa enjoys meeting him at a park (when pandemic restrictions allow) or reading and talking with him on Zoom. As Melissa puts it, with CASA, the agenda is the child, and she is there to support him in any and every way.