Guest Post: Don Robertson, Sulzbacher’s Volunteer of the Year

My name is Don Robertson known to many Sulzbacher residents as donDr. Don.  Like many in Jacksonville, I am retired and enjoying my “golden years” on the First Coast but something was missing so I began to look around for a place where I could make a contribution.I had previously donated items like clothes and bicycles to the Sulzbacher Center so I thought I would see if they had an area where a retired Professor of Computer Science and Information Systems could contribute or at least make himself useful. Low and behold they had a computer lab as part of their Life Skills Program where clients could do job searches, prepare resumes and complete online job applications. This was not all;  these same clients could use the lab to apply for food stamps, submit for unemployment, seek out birth certificates, deal with tax problems and even track down lost family members. I knew the computer side and Ms. Megan Riggs, the Education and Career Training Coordinator who runs the lab for the Center, was willing to teach an “old dog new tricks” like the ins and outs of things like the food stamp and medicare programs.  There seemed to be a fit so I volunteered to come in for two or three hours on Tuesday and Thursday.  This did not last for long because as soon as the first resident I had helped got food stamps and another applied online and got a job so she could start over I was hooked. Every success is very satisfying and makes you want to do more so I agreed to extend my hours from two or three on Tuesdays and Thursdays to three or four hours Monday through Thursday. I was, as I said the previous paragraph, hooked.  I enjoyed my time with the residents and found myself wanting to go even further.  I purchased and donated a scanner and a couple of dozen high quality headsets with microphones to be used in customer service training and have now purchased over 500 thumb drives so each client can store their resumes, birth certificates, and training certificates on their own personal storage device.  It is not all work however; I have donated an equal number of pairs of personal ear buds so they can utilize the audio functions associated with the computers without disturbing their neighbors. I can say without reservation that if you want the satisfaction of making a meaningful contribution to those, who for one reason or another have fallen on hard times, the Sulzbacher Center is the place for you.  If you do not have time, there are other ways to make a contribution, just look around the web site for ways to donate. You’ll be surprised how good it makes you feel.

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