Team Leader Spotlight: Joan Sadorf

Joan Sadorf has been involved with HandsOn San Diego since 2014, getting involved in a wide array of volunteer projects and opportunities.  Over the years she has become a powerhouse of a Team Leader.  

She leads Dress for Success Sorting and multiple Ibarra Elementary Refugee Tutoring projects.


What is your favorite part of being a Team Leader?

My favorite part of being a team leader is welcoming someone new to the experience of my projects. They obviously have an interest in helping to be there in the first place but to see them become part of the project is great. Someone emailed me a bit nervous about tutoring children since she had no training. I mentioned that with the refugee kids, it was really more about being in the present with them and showing them a willingness to help that mattered. Talking with her at the end of the evening she asked how she could get the same student next time, then early the next morning she asked how to become a regular volunteer for this project. It made me feel good.

What is the most important aspect of volunteering to you?homa

The most important aspect of volunteering for me is the concept of each person being an inter-connected member of this planet.  What I mean by that is simply if you are able, you need to help others of the human race. No person is an island, we need others in our life and are needed by others.

What would you tell someone who has just started volunteering, or maybe has thought about it but doesn’t know where to begin?

If someone is new to volunteering, I would tell them that Hands On San Diego is an excellent place to start. Since this organization partners with others organizations and has one central calendar, it makes volunteering so easy. It also allows a person to “try” on different projects until they find a perfect fit. Once you find that fit it truly becomes a part of who you are and it is not a task but a joy.

What inspired you to get involved with HandsOn San Diego, and to stay involved?

I have volunteered all my life but it was actually my daughter who signed me up for Hands On. I was involved in organizations surrounding my girls as they grew up, once they left home I had to find a new niche that also fit my work schedule. I loved how I could pick vastly different projects or sign up for just an hour or two at a time. I tried on a few things before being asked to be a team leader and choice specific projects. I love that I had those experiences first and am so happy with my projects. I can see myself staying involved for a long time because of the connections I have made on my 2 projects. Lovely people that I just want to help!

Do you have a favorite project you’ve volunteered with?

My favorite project is the Refugee Tutoring because I have a soft spot for children. These refugee children did not ask to be put in the situation they have had to face but it found them. Now that they are here in America, I think it is very important to educate them and help make their lives as normal as possible. I noticed last summer while helping with a school supply give away that these kids are so grateful for anything. It was a miserably hot August day and the wait to go through the line was long, an hour at least, but they started playing games in the parking lot and never once complained about the heat or the wait. The smiles when they were given new backpacks with underwear and socks was priceless!!


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