Volunteer Spotlight: Rose Ann Simpson

Rose Ann Simpson recently ended her long career with the Poughkeepsie Journal. During her 28 years at the Poughkeepsie Journal, she served her community by participating as the Employee Campaign Manager for the Poughkeepsie Journal’s United Way Campaign. Rose Ann worked in several departments including human resources, the newsroom and the Publisher’s office, each time taking the responsibility of overseeing the Campaign with her. “I knew that by participating in the Campaign we were helping everyone in our community.”

Each year Rose Ann would work on growing the campaign and expanding United Way’s engagement with the Poughkeepsie Journal employees. She would host an annual breakfast and speak about the work of United Way. She would also drop by her colleagues’ offices to explain the importance of donating. In addition, Rose Ann auctioned off exciting prizes for new and veteran donors such as parking spaces, vacation days, and United Way themed items.

Rose Ann also served as the point person for Holiday Helping Hand, a special program that raises funds for local families in need around the holidays. Families are able to receive utility assistance, gift cards, or a holiday party at the host nonprofit. This initiative serves children and seniors in particular. Rose Ann set up a joint meeting between staffs of the United Way and Poughkeepsie Journal each year, ensured that there was adequate media coverage of the families receiving the assistance, and helped with the financial campaign to raise additional funds for the following year. “I knew that by doing my part I was helping bring cheer to local families during the holiday season.”

Yet, Rose Ann’s community involvement doesn’t stop there. Rose Ann and her team participate with Make a Difference Day. Two years ago she worked with United Way and Rebuilding Together to revamp the home of a Poughkeepsie elderly resident. Volunteers painted, performed yard work, and light repairs. “I enjoyed it immensely, it was hard work but rewarding. I walked away feeling appreciated and that I had accomplished something.” Rose Ann has a long standing relationship with Rebuilding Together.  Previously, when the organization was known as Christmas in April, she and her husband volunteered for 12 years on various builds and home repairs.

This past October she volunteered at the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. The Poughkeepsie Journal staff and the children played Wiffle Ball, read together, tie dyed, and designed a Poughkeepsie Journal front page using the children’s stories, poems, artwork and quotes. “The children were grateful and well-behaved; I would go back there to help in a heartbeat.”

Finally, Rose Ann participated as a grant reviewer for United Way last year. As one of the many volunteer grant reviewers she evaluated and assessed proposals to determine which programs received funding awards. “I learned so much. To see the work and effort that goes into the process, it really is the community making these decisions.”

With new found time on her hands Rose Ann plans to fill her schedule with volunteer work at many different local organizations. “I see volunteering as a responsibility. You give joy to others and you get joy out of it.”

To learn about the many ways YOU can help your community visit the Volunteer Portal at volunteer.uwdor.org.

―Melissa Clark, Manager of Community Mobilization