Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Volunteer of the Month: Amy Peltonen

Amy joined RTS as a member of the Young Professionals Society last summer and volunteered at both the first YPS Rebuilding Day in August, and the Warehouse Cleanup later that fall.  Amy has shown great dedication to RTS' mission of helping homeowners in need. At the Honeywell Rebuilding Day las fall, Amy worked one-on-one with a homeowner to help her organize her belongings and get rid of items she didn't need. By the end of the day, Amy had assisted her in clearing out and organizaing her entire living room and bathroom.

Recently, Amy also joined the Site Preview Team. "Amy's willingness to help out whenever and wherever and her positive attitude really stood out to me. When she mentioned her interest in being a part of the RTS team on a regular basis, I immediately agreed that she would be an excellent fit on our Site Preview Team," said Sarah Ihrie, RTS Program and Marketing Manager.

Learn a little bit more about Amy from her interview:

1. Why did you choose to get involved with RTS? How long have you been volunteering with RTS?

I decided to get involved with RTS after seeing coverage of a Rebuilding Day on one of our local news websites. I loved the idea of getting together a group of volunteers to help others in the Seattle area who need help with their homes. Because the home is so important for one's comfort and safety, Rebuilding Days are a great way to make a large, positive, immediate impact in people's lives.

2. What do you enjoy the most about working with our organization?

What I enjoy most is having direct contact with the homeowners we are helping. These are all good people who have ended up in unfortunate situations, so it is very rewarding to hear their stories and to address their home-related concerns.

3. What do your colleagues or other volunteers say about RTS? Why do they want to volunteer their time?

One of the wonderful things about RTS is working with the other volunteers! Being part of the RTS crew is a great way to meet friendly, like-minded professionals and is certainly another motivator for being involved in the organization.

4. What about RTS’ mission are you most drawn to?

I am most drawn to the mission of helping elderly and/or disabled people.

When people get older, research shows that they would rather stay in their homes (versus assisted care facilities) even as they start to experience limitations brought on by chronic disease. With the growing number of seniors, a limited number of assisted care facilities (often with a prohibitive cost) and homeowners' desire to age in place, I am happy to be part of a team that can help low-income seniors stay in their homes.
I feel a personal connection with people who are disabled, as my late brother was disabled and lived with my parents until he was 21. At that age my family helped set him up to live independently in his own home. He felt a huge sense of pride to have his own place! Seeing how much my brother valued his independent living situation makes it all the more meaningful to be a part of RTS as they help low-income disabled people with their homes.

5. Do you have any other comments you’d like to share at this time?

As part of organizing a recent panelist/speaker event on aging, technology and health, I learned a lot about the at-home needs of those with physical and/or mental limitations. Armed with this new knowledge, I asked if I could be a part of the site preview team that would go on the initial home visits of potential work sites. Last week I had a great experience going on my first site preview visit with fellow volunteer Sean Kennedy, where I could see lots of opportunities for home improvements to proactively address the needs of the homeowners. I look forward to doing more site previews and I appreciate RTS giving me the opportunity to contribute in this way!

Amy (left) hard at work at the YPS Rebuilding Day
Thank you for your commitment to RTS, Amy!!


  1. We know Amy personally and can attest to her worthiness for such a prestigious award. Amy is a determined, compassionate and ambitious individual, willing to undertake a myriad challenges, evidenced by this interview.
    How inspiring!
    Thank you,
    Mary Adams

  2. Greetings from Sheboygan County Health & Human Services in Wisconsin.
    We fully support RTS' efforts toward home ownership and independent living. Studies show that people in general live longer and more meaningful lives when they can stay in their own homes with proper supports. Bottom line is, it's cheaper, too, than living in an institution.

    Peggy Feider