By Stephanie Gonzalez
The welcoming porches that greet you at the face of almost every house are one of the defining characteristics of Cooper-Young. In fact, they’re what convinced Robert Hatfield, this month’s Volunteer Spotlight, to move here.
“I had always had a home base in CY with some friends who lived on Felix,” he says. “When they moved, I didn’t know what to do without guaranteed CY porch access, so I moved here.”
It wasn’t only the porches that brought Robert to Cooper-Young in 2013 though. He says he also loves the walkability of the neighborhood, combined with “places worth walking to.”
“CY is great for a lot of reasons, but it takes a lot of work to make it that way,” he said. “I want to encourage everyone to get involved in whatever way they are able.”
His own passion for volunteering in the neighborhood actually predates Robert’s move here. He had been volunteering already at Cooper-Young Beer Fest and with Revolutions Bicycle Co-Op, so becoming an “official” part of the neighborhood “made it even easier to participate,” he said. “The wide variety of volunteer opportunities is why I originally got involved.”
Robert has made good use of that wide variety of opportunities. In addition to beer fest and Revolutions, he also volunteers at the Festival Friday 4-Miler, serves on the transportation committee, is a member of the garden club, helps with Neighborhood Night Out, and serves on the Cooper-Young Community Association board.
“I am constantly learning about all the people and hard work that came before me to make CY a great neighborhood, and I want to carry on that tradition,” he says.
He’s been a champion of the effort to get bike repair stations installed in the neighborhood, helped paint leaves on the sidewalk for the arboretum, has helped plant and mulch trees for the Beautification Committee, and much more. One of his most recent contributions has been to serve as a project manager in the board’s work with Ray Rico Freelance to develop a new CYCA website. In that role, Communications Chair June Hurt said Robert has been “a godsend.”
Robert describes the project as one of the areas he’s passionate about, “helping the CYCA improve internal and external communication using new technologies,” and encourages neighbors to not only keep an eye out for the new website but also to join the CYCA and sign up for the weekly newsletter.
One final tip for new volunteers that he adds is, “Don’t be afraid to show up to events or meetings that pique your interest.”
Do you know someone who should be featured as the Lamplighter’s Volunteer Spotlight? Email your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org.