Volunteer Spotlight

Marty Vales

Until a year ago, Marty woke up every morning to face a high-pressure job in finance. Now instead of sitting in a corporate cubicle laboring over numbers, a relaxed Marty can be found sorting donated clothing in Monarch’s shopping bin or stuffing envelopes in the Development office.

After taking an early retirement, Marty has found her calling as a volunteer who readily pitches in with any task needed at the school every Wednesday, all day. Her typical day starts with prepping clothes and accessories for student Shopping Days, and helping students select just the right styles and sizes.

She loves interacting with the students as they browse through the racks. “Shopping Day is fun for the kids,” says Marty. “We get to make them smile.” She enjoys being a good listener when they feel like talking about their lives and what’s happening with their families. She says it’s gratifying to see them take joy in finding the right shirt or pair of pants, along with fun items like coloring books.

In fact, Monarch’s Volunteer Coordinator has found that she can rely on Marty and her co-volunteer to manage all aspects of Shopping Day, and likes to think of her as a “super volunteer.”

Marty also helps with the monthly Butterfly Birthdays celebrations, setting up and serving lunch and cake. After a morning of sorting and serving as shopping advisors, Marty and fellow volunteers enjoy going to lunch together for a much-deserved break. Then it’s back to work. Afternoons bring Marty up to the Annex office to help the Development Department with everything from data entry to filing, furthering the essential task of fundraising for the school. One day she’s hand-addressing thank-you cards to donors, and on another day she might be sitting on the floor of the Vice President’s office organizing files.

The versatile Marty has also done algebra tutoring and works on special events for the school. She assembled hundreds of giveaway keepsakes for the Groundbreaking, and served as a docent at the event. During the busy holiday season she increases her donated time to several days a week.

Originally from New Jersey, Marty moved to California more than two decades ago for her career. Upon retirement, she immersed herself in home improvement projects. But she soon realized that (a) this was becoming costly, and (b) she felt a strong desire to help others. A fellow San Diego Women’s Foundation member had told her about Monarch, so she attended a Volunteer Orientation and knew immediately that this is where her heart belongs.

Marty is now reveling in the positive school environment that is so different from her experience in the corporate world. Instead of stress, she finds pleasure in her days here, and a deep sense of satisfaction from making life better for Monarch’s kids.