Volunteer Spotlight: Avis Brown
Updated: Apr 28
Meet the Project Warm-Up volunteer whose "movie baskets" are a real treat. Plus: cute animals ahead! Part of a new series highlighting the stories of RSVP volunteers.
RSVP Director's Foreword: One of the great privileges I enjoy as RSVP Director is the opportunity to get to know our volunteers and capture their remarkable stories of service. Every other week, I'll be bringing you profiles of the dedicated older adults who exemplify the values that RSVP and national service are built on.
Volunteer: Avis Brown Volunteer Station: Project Warm-Up RSVP Member Since: 2017
Avis Brown has been an RSVP member officially since 2017, but she's actually been volunteering with Project Warm-Up since 2010. When she first heard about our program, she was volunteering at Women's Hearth, a downtown Spokane day center for women providing community, activities, classes, social service referrals and housing-search case management in a compassionate and supportive environment seven days a week. They are also a frequent Project Warm-Up recipient.
Avis was taught to crochet by her grandmother at the age of ten, but she picked up the hobby more after her son was born. She was making blankets for her family members, but wanted to do more. When she heard about RSVP's Project Warm-Up, she knew she had found a good home for her talents. She most frequently makes blankets, typically three or four every month, but also makes hats and scarf sets. Avis said that her favorite thing about volunteering is that, "I'm giving a little bit of my heart to each piece." She is motivated knowing that each item she makes is going to keep someone else warm. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Avis and a friend were working to start a crocheting group at Awakenings Coffee Bar near Northtown Mall. They are still hoping to start the group up when the pandemic has ended.
But there's much more to Avis than her contributions to Project Warm-Up! For starters, she is still employed as a nanny to two children. She used to babysit at a bowling alley for league members. She's done retail, restaurant, and secretarial work and helped out with bingo at SYSA. She also volunteers regularly at SCRAPS, and recently brought home a four-week-old kitten named Tanner. As a special treat, here's a photo Avis shared of Tanner and Avis's dog, Melody!
Avis was also excited to talk about the "movie baskets" she puts together for various fundraisers. She was proud to share that her baskets can often bring in up to $150. She usually gives them a theme; for example, she did a kid's movie night basket, pictured below, featuring two movies, popcorn, hot cocoa, marshmallows, mugs, candy, and one of her handmade neon afghans to top it all off.
For the non-cinephiles out there, Avis also made what she called a "relaxation box," featuring a shawl, tea, cup and saucer, Scottish biscuits, puff pastries, word search puzzles, pencils, and inspirational love stories by Harlequin. She may be stuck at home, but Avis is finding plenty of ways to stay busy!