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Dottie van Eckhardt
Name: Dottie van Eckhardt
Family: Son, Kevin; daughter, Laura; two grandchildren.
Residence: Yuba City.
Occupation: Retired interior designer.
How long have you lived in the Yuba-Sutter area? 32 years.
Hobbies, interests: Reading, gardening, playing and listening to classical music, especially piano.
For what groups do you volunteer? The Sutter County Literacy program for the past 12 years. I love it; I always wanted to teach. I just had my first student take her citizenship test. I wish we had more volunteers — it's a wonderful program.
I've been a member of the Sutter-Yuba Republican Women Federated for 32 years and have held every office there is. Now I am serving as treasurer and parliamentarian.
I have always been interested in politics — my first volunteer job, when I was 11 or 12 years old, was to raise money for the Wendell Willkie presidential campaign (against Roosevelt) in the 1940s. Our school was teaching us about campaigning and politics, and we had to come up with a project. We sold lemonade for the campaign.
At the First United Methodist Church of Yuba City, I've been a member for about six years and was just appointed as volunteer coordinator, working three days a week. It's a new program, and VIP — Volunteer Involvement Program — tries to put all the volunteers under one umbrella.
I started by working in the church office, became a greeter, then they put me in charge of the garden. I am a trustee, on the council and chair of the foundation.
In the past, I was a member of the Rotary Club and past president of Sutter Buttes Sunrise Club. In my church, when I was a teenager, I belonged to Pilgrim Fellowship, a large organization for teen Christians. I decorated for all the dances.
When the kids were little, I belonged to the Diablo Valley Assistance League. Its project that year was to start a volunteer program at Contra Costa County Hospital in Martinez. With 200 women, we started our own auxiliary; it took two years. My name is on a plaque there.
How do you fit volunteering into your schedule? I'm pretty good at balancing my time. I wish I had more time to do more volunteering.
Words of advice: Discover your gifts and share them. In my case, my name is Dorothea — my mother told me it meant "gift of God." So now I'm returning the gifts.
Quote: "Outside of raising children (volunteering is) the most rewarding job I know."