MEET DEAN TRAORE. He’s a South Jersey teen, who has a deep and very personal connection with the Food Bank of South Jersey. From volunteering since he was six to present day at the age of 17, Dean explains to us his Volunteer Story.
Hi, I’m Dean Traore. Yes, my last name may be familiar because of my mother Val Traore, the President and CEO of the Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ). She has been the CEO of this splendid organization for a total of 11 years now. I’ve been on an amazing journey with her, as well. I have gotten to see the Food Bank develop from a small building and a tiny workforce to a grand remodel and a variety of workers. In the 11 years my mother has been CEO, I have seen how she and her employees truly take their jobs seriously and make sure they do whatever they can to end hunger. I myself have lent my hand to help in the hunger relief effort with the staff at the Food Bank.
Just as my mother has been CEO for 11 years, I have been a volunteer for that same amount of time. I have learned so many great things about non-profit, business, what a being a leader is, etc… I have helped in a wide variety of departments here at FBSJ. Whether it was working out in the warehouse loading food onto trucks, helping with summer feeding, in the operations department, or event planning and more, I have done it all.
I consider the Food Bank to be my second home after all. I technically grew up here – all the employees have known me since I was maybe 4’8″ to now a 5’10″ 17 year old. They too have become my family and people that I look up to in my every day life.
With my 11 years of volunteering and spending time at the Food Bank, I feel as though the experience has taught me a lot of things that I will deal with in the real world. Such as time management, doing work efficiently, treating people with respect – no matter the social background, educational level, or economic status of the person. Volunteering and interacting with the staff here has been such a rewarding experience in my life. I am so blessed that I have been able to meet wonderful people and hear incredible stories, because of my chance to be at the Food Bank.
My time volunteering here is dwindling down, and 11 months from now I will be in college across the country. But it is my goal and promise to spend the next 11 months I have, helping out at the Food Bank like I have for the past 11 years of my life. I know wherever life takes me, the Food Bank will always have a special spot in my heart. Along with the hard-working and dedicated employees, interns, and other volunteers I have met.
I am truly grateful for everything organization has taught me and how I can further these lessons into my adult life. I am Dean Traore, and that is my Volunteer Story.