Q&A with Sarah L. Kuljian

Volunteer Coordinator, Volunteer Action for Aging

Where are you currently working and how long have you been managing volunteers?

I am currently working with Volunteer Action for Aging (VAA), a program within Independence at Home, a SCAN community service. I have been working for the company for 4 ½ years, but managing volunteers for 3 ½ years as a Volunteer Coordinator. VAA serves older adults in multiple counties, including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura. I am responsible for events in the LA County area. VAA offers social engagement opportunities for older adults, including community events such as art and technology classes, as well as a friendly visitor program. Volunteers are an integral part of making our program a success.

How were you introduced to DOVIA-LA and what do you enjoy about the group?

My colleague Teri Hershberg, a current DOVIA-LA board member, and former manager Colette Encalada, introduced me to DOVIA-LA. I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet many members who are professionals working in the field of volunteer management. DOVIA-LA is a great resource for networking and exchanging ideas on best practices in volunteer management. The group encompasses individuals working on a variety of important issues in our community. I am grateful for their breadth of knowledge and experience along with their openness to share what they’ve learned along the way.

Do you have any tips for volunteer managers?

Keep an open mind – try new things and be willing to succeed – but also be receptive to change. I believe that it is essential to gain an understanding of the needs of your program and your volunteers and how they work together.

Do you have any hobbies that help you maintain work/life balance?

I metal smith,fabricating jewelry using silver, bronze, copper and various gemstones. Making jewelry has been a love of mine for almost 30 years and it is my home away from home.