MRI’s ECNO (Empowering Community Networking Opportunities) program gives our clients a chance to give back to the community through volunteer opportunities like delivering Thrive and Decatur Magazine and Meals on Wheels, cleaning MRI classrooms and vans, working at the Good Samaritan Inn, playing games with our SAT (Specialized Adult Services) individuals, stocking supplies at Northeast Community Fund and more.
Once a year ECNO tallies up the total hours each participant has volunteered that year and celebrates. Everyone who volunteers gets an award for their hard work and the top ten participants with the most volunteer hours receive an extra award and a special outing for just those ten members. This year’s special outing is an all day camping trip, complete with lunch cooked over the campfire and swimming at the beach.
This year, the top volunteer was Ryan with 109 hours! His favorite volunteer activity is Meals on Wheels. All together, ECNO volunteered for 1,466.5 hours from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. That’s a lot of hours!
Since all of ECNO is already together, it’s also a great time to celebrate everyone’s birthdays! All ECNO participants vote on their six favorite cake flavors. Then, together they make a grocery list and purchase all the materials needed for the cakes. The day before the celebration, they bake the cakes in one of MRI’s apartment-style classrooms. After the award ceremony, everyone sings happy birthday and eats cake and ice cream! This year’s overwhelming favorite was chocolate lava fudge.
Check out all of our wonderful volunteers with their awards: