Volunteer Spotlight: Voncile Whitaker
Voncile Whitaker has been with the Collier Resource Center (CRC) since the beginning. Voncile and Nina (CRC Board Chair and Co-Founder) met about seven years ago, while collaborating on a project called Community Outreach Coalition. They worked together to bring representatives and information about various social service organizations into the community. That organization disbanded, but Nina and Voncile knew the concept had merit and wanted to find a way to make it succeed. When it was time to launch the CRC and volunteers were needed, one of the first people Nina reached out to was Voncile.
Voncile was born in DuPont, which is an area in Everglades City. She is a true Collier County native. Voncile and her family moved to Naples in 1969, and she graduated from Naples High School the following year. She attended Florida A & M University in Tallahassee and, after graduation, returned to Naples where she worked in the City of Naples accounting department for more than 30 years. In that job, people often asked Voncile about where they could get help and what community resources were available. She was the go-to person.
Voncile has been married to her husband Fred for forty years. She says, “He is my inspiration and keeps me smiling.” And smiling is something Voncile often does, as her smile radiates out from her huge heart. She has two children and five grandchildren, all of whom she adores. When asked who she admires most, she responded “Mother Theresa and Michelle Obama.” To know Voncile is to understand how these two icons have influenced her.
In her free time, when she has any, she loves to read and watch Westerns. She attends Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, where she volunteers. She is also our liaison with FPL’s LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) helping people who are having difficulty paying their electric bill.
Ever since CRC began, Voncile has been steadfast in her work assisting our clients. You will find her in the office every Tuesday, ready and willing to help anyone who is seeking services to improve their quality of life. Like all CRC volunteers, Voncile continues searching and researching, and doesn’t give up until she has answers for our clients, many of whom are living under crushing conditions.
When Hurricane Irma tore through her home, Voncile didn’t miss her Tuesday volunteer assignment at CRC. Despite having no power initially, a leaking roof, trees toppled, enormous yard debris and a plumbing leak, she never stopped helping others! According to Voncile, “It is very satisfying to be able to be so hands-on with our clients. I love the idea of being able to follow up and love the contact I have with people. It’s a great feeling when you help people who are so desperate.”
Many local heroes go unnoticed, often by choice. Voncile Whitaker is an example of someone who feels called to serve others and prefers to avoid the spotlight. Her humility, kindness and dedication are remarkable.
Thank you, Voncile, for making our community a much better place!