Staff Spotlight: Vicki Burstynowicz, Sharing Projects Coordinator
Through NHCO’s seven sharing projects, generous members of our community donate items that we distribute to those less fortunate. For the past nine years, Vicki has overseen these projects that bring comfort, relief and often times joy to thousands of our clients. She arranges the collections, makes client appointments and shuffles and organizes the donated items. She also sets up the shops where the goods are distributed.
Before she was sharing projects coordinator she spent 4 years as NHCO’s executive assistant.
“Working here has allowed me to meet a lot of nice people. People who have inspired me like clients and volunteers and donors.”
Over this past holiday season, Vicki was holding a toy shop to give gifts to children in the Millvale area when she was moved by an act of kindness. A young man in his 20s was standing outside the building with holes in his shoes. Three clients noticed him and pulled together a few dollars so he could buy new shoes.
“They were there for help, but they wanted to help other people too,” Vicki noticed. “Made me think of my mom because that’s something she would have done.”
If you see Vicki on Valentine’s Day, be sure to wish her a happy birthday.
”Every time I see Valentines decorations in the store I obnoxiously sing Happy Birthday to Me.”
Q&A with Vicki
Before working at NHCO, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
I designed bridges. I have my masters in structural engineering. The switch back ramps at the Hot Metal Bridge is my favorite project. I designed the new steel on the switchback ramps on the pedestrian bridge.
What drew you to NHCO originally?
When I decided to switch careers I wanted to help people. I wanted to volunteer first so searched where to volunteer in the North Hills. I volunteered for a year here first, for sharing projects.
What are 3 words to describe NHCO?
Compassionate, giving, stewardship.
What advice would you give to a new NHCO emplyee?
Error on the side of giving. If you’re ever not sure how much to give, It’s always better to give more than give less.
What do you like most about NHCO?
I really like being able to give back to people. It’s a good place to work because you always know you have someone to back you up. Where else can I take off an entire fall? When my mom was dying I spent a lot of time with her. A lot of places, you can’t do that. A lot of people understood (at NHCO) because it’s a compassionate place.
What do you find the most challenging at NHCO?
Last year was the first year for the personal care sharing project. When you start a new project it’s hard to get the support.
*Our personal care sharing project is February 17 – April 20. Please visit nhco.org/personal-care-items for more information.
What has been your favorite project at NHCO?
I’m a nerd so I love Back To School.
What is your proudest moment at NHCO?
I was really proud when I raised over $1,000 when I did the half marathon.
How did you raise $1,000?
I sold hands to put on my wall. Most of the money raised was from volunteers. If they gave me $10 and they put their name on the hands and I taped it to my office wall.
How does Peppers help you at work?
She helps me be more social because everybody likes a dog.
If you could be any animal, what would it be?
A spoiled dog
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Super speed at running.
Where’s your favorite vacation spot?
Yellowstone. Each quadrant of Yellowstone is so unique. I just like nature. We like to go hiking, and being in national parks.
Besides a being a Sharing Projects Coordinator at NHCO, what is your dream job?
A singer. I like to sing a lot.
Learn more about Vicki’s sharing projects at nhco.org/donate/sharing-project-donations/