Every Monday through Thursday one of Brandi Fiore’s family members brings her to Birdneck Elementary School to volunteer, and she doesn’t waste any time getting to work.
“Hi, Brandi,” says a teacher checking her mail before going to class.
“Good morning, Brandi,” says another staff member stopping by.
“Hello, Brandi! How are you,” asks an assistant bringing in envelopes for delivery.
Fiore returns each greeting with one of her own – a smile, a high five or, in some cases, a hug.
“Rinehart,” Fiore exclaims when she sees the school’s assistant principal in the hallway. Fiore hugs Heidi Rinehart and explains that she is in charge of keeping Rinehart away from candy as part of preparations for the administrator’s upcoming wedding.
Once Fiore’s work is completed in the mailroom, she returns to Gallihugh’s desk to find out what else she can do to help the team. It is this willingness to lend a hand to anyone and with any task that earned Fiore the recognition of Birdneck’s Volunteer of the Year.
“She greets parents and visitors and walks them to classrooms, the cafeteria, clinic and library,” Gallihugh says, beginning a long list of ways Fiore assists. “She helps our special education teachers walk students to classrooms and the buses. In the office, Brandi does shredding, sorts the U.S. and interoffice mail and puts it into the mailboxes. She deliver packages. She makes copies for office staff and teachers. She will answer the phone and gladly takes on special projects.”
Birdneck principal Irv Beard is appreciative of how Fiore’s efforts help to reduce the workload of the office staff and her “eager willingness to lend a hand when the opportunity arises.”
“She takes great pride in the work and support she provides,” he adds.
Gallihugh and her office colleagues seem to appreciate the laughter and stories Brandi brings each day even more than her help with daily tasks. “She keeps us laughing with her stories from her large extended family,” says Gallihugh.
Fiore’s aunt, Virginia Sutton, works at Birdneck and says that Fiore’s three years of volunteering at the school have changed her niece. “She’s more open and outgoing, and people enjoy her,” says Sutton, “and she’s really good with the kids.”
The school’s Volunteers in Education (VIE) coordinator Patricia Smith echoes Sutton’s thoughts. “Mrs. Fiore is caring and supportive to everyone in our building and is a true joy to be around. We are honored to have her as our Volunteer of the Year,” says Smith.
With Fiore busy shredding documents around the corner with a smile on her face, Gallihugh confides, “She is very special to us. We love her.”
To find ways you can get involved, visit the division’s Get Connected page at vbschools.com/getconnected and find volunteer opportunities available in VBCPS schools. For more information about the Volunteers in Education program as a whole, visit the page to learn more about the service of VBCPS volunteers.