Volunteer Spotlight: Sharnikya Howard

“Sharnikya Howard brings a real sense of joy and thoughtfulness to all she does at Calvary,” said Elaine Johnson, Senior Manager of Education and Programs. We are excited to share Sharnikya’s reflections on her time spent with the women at Calvary over many years of service.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a mom and a program manager. I love community work. I started serving in the community with my grandmother when I was little and started leading community outreach efforts in the DMV after coming home from college.

How are you involved with Calvary Women’s Services?

I started volunteering with Calvary over 15 years ago as a meal volunteer, coming and volunteering by myself. Then I sent out a text message to all of my friends and asked them to join me for lunch. After that, I started serving meals with a group of friends and have been doing it ever since. I helped launch the first Spa Day at Calvary, which we now do twice a year, including virtually during the pandemic. Most recently, I was a table captain for this year’s Hope Awards

What do you like most about your work with Calvary?

It is bittersweet. We get to know the women, and it can be sad when someone leaves, but I love the success stories. I like being part of the women’s journey.

What has surprised you most about volunteering with Calvary?

When you volunteer, naturally, you think you are showing up to give. I have gained so much more than I ever could have given to the women at Calvary. When we talk with the women, we learn. One day when I was there, a resident said, “Ladies, remember, let joy be your got to emotion.” This quote has stuck with me and is a good reminder that you show up to encourage and leave inspired.

What has been your most memorable experience at Calvary?

Our very first spa day. The tears were flowing, seeing women’s faces when they came down and saw the program space transformed into a day spa. It was overwhelming how supportive women were of each other. The excitement as women got their makeup done and lifted each other up is something that I will never forget.

What would you tell someone thinking about getting involved with Calvary?

Calvary is a special place where women in transition change their lives. It is where women begin to become whole. It is where you have an opportunity to leave a mark and a part of your legacy on every life that you touch.

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