This fall, Elmer Wagner — retired college instructor of 35 years – will have given 13 years to WACAP’s mission. No, he’s not on the payroll, but staff have become happily accustomed to his jovial voice each week. WACAP’s been serving children in need of families for 36 years; Elmer’s been serving as a volunteer at WACAP for over one third of them.
WACAP depends on volunteers like Elmer. Last year, 107 volunteers donated 1,712 hours to helping WACAP reach children who continue to wait for families worldwide. Over his tenure, Elmer has donated well over 3,000 hours. He invests much of his time in the office supporting WACAP’s child assistance and sponsorship program, where he helps families stay connected to children they’re sponsoring and supports related recordkeeping.
Elmer reached out to WACAP in 1999 after reading an article in the Seattle times that detailed WACAP’s Peony Project, an effort funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help children in China. After learning more about WACAP’s firm commitment to children and the passion of its donors, Elmer asked to volunteer in what was then a much smaller office.
Staff appreciate Elmer’s multifaceted personality and the wonderful stories he brings from his travels and experiences. In addition to travelling and leading tour groups to various countries — which includes 10 trips to China — he still makes time to read the classics, most recently “War and Peace” in Russian … on his smartphone. As a former Russian language instructor, he has also supported WACAP with translation.
In over a decade, Elmer’s watched WACAP expand to new countries, grow a larger staff, and help thousands of children find homes. He makes the one to two hour drive into the office every week because, he says, “I think a lot of WACAP; it’s a wonderful place. And the people — they’re so dedicated, and they do a fantastic job. They’re a stimulus to the volunteers who come in every week.”
Elmer, we’d like to echo your words. Your dedication makes WACAP what it is. Our volunteers motivate our work and extend our reach every day. Thank you, Elmer, for 13 years … and counting.
To learn more WACAP’s volunteer opportunities, contact Lisa Yeager at LisaY@wacap.org.