Mena Dodios: Volunteer Extraordinaire, Game Enthusiast, Empowerer of Youth

The difference one volunteer can make

It’s hard to quantify the impact a volunteer has on a nonprofit organization, but some try; according to Independent Sector (a nonprofit advocacy coalition), every volunteer hour is worth $23.07 to our community.

Ms. Filomena Dodios, Mena for short, has been coming in 5 days a week from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm since 2013. Conservative estimates indicate that, just by volunteering, Mena has given $150,000 worth of her time to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro! That doesn’t, of course, factor in the immeasurable impact that she has had on the lives and minds of youth attending the Inukai Family Club.

Connecting with youth through games and more

Ms. Mena is a member of the Multnomah County Foster Grandparent program, a national program connecting retirees with youth in the community to provide guidance and mentorship. Ms. Mena tries to “help the kids be profitable in their spare time, keep them active, and avoid bullying.”

Ms. Mena’s favorite place to help is the game room. She loves to play pool with youth. She admits, “I never knew how to play billiards, but because I wanted to help with the kids by not letting them get bored, I learned how to play. I also didn’t know how to play chess but I watched the kids play and started playing with them.” She loved learning because in her words, “it sharpened [her] mind.”

She has also left her footprint upon activities at the Club!

“In 2017, I found several coloring books, and I loved the pictures from the book, and thought the kids would like them. I asked the staff to copy the pictures, and I set all the pictures out on the game room table before the youth arrived. When they did, they were so excited and started coloring right then and there. We have continued that practice ever since.”

Volunteer Ms. Mena stands outside Inukai Family Club

The joy in Mena’s voice when she tells stories about the Club tells a much grander story about her as a person. Speaking with her, you can see her genuine love and care for the youth she teaches and learns from shine through.

Though this is only a small look at her, the impact that Ms. Mena has made at our Inukai Club cannot just be measured in dollars. No volunteer experience can. People get lost in the numbers; Ms. Mena is just one of the many people who give time at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area. She is a stalwart mentor; her time and dedication strengthens our community and empowers youth to pursue their Great Futures!