April 19-25 is National Volunteer Week, and while we currently can’t be with our volunteers in person, they’ve definitely been in our thoughts! Every year, over three hundred active volunteers donate thousands of hours of their time to Historic Oakland Foundation. Our volunteers come from every background, and they each give their knowledge, abilities, experience, and enthusiasm to bring Oakland to life for our visitors. Whether leading tours, greeting the public in the Visitors Center, helping out our Preservation and Gardens teams, or working one of our many events, Oakland owes everything it accomplishes to its amazing volunteer corp.
This year we celebrated the life of Oakland’s biggest supporter, Mary Woodlan, who grew and shaped the volunteer program into the family that it is today. Her memorial service in January was one of the last times that we were able to come together as a group, and it is uncertain when we will be able to meet in person again. As we navigate through the COVID-19 outbreak and all of its challenges, we at Oakland are thankful that we have our volunteers for more than the work they do towards helping us achieve our mission. We’re thankful for our volunteers for the amazing support system they have provided us as our friends and as members of our own families. From phone calls to emails and Zoom meet-ups, we are finding ways to be there for one another, united not only by our love for a historic cemetery but also by our love for the community that formed around it. We’re all getting through this together yet apart, and can’t wait until we’re back, ready to run like hell, enlighten not frighten, illuminate history, and all the other ways that we celebrate Oakland and each other.