Elvira Avina became a Unity Shoppe volunteer at the age of twelve. In just a few months she became the first “Youth Volunteer Coordinator” as she taught other children how to help low-income families with groceries, clothing and school supplies! By the time she was hired in 1994, she had worked with thousands of children as they learned valuable job skills, how to help their community and their low income neighbors. Elvira loved her job and became an excellent student and teacher as she learned how to operate a non-profit charity.
Her determination to do the best job possible for all those that needed help was always very evident in her desire to learn new skills, so the agency could help more people with the best services possible. She looked for ways to improve reports, client & volunteer records and how the agency could help the clients of other charities throughout the County of Santa Barbara. She worked with families, children, the disabled, seniors and thousands of volunteers that helped to collect and distribute food, clothing, educational information, furniture and all the things that made the Unity Shoppe a life-line for so many. Everyone involved with the work was changed forever when “poverty, struggle, action and hope” helped reduce their chances of a future of welfare dependency and homeless situations.
Today, she manages Unity’s digital archives and provides a network of technical support to the entire staff. As the Administrative Director, she is responsible for office staff, payroll, records, statistical analysis, grant writing, human resources, and purchasing. Over the years she has helped the agency develop many new ways to keep better and more statistical records. In addition she provides support for Unity’s many fund-raising events, works with KEYT-TV staff to produce the annual Unity Telethon, and also creates many brochures, posters, booklets, and reports that reflect excellent graphic and technical design and is an important member of “Unity’s Management Team.”
Elvira has three sons and two daughters who have all been active volunteers at the “Unity Shoppe Free Store.” Elvira enjoys traveling, dancing and working on computers and feels her life will be complete with the adoption of a family dog and a trip around the world! She is an amazing person and loves her life.