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Cindee Tanuma knows how to keep her volunteers happy

Staff report
January 31. 2012 3:17PM
Cindee Tanuma 
Cindee Tanuma, 32
Home: Manchester
Birthplace: Lowell, Mass.
Family: Son, Andrew, turning 3 in April; husband, Matthew, elementary school teacher in Hudson
High school: Plymouth Regional High School
College/post grad degrees: B.A., high honors, Goucher College in Towson, Md., major in relational psychology, minor in German; Professional Volunteer Management Certificate, Carrol Community College
Current job: Executive director, Community Caregivers of Greater Derry
Key past positions held: Americorps member - governor's program, Volunteer Maryland, placement as volunteer coordinator at REACH Caregivers, Hagerstown, Md.
Volunteer activities: Resettlement assistance for refugees through St. Anne's / St. Augustine Parish in Manchester, Public Service Sector Employee Campaign Committee Member for the Granite United Way, nonprofit advisory committee for Congressman Frank Guinta, and co-chair of Derry Area Senior Health Fair
Most admired person (outside your family): High school guidance counselor Gail Wiltse
Key current professional challenge: Matching and assessing new volunteers quickly enough. Demand for volunteer opportunities is tremendous. Making it a priority over all my other duties. I need to clone myself. I suppose this is a good problem to have.
Last major achievement: Planning and executing a bridal shower, bachelorette party and maid of honor duties for my best friend Amy's wedding this summer while holding down full-time job and raising a two-year-old.
Biggest problem facing New Hampshire: Not enough funding or staffing to meet the overwhelming demand for the Choices For Independence program (Medicaid waivered in-home care) coupled with a moratorium of new nursing home beds.
Favorite place in New Hampshire: Top of Pine Mountain in Gorham
What book are you reading now? “Revolution” by Jennifer Donnelly and “The Keepsake” by Tess Gerritsen (one for bedtime, one on CD in car)
How do you relax? Walking with husband and son along the bike path near West Side Skate Rink.
What websites do you visit most often? Embassassingly enough, the local funeral home's website to monitor which of my constituents we have lost. My organization's website to update, www.comcaregivers.org
Favorite TV show, radio station or musical artist: Masterpiece Theatre


MANCHESTER - If you run an agency that's dependent on volunteers, as does Cindee Tanuma, you have to know how to keep them happy.

You do so by giving them choices, said Tanuma, executive director of Community Caregivers of Greater Derry. Her agency links up 460 volunteers with 340 elderly, disabled or otherwise incapacitated people who need help with shopping, doctor visits, housekeeping, companionship and other tasks.

'It's all about giving them enough options, finding something to intrigue them,' Tanuma said about her volunteers.

If it's done correctly, the volunteer feels as if Community Caregivers is doing him a favor, she said.

'It's all about how you spin something,' Tanuma said.

As 32, Tanuma has years of experience as a volunteer. She took off a year after high school to travel and sing with Up With People. Once out of college, she trained with Americorps to be a volunteer coordinator.

She's been at her current job for eight years, about six as the executive director. Along with her job and her family - which includes a 2-year-old - Tanuma finds time to volunteer herself.

She helps to find and deliver slightly used furniture and other home goods to refugee families in Manchester.

'We've delivered everything from king-sized beds, to bureaus to televisions,' she said.


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