Volunteer is paid in tears, hugs, smiles
Sheila Hickman is committed to helping those in need.
She has volunteered hundreds of hours over the years to help women and children in the community.
Hickman, manager of web operations at Insperity, was named the company's volunteer of the year for 2010.
She also serves on the board of directors at FamilyTime, which provides outreach programs and services to families and individuals in crisis through counseling, crisis intervention, information, referral and shelter.
Although the situations she encounters may be heartbreaking, Hickman said the smiles, tears, hugs and thanks she and other volunteers receive are her best rewards.
"It is at that moment when your heart melts," Hickman said, "and you know you would do it all again and more."
The FamilyTime Christmas Store is one of Hickman's projects.
Each year the store is filled with donated gifts. In 2009, Hickman volunteered 162 hours of her time at the store. In 2010, she donated 47 hours of her time.
Volunteers, dressed as elves, assist the sheltered mothers and children as they pick out presents, Hickman said. Mothers are overcome with emotion, Hickman said, as the gifts are the only ones their children get for Christmas.
"Most of these women will tell you they were dreading Christmas because their children won't understand why Santa Claus didn't bring them a gift," she said.
As the executive director of FamilyTime, Judy Cox works with Hickman.
"Sheila has organized several fundraisers at Insperity to raise money for the FamilyTime Christmas Store," Cox said. "Ever since she has taken on the store, donations have doubled. We appreciate all she does to give our clients and their children a wonderful Christmas."
In July 2010, Hickman organized a night at the circus for the residents of The Door, a domestic abuse shelter under the auspices of FamilyTime. Hickman led a drive to provide tickets, dinner, party favors, a clown and autograph notebooks for the children
Laurie Hiett, senior corporate volunteer coordinator at Insperity, said Hickman's commitment to better the lives of women dealing with domestic abuse is evident in her volunteer efforts at The Door.
"She made it her mission to assist them in raising awareness about this delicate subject matter" Hiett said.
Hickman volunteers for other Insperity events as well, including the Humble Area Assistance Ministry's Angel Tree that provides gifts to children of HAAM clients, school supply drives, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation drive and a teddy bear drive for Texas Children's Hospital.
Hiett said Hickman is an example of an employee who carves out time to help others in need.
"Shelia has embraced this value through the years in her passion to give back to her community." Hiett said. "She is conscientious and committed to enhancing an individual's quality of life, because she cares."