Monday, January 28, 2013

Meet Mariza Soliman, January 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Mariza !!!!!

Thank you for so many years of service to all the critters and all your help over the years!!! 

Mariza well remembers the "old days" and how far Rikki's has come.

She joined us in 2000 spending virtually all weekend every weekend for 6 or 7 years caring for the dogs, training many so they could move on to new homes, and generally helping with all kinds of events and projects and teaching teens how to train dogs.   And all those wonderful vegetarian Thanksgiving dinners !!!!

Mariza has served on our Adoption Committee since 2000, processing and researching adoption applications, doing home visits and taking animals to their new homes for introductory visits.  Her rate of successful adoptions has been outstanding with only one animal, that I can think of, ever adopted out being returned.  Many of the adoptive parents she screened still send in news of their best friends today.

For many years she served as our Events and Festival Director and brought positive recognition to Rikki's Refuge locally, in Northern Virginia, Charlottesville, Richmond, Front Royal and to areas several hours beyond.  She built a huge circle of events, many of which are still attended by Rikki's volunteers today.  She'd often travel, with her only assisting volunteer being her elderly mom, 2, 3 and 4 hours away to attend all day events, frequently taking dogs (and sometimes cats, rabbits and guinea pigs) which she'd find wonderful adoptive homes for.  She was very successful in engaging new volunteers that she’d meet at off site events and turning them into Rikki's Refuge volunteers.

Mariza was one of our earliest Tour Guides and has many fabulous stories about our animals to entertain visitors with.  Yesterday at the Tour Committee meeting we talked about listening to our Tour Guides tell their stories and getting them recorded to teach new Tour Guides some of the great old stories.  Mariza would certainly be one to record!

Having been with Rikki’s Refuge since the early primitive days, Mariza has had the opportunity to act in just abut every capacity possible ... from scooping cat boxes ... to assisting with design for animal housing ... to serious planning for Rikki’s future.   Intimate involvement with the past ... is a very valuable asset for the future.

Sadly, after suffering serious injuries, surgeries, lengthy physical therapy and continued healing to this day, topped with the responsibility of caring for her aging mom and economic down turns forcing her to take on a second job, she's been able to spend less time at the refuge in the last few years.   

Thankfully she's remained intimately involved in many areas of the refuge's operation and continues to take on all sorts of volunteer responsibilities, culminating in her position today of Volunteer Director.  As Volunteer Committee Chairhooman she's putting together a comprehensive new volunteer program that has lots of promise.

With her past history of engaging people at off site events, on site tours and work parties, then turning these people into responsible volunteers, I think she will succeed well beyond her hopes with the new structured volunteer program she’s developing.

Thank you Mariza !
    All of us at Rikki’s Refuge are very happy YOU were born !!
         Thank you Angela for raising a caring compassionate daughter !!!
Please join me in a GREAT BIG HUGE

Kerry Hilliard
Executive Director
Rikki’s Refuge

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