A Heart for Military Families
Nationally, 95 cents of every dollar donated goes directly
to Operation Homefront’s mission.
Without the support, generosity and commitment of our volunteers, this
would be impossible.
Rowena Mateo-Sjovall first learned about Operation
Homefront-Florida after meeting Simone Velasquez Hoover, president of the Operation
Homefront-Florida, through a mutual contact. In July of 2009, Rowena relocated
to Florida and began her volunteer work.
When asked why she would volunteer so much of her time with
Operation Homefront-Florida, Rowena responded, “I have pride in what our
service members do for this country.
Because of that, I have strong admiration for the sacrifices that our
military families make so that their service member can focus on their
mission. OHFL gives me the opportunity
to work with these families especially in their time of need.”
She initially worked in Case Management. The first case she
sent through the Granting Committee gave her a sense of accomplishment and joy.
“I felt that I was able to help a truly deserving family
despite their circumstances,” said Mateo-Sjovall.
Case Managers respond to requests for assistance made by families.
Requests can range from meeting an outstanding utility bill to needing
furniture, all things Operation Homefront-Florida has granted in the past.
These requests are reviewed on a need basis and have to meet a certain criteria
set based on the type of assistance needed. This assistance is typically for
E-6 rank and below, but exceptions for special cases have been made. The
funding for these cases comes from individuals, corporate donors, fundraising
events, and businesses.
Case Management was just the beginning for Rowena. Because
of her diverse skills and desire to help
in any way possible, she was able to offer her experience in other positions.
She has served as a Volunteer Coordinator for Tampa events and also provided website
“There are so many aspects within the organization that one
can volunteer in,” said Rowena. “I personally don’t like getting stuck
in one job, and with OHFL I was able to do other jobs.”
Rowena has clocked thousands of volunteer hours in
her life, beginning at a young age.
“I grew up volunteering,” said Rowena. “Even when I
was working full time I volunteered.”
Before making the trek to Florida, Rowena worked as a
contractor at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She was the Program Manager for the Army
Family Action Plan. In addition, she worked as an adjunct Psychology instructor
at a nearby career college and a Corporate Trainer for a state university’s
extended education program. She has a background in Social Work and Training
Development, Design and Delivery.