As National Volunteer Week (April 21-27) begins to wind down, we want to take the opportunity to highlight just a fraction of some of our amazing volunteers. In our previous blog, we discussed how volunteers contribute toward our mission, and listed ways for potential volunteers to get involved with Joseph Maley Foundation. Now, we’re introducing you to some of the real people behind those opportunities.

Introducing: Tiffany J. Preston

Tiffany J. Preston is an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, and volunteers with our Hope program as a speaker. Learn more about Tiffany’s volunteer efforts with the Foundation below.

How do you serve as a volunteer for Joseph Maley Foundation?
I am a federal prosecutor for the United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana, who specializes in internet crimes against children. I am also the Project Safe Childhood coordinator. As part of the DOJ PSC outreach program, I volunteer to speak to students and parents regarding Internet, Gaming, and Social Media Safety, and being a Good Digital Citizen.

Why do you volunteer for the Foundation? 
I care very deeply about protecting our children from predators and ensuring that they know how to keep themselves safe while enjoying their favorite activities online. I also care deeply about helping children make good choices when they create online content. Children should be kind and inclusive in person and online and remember that what they do online follows them forever. Through education, we can help children be safe and make good choices as they navigate the world online.

What impact do you see from your volunteering?
My sincere hope is that by educating parents and students about safe practices online we can prevent future internet crimes against children. I believe children leave these presentations feeling empowered and armed with information to keep themselves safe. Children also leave these presentations knowing that if something does go wrong online, and they feel sad, scared, confused, or uncomfortable, they should get help from a trusted adult. They shouldn’t navigate these issues alone.

Why should others volunteer with Joseph Maley Foundation?
Joseph Maley Foundation cultivates accepting, respectful, and inclusive communities—in person and online– through education and service programs for youth. Their message is so important for our global world in which people of all ages, races, backgrounds, and ethnicities communicate in person and online. Their message of inclusivity resonates with me. I firmly believe that regardless of ability, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, religion, socio-economic status, age, geography of origin, residence, sexual orientation, or disability, everyone should be included, celebrated, and safe.


Introducing: Ryan Turner

Ryan is a speaker for our Disability Awareness program, where he shares his lived experiences with youth, and answers their questions. Learn more about Ryan and his volunteer efforts with the Foundation below:

“Hello everyone! My name is Ryan Turner and I am profoundly deaf. I’m originally from Maryland, I moved to Indiana to work at Aspire Indiana Health, but now I’m working for 988 Videophone Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. I’m currently in the process of moving to Colorado, which I’m looking forward to! The only reason why I’m moving to Colorado is because I absolutely love to hike and camp with my deaf dog. Whenever I’m not hiking and camping, I like to study life philosophies, read books, play video games, watch movies/TV shows and hang out with friends.

I serve as a volunteer for Joseph Maley Foundation by going to schools to give presentations about deafness and my life as a Deaf person.

A colleague referred me to the Foundation as they were looking for more volunteers, and I thought it was a good opportunity to spread awareness about deafness, especially with the young children because they are our future!

It took me a little while for me to truly understand the impact from my presentations. Initially, I thought this is just an opportunity for the children to learn about the Deaf world. Although, over time, I started to realize that the children would reconsider their perspectives of the world, including themselves by accepting their ‘flaws’. Especially those children that have a disability.

Knowledge is power. I know this quote is cliche, but it is so commonly used for a reason – knowledge IS a power. Anyone who has opportunities to share their knowledge with children can easily make a profound impact on the children with very little effort.”


Introducing: Ridhi Dondeti

Ridhi is a senior at Carmel High School, and has volunteered as a Junior Board member throughout her time in high school. Ridhi was also an intern at the Foundation last summer.

How do you serve as a volunteer for Joseph Maley Foundation?
I have been a Junior Board member since my freshman year, and have helped the Junior Board by organizing events like our Game Night and creating promotional material as this past year’s Marketing Head and Executive Board Member. I have also volunteered to help at last year’s Road Mile; Run, Walk, Roll; and other Joseph Maley Foundation events.

Why do you volunteer for the Foundation?
I really resonate with the Foundation’s message of fostering an inclusive community through the Foundation’s service programs and events. Since I started volunteering for the Foundation, I learned about recognizing the strengths of those with all abilities and how we can help and learn from each other.

What impact do you see from your volunteering?
As a volunteer, I have the opportunity to meet so many people that I would not have been able to otherwise. These past four years as a volunteer have shown me how the Foundation has the unique ability to connect children and communities across the Greater Indianapolis area. It is truly fulfilling to witness and be a part of it.

Why should others volunteer with Joseph Maley Foundation?
Overall, it is a great experience! As I volunteered for the Foundation’s events, I had the opportunity to meet with Joseph Maley Foundation staff and people of all abilities in the community. I always have so much fun volunteering and attending events organized by the Foundation. very time I have volunteered for the Foundation, I have met new people and learned something new.

Introducing: Sue Peoni

Sue is Joseph Maley Foundation board member, and as she says: “a proud Purdue grad, married, mother of two (now grown) boys, grandmother of one!”

How do you serve as a volunteer for Joseph Maley Foundation?
I say yes to whatever anyone asks me to do! I’ve done a variety of things, which has been great! Mostly, I am an extra set of hands whenever needed for the Disability Awareness program. Before COVID, I was often the “second staff person” when we were in classrooms. I’ve helped with puppets and speaker presentations all over town.

I also have helped with the yearly Annual Campaign mailings, driven the beverage cart at the Golf Outing, and am a permanent “puppet-locator”, scouring the internet to find some more puppets for our programming!

So as you can see it truly is a little bit of everything!

Why do you volunteer for the Foundation?
I did a lot of diversity training at Lilly, and inclusion is incredibly important to me. The opportunity to influence how these kids see others before all of their biases are set in concrete is HUGE! On top of that, it is fun!v Our speakers are so impressive, and I learn something new every time I hear them. And the kids’ questions are so interesting and thoughtful — and occasionally hilarious! (We should have started writing a book years ago!)

What impact do you see from your volunteering?
As I said above, opening up these kids to the value of all people gives me great hope for the future. The world can seem a pretty ugly places most days, but when I hear the questions the kids ask and how kind they are, I really do have hope. And of course, all of the help with events and campaigns just keeps all this good work going.

Why should others volunteer with Joseph Maley Foundation?
There are certainly plenty of opportunities out there to volunteer, and people should seek out whatever they are excited about. The Foundation offers interesting work, and the fact that we don’t need people every day offers a lot of flexibility!