The role of the cook is an essential one. Food nourishes the body, making incredible work possible. The cook creates human fuel, and keeps morale up. Cooks power their team, they motivate, they promote and they catalyze greatness.
Yvonne Garcia-Bardwell has been just such a cook. She has volunteered her time to cook for staff and participants of Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Adaptive Adventures and recently S.T.A.R.S. (STeamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports) in the past. Why did she do it? Because “helping builds a sense of community, sense of belonging, and a sense of family.”
Yvonne is a “fireball.” She has passion and motivation so powerful and potent that it energizes the people around her. She creates nourishment through her actions as much as through food. She has a history of it. Volunteerism and service began with two years in AmeriCorp where she led teams of 18 - 24 year olds on missions to benefit nonprofits all across the United States. AmeriCorp sent Yvonne to New Orleans and Biloxi where she and her crews helped in ongoing rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Even though she had already been giving back, seeing the decimated neighborhoods, the flood damage, and the union of persons from all races, creeds and backgrounds struck an infinitely resonant chord.
Now, Yvonne Garcia-Bardwell is the Community Relations Manager at Denver Botanic Gardens, responsible for diversifying the Gardens’ constituency by establishing and strengthening relationships with community organizations across the Front Range. Her multicultural orientation has developed through not only extensive world travel but also significant work and volunteer experiences as well as an academic focus on international and Spanish-language marketing. Yvonne served two years with AmeriCorps, first as a Team Leader for NCCC, and then as a VISTA for Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. Her experiences that built the foundation for her commitment to giving back to the communities around her. And her primary joys--outside her career at Denver Botanic Gardens--remain volunteering and cooking.