Volunteer Highlight: Paul Savides

This month we would like to highlight Paul Savides. He is currently a Member of the Affordable Housing Task Force & Training Teams Group. Read on to see what he has done in JONAH so far!

A little about Paul:

My wife Peggy and I have lived on our small farm in rural Eau Claire County since 1977, where we raised dairy goats, chickens, steers, pigs, and sheep. We retired from farming life in 2006 but continue to raise our own vegetables in a large fenced garden. We have two daughters, Andrea and Betsy. Andrea lives with us, and Betsy lives in the Waukesha area with her husband Adam and their three children. I retired from my teaching career at the Mondovi School District in 2006, where I taught middle school and high school English for 27 years. I have been active in JONAH since its founding in 2007.

  1. What is your favorite thing about JONAH?

My favorite thing about JONAH is the opportunity it has given me to meet and work with so many people over the years. From JONAH leaders and organizers to political and institutional stakeholders to those in the affected community, I have learned to listen carefully and respectfully to hear and understand each person’s unique story and point of view. 

2. How did you get involved with JONAH?

I got involved in JONAH at the very beginning, when my friend Jill Christopherson (JONAH’s first president) invited me to attend a meeting with WISDOM organizers to talk and learn about TADs (Treatment Alternatives and Diversions), which led to JONAH’s founding and its early work to help create the first Treatment Court in Eau Claire County.

3. What have you been a part of in your time with JONAH?

I’ve served various roles in JONAH over the years: Core Team Chair at First Congregational UCC, vice president and president of JONAH, member and leader of the Economic Justice Task Force, JONAH Leadership Training leader, and co-founder and core team member of the Affordable Housing Task Force.

4. Why do you stay involved with JONAH?

I remain involved in JONAH for two primary reasons. First I see the amazing and lasting impact that JONAH and its task forces have had in our community. We do work that most others do not, which is to go to the root causes of the problems many of our neighbors are facing, form coalitions of stakeholders, and work to change unjust systems and policies. Second, I am called by my faith and values to work in the world for the benefit of all my neighbors, and especially to work with those who are most vulnerable and in need.

5. What are you looking forward to?

I’m most looking forward to the launching of two new non-profits with which I’m working: the Eau Claire Tenant Landlord Resource Center and the Day Resource Center in Eau Claire. Both are desperately needed and will make big impacts in helping those looking for affordable housing, those who may be in danger of eviction, and those who are currently unhoused and need to connect to resources and have a comfortable, friendly, and safe place to be during the day.

6. What are your personal interests?

I have many hobbies and interests: camping and hiking, golfing and maintaining my 9-hole prairie golf course, reading, travel, music, and spending time with my family and friends.

7. What is your favorite local business to support?

Some of the local businesses I like to support are The Goat Coffee House, Acoustic Café, Parr’s Hardware, Chilson Subaru, Bijou Bistro, and Aldi Grocery Store. Though it isn’t really a local business, I especially like to support the L.E. Phillips Public Library.

Who do you nominate for the next volunteer highlight?

I would like to nominate Michelle Pride as the next JONAH volunteer.