My Place Teen Center Volunteer Spotlight: Lisa Stiffler

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Lisa Stiffler has been a volunteer at MPTC for seven years.

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I am a sister, daughter, aunt, mom, grams, nurse, friend and woman of faith. I have lived in Maine my entire life and have two beautiful girls, two grandsons, two grand dogs, a loving fiancée and wonderful family and friends.

I’ve dedicated my life to helping others and know that I get more out of it than I probably give.

Simply making someone smile daily brings me great joy, whether it is at MPTC, the streets of greater Portland, at work, a grocery store or where ever.

I love positive, spirited, fun people. I try to surround myself with others like this but tend to enjoy working with those who are more of the underdog and a bit less fortunate, because I feel they need it the most.

I like sharing my words of wisdom, because we all have a story. My story was not always pretty, and at times, painful, but by sharing that story, I’ve met so many kind, lovely people.

I’ve always said life is an interesting journey. If you can imagine it, you can dream it, if you can dream it, you can become it! Have goals and don’t give up believing.

Q: Why do you volunteer?

A: Simply, it fills my heart!

Q: Why do you volunteer at MPTC?

A: Westbrook was my work community for years and spending time at My Place Teen Center gave me the opportunity to give back to this great city and be part of a center that clearly changes lives.

Although, I work in a neighboring city and took a small break, I missed it and felt driven to return because of what (President and CEO) Donna (Dwyer) and her team do for these teens every day. They work miracles. They make a difference. They love their jobs. It feels like an extended family and the kids are amazing.

Whether it be helping teens with homework, teaching life skills, mentoring, playing a game of pool, taking a dance/music class, helping with social, personal or school issues or providing healthy snacks and meals, I love being part of this safe haven and making them feel important. Their smiles say it all. MPTC cares.

Q: What have you learned through your experiences at MPTC?

A: I’ve learned that things I take for granted, such as feeling loved, safe, having a home, food on the table, a place to sleep, shower, etc., are not always available to teens in the greater Portland community. The problem is much bigger than I thought, so having this free, nonprofit agency central to many is imperative to helping our teens succeed.

Q: Can you describe a MPTC interaction or event that was particularly meaningful and that you will never forget?

A: There are too many to mention, but I have seen the growth in kids who come regularly.

One of the teens is now a full-time employee. Who better to work with our teens than a teen who once was making bad choices, and understands?

Two siblings, who I’ve know for years, have a fun, comfortable and friendly gathering place to call home after school, while their parents work. I’ve even skied with them. I love seeing them weekly and if they aren’t there, wonder if they are OK.