The Results Are in for Our 2015 Thank-a-Volunteer Campaign

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This April, we launched our second Thank-a-Volunteer campaign to give family and youth workers the opportunity to recognize outstanding volunteers in their programs. Giving agencies the chance to say "thanks" seems like a fitting complement to Point of Light's National Volunteer Week, which asks volunteers to share their stories to encourage others to serve.

Here are the 2015 nominations.

Josephine “Jo” D., nominated by The Connection Youth Services Program at Livingston Family Center, Howell, Michigan

A retired high school teacher and counselor, Jo has been by our side since our doors opened. She works tirelessly every year to raise funds for our emergency youth shelter, ensures our youth have gifts to open on holidays, and is always the first person to bring food when our pantry is running low. Jo is skilled at rallying our community members for our annual fundraiser and has assisted in raising over $100,000 in donations over the past 14 years. Not only is Jo a partner in fundraising, she is one of our best outreach workers—continuously informing our community about our services and referring youth and families in crisis. We are truly thankful for her, and we believe she is the textbook example of an amazing volunteer.

Anne S., nominated by National Runaway Safeline, Chicago

Since 2008, Anne S. has volunteered more than 600 hours in Chicago’s 1-800-RUNAWAY call center assisting runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth and their families through the National Runaway Safeline’s crisis hotline. In the past six years, Anne has reconnected 29 youth with their families through the NRS Home Free Program, a collaboration with Greyhound Lines, Inc. Anne speaks multiple languages while advocating for youth and searching for resources. She joined the board of directors in 2010, and served as the chair from 2012 to 2014. Her commitment and compassion to helping youth makes her worthy of the title “Volunteer of the Year”!

Patrick M., nominated by Compeer Rochester, Rochester, New York

Compeer Rochester matches disadvantaged youth--who are struggling with poverty, mental illness, and/or parental incarceration--with adult community volunteers for a one-to-one mentoring relationship. Patrick was matched with Keyon, a 12-year-old boy being raised by his grandmother. When Keyon and Patrick first began visiting, things progressed slowly, and it took Keyon time to open up. Patrick showed up for visits week after week to earn Keyon’s trust. Patrick and Keyon are now in their third year as a Compeer match, and Keyon is not so quiet anymore. In fact, he is now the first one to speak up and tell Patrick about what’s happened since they last met. Patrick says that not only has the match helped Keyon a lot, but it has given Patrick a real feeling that he has helped someone who needed it and that he has made a difference.

Margo S., nominated by The House, Grand Junction, Colorado

Margo has been volunteering at The House for over two years now and has left us a bit in awe. She has mentored two different teens (and is still mentoring one of them). She was personally responsible for the recent interior decorating and furnishing of The House. She is our very first volunteer to become a member of the board of directors for Karis, Inc., the nonprofit that oversees The House. And she has proven to be one of our most consistent and reliable on-shift volunteers. Margo has spent countless hours showing teens how to cook and is spearheading an effort to establish a weekly food community group with our homeless teens. To quote an executive staff member, when Margo is in the building, "we all just breathe a sigh of relief."

Gene S., nominated by The House, Grand Junction, Colorado

A volunteer at The House since its inception in May 2012, Gene intentionally carves time out of his busy hospital work schedule to invest in teens at our program. Apart from being one of our most reliable shift volunteers, Gene has been personally responsible for nearly all maintenance and facility repairs that have been needed inside The House for the last three years. Perhaps above all, Gene has invested himself in The House Bike Shop, where teens can receive training, mentorship and bicycle repair services. The shop gives teens an opportunity to build skills, develop a passion, and build a mentoring, positive relationship with a man who has proven to be one of our kindest, most committed and most loving volunteers.

Becky S., nominated by The House, Grand Junction, Colorado

I have never seen Becky on shift, no matter how chaotic it is, without a smile, a great attitude, and a resolve to sow beauty and life into each teen in front of her, even if it's just for the moment. Becky has proven that she can sow long-term good as well. She was our very first mentor in our mentoring program, which was established a year ago. She has been mentoring a teen alumnus throughout that year, invested countless hours in that teen, and modeled for the rest of us what it means to devote oneself to those in need. Becky is close to becoming one of our "Jacket Volunteers," volunteers who have accrued over 500 hours of service. This is a remarkable achievement that offers only a glimpse of what Becky has offered The House and its teens.

Samieh F., nominated by Somerset Home for Temporarily Displaced Children, Bridgewater, New Jersey

Samieh has been a mentor for our youth at Somerset Home through our Pathways independent living skills program. She provides group mentoring, offering advice and guidance on jobs, banking and other important life skills. She has also served on various committees for our events and programs and enlists her colleagues to volunteer. When asked about one of her memorable experiences as a volunteer, Samieh said, “My very best experience was when one of the teens told me, ‘You really care.'"

Teresa B., Julie D., and Vivian F., nominated by ACH Child and Family Services, Fort Worth, Texas

Teresa B., Julie D., and Vivian F. are three wonderful ladies who share a vision to make Fort Worth a safer place for all children to thrive. They have various years of involvement with ACH, but all three have done so much. Teresa and Vivian co-chaired ACH’s largest fundraiser in 2014, raising over $275,000 for our residential programs. Julie has provided dinner for our behavioral care program each week for several years, as well as Christmas gifts for the children. This year, they are working with ACH staff to form the ACH Women’s Auxiliary, which will support abused and at-risk children through service opportunities and advocacy in the community. They hosted an information session in February and have already recruited 59 members. We would like to thank them for their hard work in creating so many advocates for our children and families through this group!

Are you looking to develop the oustanding volunteers of tomorrow? We've got six ways to make service learning part of your youth- and family-serving program.

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