Announcing the Nominees for Our 2016 Thank-a-Volunteer Campaign (Part I)

A young man wearing a t-shirt that says volunteer on it.

This April, we launched our 2016 Thank-a-Volunteer campaign to give family and youth workers a chance to recognize amazing volunteers in their programs. For three years, we’ve offered this opportunity during National Volunteer Week, an annual event hosted by Points of Light to engage people in their communities.

We received so many nominations for this year's campaign that we decided to share them across two articles. (We’ll publish the second set of nominations on our homepage tomorrow.)

Here is the first group of 2016 nominees!

John R. & Boyd A., nominated by Bill Wilson Center, Santa Clara, California

John and Boyd have volunteered with the Bill Wilson Center for almost 10 years. They come every Tuesday and some weekends to work tirelessly on whatever facilities project needs to be done. For example, John and Boyd have adjusted and maintained all of our irrigation at each of our 14 transitional houses to lower our water consumption. They built a wall at our drop-in center to give clients on the computer some privacy. They built playhouses donated from Habitat for Humanity, and delivered them to our maternity and parenting houses. John and Boyd repaired every fire door in our crisis shelter, and they single-handedly built the office for the facilities manager, which included rewiring the entire facilities building. This is only a short list of all they do. They are humble, efficient, and great teachers. John and Boyd’s dedication to being positive role models and supporting the mission of Bill Wilson Center are examples to us all. We can never thank them enough for all that they do.

Sarah E., nominated by Compeer Rochester, Rochester, New York

Compeer Rochester matches disadvantaged youth struggling with poverty, mental illness, and/or parental incarceration with adult community volunteers for a one-to-one mentoring relationship. Sarah is an amazing Compeer volunteer because she displays fearlessness, dedication, and compassion in her friendship with her mentee. Ever since Sarah has been matched, she has exceeded the expectations we set for all our volunteer mentors. She maintains consistency in the friendship and exercises amazing techniques when addressing problematic situations without crossing any boundaries. And Sarah is doing a phenomenal job keeping her friendship as genuine as possible. She has even told us that her mentee will be her ring bearer at her wedding in June.

Sue C., nominated by Compeer Rochester, Rochester, New York

Compeer Rochester matches adults living with a mental health condition to a volunteer who can form a positive friendship. Sue has gone above and beyond what it takes to be a volunteer and a friend. She and her Compeer friend have become very close. Sue has taught her match about the importance of healthy eating and an overall healthy lifestyle. She also says that she has learned a lot from her friend, and that it is important to have that two-way communication. Sue has shown Compeer how to be a great volunteer through being a great friend, but she is also very dedicated to the mission of breaking the stigma [around mental health] and finding more volunteers to help the cause. Sue took initiative and set up a lunch and a blog for 40-plus people in her company to learn more about Compeer and get the word out to others.

Vanna W., nominated by Compeer Rochester, Rochester, New York

The CompeerCORPS program works with local veterans who are seeking support and friendship from a fellow veteran. Vanna lives a very busy life of her own, but finds the time to reach out and be there for both of her matches. Vanna truly enjoys the conversations she has with each of them and wishes more people could be a part of the helping community. She demonstrates the importance of friendship by keeping her distance when she feels it is needed, but stepping in when it is important.

Tonya H., nominated by Covenant House Texas, Houston

Tonya has dedicated her time and resources to the homeless youth of Covenant House Texas for more than 10 years. Whether it’s collecting and assembling hygiene kits or hosting a holiday party for 60 of our kids, Tonya gets her family and the community around her involved. Many of her friends have helped her conduct art classes or treat a kid to a face painting session or serve nachos and pizza at our Fall Party. Her youngest son has mentored our kids and her husband and oldest son participated in our “Sleep Out: Executive Edition” fundraising event. Even after personal tragedy struck her family in 2015, Tonya continues to make Covenant House Texas a top priority and does it all to simply put a smile on the face of our kids living in the shelter. In addition to working with the residents, Tonya has held most of the leadership positions of the volunteer Women’s Guild, which hosts events throughout the year for residents and supporters. This includes the annual black ­tie gala, which Tonya and her husband, Hank, chaired in 2014, raising more than $575,000. The staff and youth of Covenant House Texas are thankful for Tonya, her family, and the volunteers she inspires for their strength, kindness and generosity of spirit.

Beatty W., nominated by Covenant House Texas, Houston

Beatty has been volunteering at Covenant House Texas for more than 25 years. From serving on the board to hosting multiple parties for the youth and fundraising more than $8,000 just in the past year, Beatty has shown immense love and dedication for homeless youth. She not only does all of these activities while juggling a busy personal life, she does so with a loving smile and a caring hand. Her mission is to provide our residents in our Rights of Passage Program a sense of normalcy by sharing opportunities that other kids their age experience. For example, Beatty and the youth spend afternoons exploring Houston’s fine museums and even take in an Astros game every now and then. Quarterly pancake or omelet breakfasts are not unusual. Beatty never stops promoting awareness of and support for Covenant House and has recruited runners for our “Run For A Reason” program, sleepers for our “Sleep Out: Executive Edition” fundraiser, and members of our Young Associates Group. She was honored by the Women’s Guild at this year's annual gala for her outstanding service and commitment to our organization's mission. 

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