FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 23, 2014
United Way honors 96 nominees at the annual Community Volunteer Awards
Ninety-six nominees were recognized for their outstanding efforts to improve their community at this year’s United Way Community Volunteer Awards. Thirteen awards were presented to individuals, groups, businesses and organizations for having the greatest impact in our community and , making Dane County the very best it can be.
“United Way understands the valuable work volunteers provide in our community. These nominees give upwards of 45,492 hours of their time each year. The monetary value of this time is $1,025,845 million in our community.” said Leslie Ann Howard, United Way of Dane County President and CEO, “By providing so many hours of support and serving in so many roles within organizations our community has become better educated, safer and healthier.” Hosts Steve Goldberg, CUNA Mutual Group, and Amber Noggle and Greg Jeschke, WKOW Channel 27, presented the awards at The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, Monday, June 23.
The Goodman Gemstone Youth Award was awarded to fourteen year-old Johnetta Walters who has been volunteering with her mother from the young age of 5 in the areas of Education, Safety and Health. She gives her time and talent to a variety of organizations in Dane County. But ensuring families in need have access to healthy food is at the top of her list. For the last nine years, she has been assembling Christmas and Thanksgiving baskets for her church and the Allied Drive community. Monthly, she makes food baskets for families in need and assists in the family dinners for the Allied Area Partnership Towards Recovery. In addition, for the past seven years she has assembled back packs for students in need. In school, she is involved as a reading buddy and a member of student council. And, the past four years, she has shared the holiday spirit, serving as a volunteer for the YWCA Christmas Dinner. Walters received a $1,000 scholarship and $1,000 to be donated to one of the charities where she volunteers.
Also, this year’s Mike McKinney Award (named for the long-time Madison newscaster, volunteer, mentor and Community Volunteer Awards emcee who passed away in 2006) went to Dr. Ronald Diamond. A panel of judges, all volunteers themselves, selected Diamond for his dedication to the areas of Safety and Health. Dr. Diamond started Safe Haven, a free mental health clinic serving Porchlight residents, homeless individuals, and Madison’s underserved since 1996. Dr. Diamond is a regular volunteer at the clinic as well as the clinic’s medical director. Diamond received $1,000 to be donated to the charity for which he volunteers.
Over 600 people attended this unique event. The Community Volunteer Awards were generously presented by CUNA Mutual Group and WKOW Channel 27, sponsored by Dean & St. Mary’s, Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, and Physicians Plus; with award sponsorship by the Business Volunteer Network, Dane County Administrators of Volunteer Services, and the Robert A. and Irwin D. Goodman Foundation.
United Way Community Volunteer Awards is an opportunity to showcase the benefits to our community from volunteer involvement. Leading by example, the nominees and winners at the CVA event encourage more people to engage in their community. Volunteerism is up in Dane County, but more volunteers are needed to help solve our community’s most pressing issues identified within our Agenda for Change. Anyone interested in joining these amazing volunteers in making an impact in our community can contact the United Way Volunteer Center at 608-246-4380 or online at VolunteerYourTime.org
ADDITIONAL 2014 HONOREES
Business Volunteer Network Award
Total Administrative Services Corporation (TASC) encourages volunteerism as part of the core mission of its organization. They strive to create a “fun and caring community” here in Dane County. In addition to providing all full time and part time employees with 32 hours of paid volunteer time, TASC also coordinates quarterly volunteer events, provides on-site volunteer activities and organizes quarterly donation drives. Some of their activities/volunteer projects include collecting blankets for families of domestic abuse, assembling hygiene kits for formerly homeless families, holding clothing drives for a variety of local non-profits, and delivering meals to home bound seniors. Jackie Anderson, who nominated TASC said, “TASC employees take great pride and ownership in their volunteer work and many have continued their commitment on their own personal time.”
Community Volunteer Youth Award
Seventeen year old Andrew Silver has been growing his volunteer duties and leadership since the age of eight. He has grown up volunteering with Wisconsin Public Television supporting their many events, live auctions, and membership drives, often leading and teaching other volunteers, many of whom are his senior. His continued volunteer support ensures Wisconsin Public Television’s initiatives are successful, like Wisconsin Bookworms Program which has given almost 620,000 books to 73,000 children since 1998. Megan Kenney, who nominated Andrew, says, “We are beyond grateful to Andrew for the variety of jobs he has undertaken and his willingness to put in long hours to support the mission of Wisconsin Public Television.”
Community Volunteer Award
Judy Scheiddegger has been volunteering for the Pregnancy Helpline since it was established in Dane County to provide support for new mothers to keep babies healthy as they grow, learn and prepare for school. In her 30 years of volunteer service coordinating the Baby Care Package Program, she has prepared approximately 2,500 Baby Care Packages filled with blankets, clothes, bottles, and a gift for the mother. She has been involved since the start of the program. While she has spent countless hours doing hands-on work, she has also been behind the scenes planning and organizing the programs as a Board Member and Co-Director for several years. Alissa Hirscher, who nominated her, says, “Judy’s work is woven throughout our history. Her impact is so great it’s hard to fully understand how many lives she’s touched.”
Community Volunteer Award
The Jail Library Group volunteers provide a valuable and important service within the Dane County Jail System. One of the goals of the Jail Library Group is to locate and share, useful community resources that will help inmates and their families address their needs. Their Kids’ Connection Program allows inmates to read to their child via video recordings. Maintaining this parent-child contact is important to the family’s well-being, as well as their success after they are back in the community. Studies have shown that inmates who improve their education and literacy skills have a lower level of recidivism, and are more likely to find employment, which is a key element of Journey Home. A recent note from an inmate read, “For the Library: I’m trying to be a better person and I think you are the ones who can help me.”
Distinguished Service Award
Gloria Meyer reaches out to 1,200 households on a daily basis. Through her volunteer leadership as president of The Prairie Hills Neighborhood Association, she keeps all of her local community members informed and connected. Award nominator Sharon Brainerd Whitney says, “Gloria is always seeking ways to improve the lives of all neighborhood residents with a concern towards residents of color. She gives 150 percent of herself to her neighborhood to keep the residents acquainted and communicating to work together on goals for neighborhood improvement. Writing grant applications for services for residents, initiating efforts for children’s summer programs, and incorporating valuable guest speakers as she chairs monthly board meetings is all in a day’s work for Gloria.”
Distinguished Service Award
Betty Scott has been active for eight years as Transportation Coordinator of Supporting Active Independent Lives, or SAIL. In that role, she coordinates volunteer rides for SAIL members, helping older adults remain independent and active in their community. Nominator Charlene Malueg says “Betty’s commitment to her role allows other members to continue to be active and remain social, going to events that they may otherwise be unable to attend. She ensures accurate information is shared between rider and driver every time a request is made, adding another tactic to keep seniors independent in their own homes. At more than 90 years young, Betty does all of this organizing, staying positive and calm regardless of the situation. And, much of her volunteer work is done working evenings and weekends.”
Distinguished Service Award
Daryl Sherman was nominated by the Madison Senior Center. He is an active volunteer within multiple community organizations throughout the community one of which is the Madison Senior Center where Daryl has served over 15 years including his current role as a member of their Advisory Council. He also has served the agency as National Accreditation Committee Co-Chair and Mentor for Edgewood College Nursing Program. Describing how Daryl gives himself in volunteering, nominator Rick Orton said, “For Daryl, it is not enough to know someone, but also making a part of his life available to others.”
Distinguished Service Award – Lifetime Achievement
Jim Latimer has been volunteering for 33 years with no sign of stopping. During his decades of work with the Capitol City Band Association as music director/conductor of the VFW Volunteer Band, he programs and conducts a band of volunteer community musicians in up to 20 free concerts each year. Jim’s volunteer work doesn’t stop when the music ends. He edits and produces video recordings of concerts that broadcast on five community access television stations. He also works with the Parks department to allow easy access for those who are less able to commute. If commuting isn’t an option, he works with activity directors of care facilities and senior centers to bring live music to them. His nominator Nancy Riesch Flannery said, “Jim is just an ordinary man who finds in his heart the courage to do extraordinary things.”
Distinguished Service Award – Outstanding Nonprofit
Catholic Charities has provided services to residents of Dane County for over 65 years. Their focus on volunteers as a core function can be tracked back 25 years ago when the Respite Care Program was formed, where volunteers continue to provide respite to unpaid, very overwhelmed family caregivers. With over a thousand volunteers currently serving, volunteers lead other volunteers with “Train the Trainer” concepts, encouraging family volunteerism while recruiting and training a diverse volunteer force. Catholic Charities accomplishes its mission by working with partners across all sectors. Their administrators, staff, and volunteers come together in a way that’s financially efficient, effective, focused on a shared mission so everyone in the community benefits.
Honorary Community Volunteer Award
Darrell Bazzell has been very busy with multiple volunteer roles and has been a catalyst for changing the community. At United Way of Dane County, Darrell served as chair of Vision Council and a member of the Board of Directors. Thanks to his strategic leadership, Darrell is helping to shape United Way’s work in employment and racial equity. Despite his very busy job as Vice Chancellor for Administration with University of Wisconsin – Madison, he also holds additional volunteer roles as Board President of Urban League of Greater Madison, a board member for Boys and Girls Club of Dane County and serves as a mentor for youth through Big Brothers Big Sisters.
About Our Community’s Agenda for Change
- Students succeed academically and graduate from high school, regardless of race.
- Children are cared for and have fun as they become prepared for school.
- There is a decrease in family homelessness.
- There is a reduction in violence toward individuals and families.
- People’s health issues are identified and treated early.
- Seniors and people with disabilities are able to stay in their homes.
United Way engages our community mobilizes volunteers and strengthens local nonprofits to achieve measurable results and change lives.
About United Way of Dane County
United Way of Dane County is addressing the underlying causes of community issues through our community’s Agenda for Change—seven goals focused on three priority areas of Education, Safety and Health that our community identified as most critical to changing lives and strengthening Dane County. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative work, we are achieving measurable results toward making our community better educated, safer, and healthier. United Way provides organizations and individuals the opportunity to give, advocate, and volunteer to change the human condition in Dane County.