The Volunteer Center of United Way honored outstanding service and gave special recognition to eight individuals and groups at the sold out 33rd annual Volunteer Spirit Awards celebration and benefit. You can see videos of all of the award recipients from Patch towns, after they accepted their awards, by clicking on the videos inside this story.
The 2013 Volunteer Spirit Award Winners, as selected by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, are:
- Arts and Culture Award to Carol Morse (Dobbs Ferry) for Hudson Valley Singers, presented by Bunge
- Community Hero Award to Haina Just-Michael (New Rochelle) for New Rochelle Public Library, presented by The Journal News
- Education and Literacy Award to Marie Rama (Yonkers) for Yonkers Partners in Education, presented by Reader’s Digest
- Going Green Award to Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct, presented by Con Edison to Mavis Cain of Dobbs Ferry
- New York Life Youth Group in Action Award to Let’s Play it Forward, Inc. (Katonah), presented by New York Life to John Lombardi from Katonah, T.J. Bonacorsa from Yorktown, Tucker Clair from Somers, Anthony Lombardi from Somers and Ryan Wilson from Katonah
- New York Life Youth Leader Award to Joseph Gusmano (Fishkill) for East Fishkill Community Library, presented by New York Life
- Quality of Life Award to Sandy Samberg (Rye) and Lynn Halpern (Rye) for Sole Ryeders and Friends, presented by United Way of Westchester and Putnam
- Social Advocacy Award to Deborah Blatt (New Rochelle) for Family Services of Westchester’s Sharing Shelf Program, presented by Mack-Cali
Today's event was part of National Volunteer Week, April 21-27, sponsored by Points of Light. The week is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to foster positive transformation.
Since it was established in 1974, it has grown exponentially each subsequent year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week. With the fourth year anniversary of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, the creation of the Volunteer Generation Fund and the resonant call to serve from the President, this year will be even more energizing and inspiring.
“Nonprofits depend on the actions of volunteers in good times and in bad. They are reliable and knowledgeable, enthusiastic and dedicated,” said Alisa H. Kesten, Executive Director of The Volunteer Center. “We have seen our communities tested in the last year,” she continued, “and it is truly through the efforts of the eight winners of the Volunteer Spirit Awards that local organizations are able to serve and support our communities. TheVolunteer Center is proud to pay tribute to these distinguished individuals and groups who give back.”
About Points of Light
The largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service, Points of Light mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and companies, Points of Light engages millions of volunteers in 30 million hours of service.
About The Volunteer Center of United Way:
Recently awarded a Top-Rated Nonprofit designation, The Volunteer Center is a one-stop resource devoted to increasing volunteerism in Westchester and our surrounding communities. The center encourages adults to serve, youth to build character, families to bond, young professionals to lead, mature adults to share their wisdom and businesses to support our community.
Through organized volunteer projects, as well as by connecting individuals to nonprofit organizations, The Volunteer Center helps people take action to strengthen the quality of life in their community. Over 254,000 hours of service were devoted last year to 500 nonprofits at a value of over $7.7 million. In September 2011, TheVolunteer Center was designated one of 10 Regional Volunteer Centers in the State of New York, covering the Mid-Hudson Valley.
For more information, visit www.volunteer-center.org.