Volunteer Fairfax and Chairman Sharon Bulova and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, honored volunteers at the 27th Annual Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards held on Wednesday, April 24th. The Awards celebrated 150 individual and group nominees. Nominations were submitted in January by area agencies, schools, clubs, and individuals. The event took place at the Waterford in Springfield and included leaders of business, education, government and nonprofits. Tisha Lewis, FOX 5 DC news anchor and reporter, served as event emcee.
Congratulations! To the following individuals and groups who were awarded a 2019 Fairfax County Volunteer Service Award in the competitive categories:
Adult Volunteer under 250 hours
Danae Delman, Capital Caring
Danae’s work has helped hundreds of patients and their families in our community walk through the toughest time in their lives, saying goodbye to a loved one. In one instance, Danae came alongside a family who had hired live-in caregiver to provide additional support. By doing so, she was able to provide time for the family to focus on the patient’s desires, hopes and fears at the end of their life. Danae’s true gift and skill is to comfort those who are facing serious health challenges. As a hospice volunteer for Capital Caring, a palliative and hospice program, Danae has helped those facing life-limiting illness and injury, by showing care and compassion. Hospice volunteers not only help patients, but they help family members to honor their loved ones. Danae is an advocate for educating the community on the benefits of hospice care.
Adult Over 250 hours
Julie Hill, Reading Together
Julie is passionate about sustaining an organization’s mission. Under her leadership this past year, the Reading Together board of directors, completed an 18-month Excellence in Governance program to enhance governance, develop a strategic plan to shape the course of the organization over the next three years, and received the top statewide Best Practices Award from the Commonwealth Council on Aging a new program called RT (Reading Together) Express. Additionally, in her role as Board Chair, Julie led her own Navy Federal Credit Union volunteer team on two repair projects.
Adult Volunteer Group
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)
A group of 41 retirees took the time over the holidays to take professional portraits of military personnel and their families including their pets! Each family or individual received a flash drive of their photos and one printed portrait. The Photography Club at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at George Mason University, never passes up an opportunity to provide free services to organizations in need of professional level photography in Fairfax County. The Club, a group of retirees with a passion and knack for the lens, has donated thousands of hours in photographic services to benefit wounded servicemen, Fairfax County, George Mason University and other worthy causes in northern Virginia. The list of its community service projects is extensive and especially impressive given the average age of Photo Club members is about 70. The Photo Club has undertaken projects over the past few years to benefit Fairfax County government. Even our very own RSVP- Northern VA and some of Volunteer Fairfax’s programs have benefited from OLLI’s services!
RSVP Northern Virginia
Shelley has been with RSVP for three years, but she started sharing her time and talents with Volunteer Fairfax nearly 20 years ago. Shelley supports a variety of causes by volunteering for more than a dozen nonprofits including Food for Others, Volunteers For Change, Children’s Science Center, Britepaths, The Shepherd’s Center of Annandale- Springfield, FACETS and Cornerstones. Fellow RSVP volunteer Sue Dussinger, who nominated Shelley, says Shelley is special because, “She is so willing. Once she gets involved there is no stopping her. Shelley has just got that certain drive. Volunteering and helping others is just so very important to her.” Shelley volunteers more than 500 hours of her time in a typical year. Shelley also supports RSVP as a volunteer engagement leader, shepherding new recruits into the world of senior volunteering. Carly Hubicki, RSVP’s volunteer specialist says, “Shelley truly puts the needs of others before her own. She has committed to a life of volunteerism, and it is quite inspiring. Shelley not only models a true volunteer spirit, but actively engages in the betterment of our community through her selflessness,” Shelley not only affects the people she is helping, she influences the volunteer managers and volunteers she works with. Kim Luckabaugh, program manager of Volunteers For Change says, “When I tell people who the volunteer is that has made the biggest impact in my life just by inspiration, it is Shelley Brosnan, without a doubt.” Carly says Shelley’s dedication to service is evident in everything that she does and it inspires those around her. “Many of my other volunteers have commented on the amazing work that Shelley does and how it pushes them to do more.”
Going to court is a daunting enough. Imagine, having to respond to questions and read through court documents that are not in your native language. Enter Alcira Pernot an outstanding interpreter for the Limited English Proficiency community, who is fluent in French and Spanish with a passion to help. Alcira has earned the respect and love of the County and State court personnel. She is the first to take on the most complex cases regardless of length or obstacles. In 2019, Alcira reached a new status of mentorship, where she prepares interpreters for court hearings. This is a very difficult skill to develop but she does it with a big smile and great energy. She brings her creative, proactive, professional and knowledge of the court process to help organizations such as Department of Child Support Enforcement and Northern Virginia Legal Services. Her clients have stated the following about her work: “Mrs. Pernot is respectful and knows how to help without intervening in the court process.” “Thanks to Mrs. Alcira our case got a process sooner.” The clients all agree that she makes a difference every time she is with a client.
Celebrating 50 years, Ecumenical Community Helping Others, better known as ECHO, provides financial assistance, food and referral to other human service programs and to those in short-term emergencies. Additionally, ECHO provides donated clothing, household items and school supplies to low income families. Here is a quick snapshot how ECHO impacted lives in 2018 – they managed 930 food visits, distributed 192,615 pounds of food; more than 1,248 clients received 4,602 bags of clothing and small household goods. Families with children in school received 1,235 backpacks filled with school supplies worth $55,575. During the holidays, the ECHO Christmas Shop distributed new toys, games and clothing to 240 families, which provided holiday gifts to 605 kids. All of this work was volunteer led and managed!
Carmela’s efforts in service have stretched across organizations and causes, having a far-reaching effect on the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County. In her own community, Carmela has a hand in nearly every program, from organizing and running an early childhood literacy program called “CPDC Reads” to assisting in the planning for the Stony Brook Community Day to running a door-to-door recycling program. Most impressively, Carmela was given the responsibility for running the Stony Brook Community Garden, which harvested nearly 50 pounds of fresh produce that was handed out to low-income community residents facing food crisis. She has run movie nights for youth, bingo nights for adults, and been a summer tutor, working one-on-one with youth in math and language arts to avoid “summer slide”.
Youth Volunteer Group
Stoney Brook Junior Volunteers
The Stony Brook Community is part of the Community Preservation and Development Corporation, a not-for-profit real estate developer dedicated to providing safe, high quality affordable housing to low and moderate-income families and individuals. The group continued to run programs and events in the Stony Brook community, ranging from bingo nights for adults, to summer sports programs, to early childhood education reading programs. They worked to grow, plant, and harvest vegetables from a community garden they built, the bulk of which was donated to community residents facing food access issues. They organized and ran a Community Day for nearly 150 residents, including creating carnival games, baking treats to hand out, and running giveaways and activities for attendees. The groups also continues to run a door-to-door recycling collection program, picking up recycling every Monday afternoon directly from residents to encourage and increase the amount of recycling in the community.
In April 2018, the group was chosen as the face of a national service campaign, the Scooby-Doo DOO GOOD Campaign, sponsored by Scooby-Doo, Warner Brothers, and generationOn. 60 youth worked to clean up a highly-polluted stretch of Little Hunting Creek immediately behind Stony Brook.
Linda and Stefanie Kline
When our neighbors are most in need, whether they are displaced in the aftermath of a home fire, or a major disaster such as a hurricane, this mother and daughter team, lead a group of volunteers who operate emergency shelters, provide meal and beverages, and care for members of our community during their darkest hours. Linda and Stefanie Kline serve together in regional volunteer leadership positions with the American Red Cross National Capital Region. Linda, in her role, oversees all sheltering, feeding, and other major response functions in times of emergency or disaster. While Stefanie, is responsible for identifying, training, and deploying qualified volunteers from the National Capital Region to fill positions on disaster relief operations. Together they have managed the shelter that housed over 100 seniors that were displaced due to a fire, teamed with local fire departments to install smoke detectors in homes in our community, and facilitated preparedness events to adults and children and conduct orientations for our local Disaster Action Teams. By ensuring that volunteers are physically and mentally prepared for the rigors of service in difficult conditions, this duo provides a critical and essential service not only to the Fairfax community, but the entire country.
Fairfax County Government Volunteer
In case of an emergency you want Steve Richardson on the call! He is one of three, primary volunteers qualified to drive the Canteen, which is a frontline support unit, called out to aid firefighters, EMTs, command staff and police department personnel on large scale events such as a 2 (or more) fire alarm or search and rescue or a police hostage situation. Only 4 fire stations in Fairfax County have Canteens assigned, so they cover a lot of territory and support neighboring jurisdictions. In calendar 2018, Steve recorded over 900 hours of service for the Greater Springfield Volunteer Fire Department, Fire Station 22. Steve is a Boy Scout adult leader, volunteer at ECHO (Ecumenical Community Helping Others) and a HOA Director, providing many hours of service and support to his community .
Fairfax County Government Volunteer Program
Fairfax County Public Library
Oft forgotten in the age of Google – public libraries play an essential role in providing safe, accessible, and 100% free educational resource centers for communities across the county. The Fairfax County Public Library system is one of the dynamic links that connects residents to local and global resources for lifelong learning and self-enrichment. Here are some quick stats – In 2018 over 1,500 volunteers selflessly gave of their time donating over 107,000 hours of service; a staggering 11.1 million books and other materials were circulated within the Fairfax Library system and nearly 1.3 million items were placed on hold by library customers. Handling a volume this large would certainly be an overwhelming task without the library’s circulation volunteers who spend hours every day processing materials, scanning items individually and using computers to properly process each item.
Corporate Volunteer Program
Mt. Vernon Center for Dentistry
Imagine experiencing extreme pain in your mouth that stems from your teeth and not being able to get any relief because you don’t have dental insurance. The practitioners at the Mount Vernon Center for Dentistry recognize this as a problem and have committed to setting aside one hour a week to treat residents who are in dire need of dental work, in pain, or need procedures that community clinics do not provide. In 2018, the Center donated over $35,000 in free dental care to formerly homeless and disabled residents of New Hope Housing. On May 11th, the dental group hosted a free dental service day, where they treated 21 adults and children and others residing in a nearby shelter. The have provided everything from x-rays and basic checkups through to creating complete sets of dentures for clients who cannot afford them. It was noted that from the receptionist to the doctors – each person at Mount Vernon Center for Dentistry was welcoming and courteous and helped patients understand everything that was happening at each appointment.
A shelter can feel like the furthest place from home for a stray animal. To bring a little bit of warmth to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, Stephanie has loving handcrafted many decorations and comfort items to enhance the animal areas at the shelter. Her amazing talents have helped shape many different events at the shelter such FUR-rassic World, Mad for Plaid, Cat Canna-wanna-go-home, and the ever-popular A-Cat-Amy (Ay-CAT-am-ee) awards. These events help to generate traffic to the shelter, so that the community can take part in the events, enjoy the amazing talents of our volunteers and learn about pet adoption and care. Stephanie is one of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter’s biggest contributors with her ideas, resources, talents and generosity.
When the Hidden Oaks Nature Center faced closure due to budget cuts, Kevin found a way to keep the doors open. When he saw that a valuable community resource was threatened, rather than looking away – he welcomed the opportunity to make a personal impact in Fairfax County. The nature center was due to be closed to the general public and only open for scheduled programs during the week. During an exhibit renovation, the center was also due to be “mothballed.” Using his business acumen, Kevin started the Friends of Hidden Oaks grassroots organization to mobilize a campaign to reopen Hidden Oaks to full hours. After a successful campaign that included presentations to the county’s Board of Supervisors, the center completely reopened within six months. In 2018, Kevin was honored for 25-years of service to Fairfax County’s Park Authority. His commitment to volunteering in Fairfax County is reflective of the superlative standard which merits the Volunteer Service Lifetime Achievement Award.
For more information about the Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards, visit www.volunteerfairfax.org.