The Triangle Nonprofit & Volunteer Leadership Center

Volunteer of the Week

Bruce Ballentine

Habitat for Humanity of Orange County

Bruce Ballentine - cropped

Since 2017, Bruce Ballentine has served as a Habitat volunteer project manager. When site and infrastructure work began in 2022, he was on site almost daily, ensuring contractors’ work. Bruce provided invaluable knowledge and expertise on legal issues, selection of market rate builders, landscaping, amenity design, architecture, contract writing, and negotiation. He also led regular tours of the property for donors and elected officials, helping Habitat raise more than $7,000,000 for the project. Thanks to Bruce’s selflessness and generosity, thousands of lives will be positively changed.

2024 Volunteers of the Week

Gail Abrams volunteers with Piedmont Wildlife Center (PWC), an organization dedicated to encouraging conservation and cultivating lifelong connections with nature through immersive outdoor education, citizen science, and wildlife stewardship. As a member of the Raptor team, she attends outreach events and helps with building projects. Gail redesigned a boardwalk to cover a large, flood-prone area and rebuilt the foundation for an outdoor raptor enclosure. She also leads PWC’s public Owl Prowl programs, takes birds to senior centers, and mentors staff members who care for and train birds. Until her retirement in 2017, Gail served as the Executive Director of PWC. 

Myra Blackwell brings outstanding leadership and organizational skills to the Durham Triple Play program. She leads the staff and coaches meetings and is superb in recognizing a situation and defusing it before it gets out of hand. Myra prepares the game and tournament schedule each year and keeps the minutes to help ensure that the organization is in compliance with nonprofit guidelines and rules. She is a good communicator and has a special gift for making everyone that comes in contact with her feel special and needed. As a serious athlete and the mother of a young athlete, Myra understands both sides of the program and has been a valued volunteer for thirteen years. 

2/5/24Volunteers of the NC A. Philip Randolph Institute, Inc. worked tirelessly at the food pantry known in the community as “Mary’s Pantry”. In 2021, this group worked five days a week to distribute over 140,000 pounds of food to underserved and food insecure people in Wake County. Although they faced many stressful situations such as cramped quarters, difficult clients, and newly implemented COVID-19 protocols, these volunteers never wavered. They did not hesitate when asked to take the pantry operation remote in the bitter cold to feed residents of the Raleigh Gardens community on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. They did it with smiles on their faces, cheerfully greeting all the residents who came out to partake. 

The volunteers are Alston Bailey, Wayne Bostick, Juanita Bridges, Glenda Hunter, Claudia Powell, Cleo Saulter, Alfreda Wilson, Ann Young, and Anthony Bonapart (not pictured). 

 

1/29/24 Ruth Vorder-Bruegge has provided incredible and excellent crisis intervention to callers on the Orange County Rape Crisis Center’s helpline. She also organized the Center’s volunteer materials and created a Google Drive to help future volunteers find materials easily. Ruth helped better equip hospital volunteers by sharing her knowledge of hospital systems. She doesn’t hesitate to contribute to the organization and knowledge of the group, allowing their programs to improve in longevity and quality. Ruth is also forthcoming with her ideas, offering lots of thoughts, time, and insight into how to improve the helpline program. 

1/22/24 Marva Richey worked on projects that have been game-changers for Curamericas Global. One example is an automation project that saved Curamericas many hours of manual work. She worked with the Executive Director, using an app and database that was new for both of them. As the result of their efforts, over 400 tasks that were once done manually are now completed automatically. Marva is organized, well-prepared, thoughtful, and generous with her time and expertise. Curamericas Global partners with communities abroad to save the lives of mothers and children by providing health services and education. Marva continues to go above and beyond so that more funding can be focused on its programs.

1/15/24 The Durham and New Home Missionary Baptist Association Food Pantry (formerly called The Bradshaw, Jones, Umstead Food Pantry) volunteers are a group of extremely dedicated servants who distribute a fresh, 21-day supply of food to marginalized and low-income members in our community. Clients of all ages are served, including infants, children, and seniors. Both clients and volunteers are protected with social distancing and mask wearing protocols. Returning volunteers and clients are the evidence of superb leadership. Two-way communication is fostered through informative, supportive weekly meetings. The Bradshaw, Jones, Umstead Food Pantry volunteers perform their service with sincerity, joy, and caring. 

Volunteers: Hallie Bass, Mike Bass, Mary Dorty, James Johnson, Beatrice King, Henry King (not in photo), Jean Johnson (not in photo), and Tanjua Roberts. 

1/8/24Daniel Thompson is a member of the Board of Directors for the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc. He provides leadership and management of the Board of Directors in the legal and ethical policy setting and governing that establishes the mission, vision, goals, and direction of the Foundation. The Foundation provides innovative academic, leadership, and professional development programs, mentorship, and services to prepare boys and young men of color to succeed in the competitive workforce. Daniel also served as a member of the Finance Committee. In this role, he oversaw development of the annual budget, monitored organization funds; developed financial policies and procedures, and participated in various fundraising initiatives. 

1/1/24 – Root Causes hopes to address food insecurity for low-income Duke Community members living with chronic diseases by providing access to healthy food options through its Fresh Produce Program (FPP). Judy Szustakowski joined the FPP distribution day food packing team in May of 2021. She’s always on time and leads by example, packing produce with grace and taking initiative to find other tasks to support once packing has been completed. Whenever issues arise, Judy is often the first to identify and brainstorm solutions to the problem, or consult Root Causes leadership for advice. She helps newer volunteers become familiar with the assembly line process and addresses any questions they have. Judy’s leadership and support is palpable, and has enabled Root Causes to support over 380 program participants through biweekly deliveries of fresh produce and nutritional education materials. 

Judy has moved out of the area and is no longer an active volunteer serving with the Root Causes Fresh Produce Program. 

2023 Volunteers of the Week

12/25/23Kyle L. Payne is a member of the Board of Directors for the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc. He provides leadership and management of the Board of Directors in the legal and ethical policy setting and governing that establishes the mission, vision, goals, and direction of the Foundation. The Foundation provides innovative academic, leadership, and professional development programs, mentorship, and services to prepare boys and young men of color to succeed in the competitive workforce. Kyle also served as Chair of the Personnel Committee which guides the development, review, and authorization of all personnel-related matters and leads the review of the Executive Director’s performance.

12/18/23Blind Spot Animal Sanctuary (BSAS) provides lifelong, loving care to neglected and homeless farm animals and places adoptable animals in forever homes. For years, Michele Raja, Jerri Stevens, and Deborah Stallings have worked hard for the animals at BSAS every week, multiple times a week. In all weather, they provide exceptional care to the rescued residents. Blind Spot Animal Sanctuary is fortunate to have many dedicated volunteers, but they are extremely proud to have volunteers who have been with them for years! 

12/11/23In 2010, Nasser Shahin began his work with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) by setting up apartments, providing hot meals and groceries, and buying phones for Muslim clients. He now helps non-Muslim clients as well, especially with providing groceries until they get their food stamps. He also picks up clients from the airport, takes clients to their appointments and the DMV, and provides clothing and other resources. USCRI is grateful for all that Nassar does to support clients. 

12/4/23Lynn Voerman has served as a Triangle Aphasia Project Unlimited (TAP) volunteer for the past four years. Aphasia, a communication disorder caused by stroke or other brain injury, impacts a person’s ability to read, write, listen, and speak. During the pandemic, TAP’s in-person programming was shifted to a virtual model. Already an engaged and proactive volunteer, Lynn assisted the TAP book clubs in their efforts to work on reading, discussion, and conversation online. She prepared materials for the speech pathologist, offered communicative supports, and completed administrative tasks with passion and commitment. Lynn is so committed to the well-being of this at-risk population that she initiated hand-sewing masks for clients, group leaders, and family members. 

11/27/23Ali Standish began volunteering with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) by working in the office reception area. She became aware of additional client needs and organized a collection of fabric and sewing machines so that clients could create household items. She also collected diapers, car seats, and baby clothing for families with children. She is an accomplished children’s book author and began collecting books for children and managing USCRI’s in-house client library. Recently, Ali and her neighborhood friends gathered, stored, and moved furnishings into a home for family of eight from Afghanistan through the Welcome Home Resettlement Program. In a time when people are divided, Ali and her friends and neighbors have been a bright light that brings hope and dignity to us all!

11/20/23 Since 1972, The Triangle Nonprofit & Volunteer Leadership Center (TNVLC) has been making a difference by strengthening nonprofits and engaging volunteers. Barbara Thomas is the program manager for Triangle Association of Volunteer Administrators (TRIAVA), a key TNVLC program. Barbara developed TRIAVA from an idea into a valuable training and networking program for volunteer leaders. Through her efforts, volunteer administrators can earn certification credits for TRIAVA courses from the North Carolina Association of Volunteer Administration. In 2021, she grew TRIAVA membership from two organizations to ten, and individual memberships from six to 27. Barbara achieved this through the targeted advertising of program content and her reputation for delivering strong, worthwhile sessions. 

11/13/23 Samantha Royster exemplifies a servant’s heart by her steadfast dedication to serving the Apex Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) both as a responder as well as a founding member of the Board of Directors. During the pandemic, she continued to serve the Apex community by holding creative, informative trainings online, available for free to the public. These trainings covered a variety of disaster recovery topics such as firefighter rehab, interacting with individuals with disabilities, and dealing with mass casualty incidents. Samantha motivated CERT volunteers to safely continue their work by promoting efforts involving fire hydrant painting and coordinating basic first aid at public events. She also coordinated search and rescue training events under the Central North Carolina Search and Rescue banner. Samantha’s unwavering dedication towards furthering public education on disaster recovery is precisely what North Carolina needs.

 

11/6/23 Lynn Toms has shown remarkable commitment to the Reality Ministries community and its mission of “fostering friendships between people of all abilities marked by mutuality, authenticity, and the reality of Christ’s love for all.” She participates three mornings each week at Reality Ministries’ daytime programming, as well as evenings throughout the month and special events. In a community in which sensory issues or anxiety feature heavily, Lynn has become a friend who many can lean on for support during a difficult day. She has been known to host groups in her home for meals, take people on special outings, and give members rides to Reality events when they otherwise wouldn’t have transportation. Lynn is a dedicated volunteer who has welcomed the Reality community into her everyday life. 

10/30/23Patricia Ann Poe is a creative, high-energy volunteer for the General Davie Chapter of the DAR. Service is the underlying component in most of the DAR’s activities. Members participate in a wide array of pursuits and work with numerous non-profit agencies, especially ones that serve children and veterans. Patricia leads members in project work that is patriotic and devoted to education and historic preservation.

10/23/23Wheels4Hope is a non-profit, faith-based car donation program that turns donated cars into local blessings. A Wheels4Hope volunteer mechanic and transport team goal is to make cars safe and reliable. David and Sonya Reid transported hundreds of donated vehicles for pick up and repair. They worked every scheduled day throughout the past four years to ensure that reliable cars are given to people without dependable transportation. These cars have had a positive effect on over 2,000 residents of our community. Without the help of David and Sonya, Wheels4Hope would not be able to provide the service that they do. 

David and Sonya are no longer volunteering with Wheels 4 Hope due to a move to the mountains. 

10/16/23 Brandon M. Northington is a member of the Board of Directors for the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc. He provides leadership and management of the Board of Directors in the legal and ethical policy setting and governing that establishes the mission, vision, goals, and direction of the Foundation. The Foundation provides innovative academic, leadership, and professional development programs, mentorship, and services to prepare boys and young men of color to succeed in the competitive workforce. Brandon served as member of the Program Committee which provides assistance to the Executive Director to develop, implement, and evaluate programs. He also served as a member of the Personnel Committee which guides the development, review, and authorization of all personnel-related matters and leads the review of the Executive Director’s performance. 

10/9/23 Gloria Rentrope has been a volunteer fitness instructor at the Durham Center for Senior Life (DCSL) for more than five years. During that time, she became a certified fitness instructor and created a hugely popular class called Total Body Workout. In 2021, Gloria played an instrumental role in helping DCSL maintain a presence in the lives of Durham County seniors. Throughout the pandemic, she volunteered to teach her class online. She maintained contact with class participants and continued to provide an invaluable layer of fitness programming and emotional support. When the center reopened, she picked up where she left off. Her class continues to be one of the most well attended. Gloria is a master at offering members a meaningful and health-promoting experience each and every time she teaches. 

10/2/23 As a high school student, Sonali Ratnasinghe founded a school club to help teenagers connect with and raise money for Triangle area nonprofits. That club later expanded to become General Services Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to teaching local high schoolers how to execute fundraisers, drives, and events for area nonprofits and small businesses. With over 40 partnerships, General Services Foundation has successfully raised over $20,000 and 30,000 items in 15 months under Sonali’s leadership. She is a dedicated mentor, encouraging General Services Foundation members to pursue their passions without fear and realize their true potential. Her commitment to helping the community, nonprofits, and high schoolers is exceptional.

9/25/23 In a trying year for everyone, Bob Leslie remained faithful as a volunteer. Reality Ministries exists to create opportunities for people with and without developmental disabilities to experience genuine belonging. Bob shows up week in and week out to live out this mission. He is especially faithful to one individual whose life is otherwise vacant of meaningful friendship. Bob not only accompanies this man during weekly programming at Reality Ministries, he also actively engages outside of RM programming to visit, hang out, and embody the mission of mutual belonging in this man’s life. He has been a Reality Ministries volunteer for almost ten years, quietly showing up as a consistent and faithful friend.

9/18/23 Carmelo R. Montalvo is a member of the Board of Directors for the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc. He provides leadership and management of the Board of Directors in the legal and ethical policy setting and governing that establishes the mission, vision, goals, and direction of the Foundation. He served as Treasurer and was responsible for managing and overseeing the financial affairs of the Foundation. Carmelo also served on the Finance Committee. In this role, he oversaw development of the annual budget, monitored organization funds, developed financial policies and procedures, and participated in fundraising initiatives.

9/11/23Suzan Perry volunteers three or more days a week for the Durham Community Food Pantry (DCFP). She is a lead volunteer, assisting in perishable food prep and aiding in establishing the DCFP garden that feeds the community. She also helps mentor new volunteers. Suzan is instrumental in understanding what needs to be done each week to serve DCFP’s 330 families. 

9/4/23Maryanne Olsen is a Support Partner who works with families in The Carying Place’s transitional housing program. For 16 weeks, she works with families to eliminate barriers to permanent housing such as money skills, budgeting, saving, and increased income. She makes people feel comfortable and quickly builds trust with clients. Her goal is for families to be successful, and she will figure out a way every time. Maryanne also helps with the Selection team. She works hard to make sure that interviewees feel safe and understand that the questions asked are not meant to judge them. With compassion and empathy, Maryanne helps ease the transition that client families are going through.

 

8/28/23 – Since 2003, Debbie Myers has been the Board Chairperson for the NC Spinal Cord Injury Association (NCSCIA). Her contributions this year include providing funding and support for adaptive sports outlets, facilitating support groups and peer-mentor trainings, and providing quality of life grants to individuals for things that insurance doesn’t cover. She organizes the Raleigh Rumble Wheelchair Rugby Tournament each December and helped organize the Ms. Wheelchair NC pageant this November. Debbie has a calm, tactful, and professional manner that allows her to navigate difficult group dynamics while providing support, guidance, and mentoring to individuals with spinal cord injuries, their families, and their caregivers. Debbie is an absolute gift to her community.

8/21/23Roslyn Muse practiced pharmacy in Durham for over 30 years. In her retirement, she decided to continue helping her patients as a Senior Health Insurance Information Program Volunteer for Senior PharmAssist. She helps patients navigate complex insurance choices, takes time to answer questions about their medicines, and helps them understand how to access dental and vision benefits. Roslyn is on the Formulary Committee and works closely with local providers, pharmacists, and other committee members to ensure that the medicines covered by Senior PharmAssist’s financial assistance program are safe and effective. She also is on the Board of Directors. Roslyn has a passion for helping people and is busier than ever serving the community and helping to improve insurance access information. 

8/14/23 Frank Lewis, III is a member of the Board of Directors for the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc. He provides leadership and management of the Board of Directors in the legal and ethical policy setting and governing that establishes the mission, vision, goals, and direction of the Foundation. The Foundation provides innovative academic, leadership, and professional development programs, mentorship, and services to prepare boys and young men of color to succeed in the competitive workforce. Frank served as a member of the Personnel Committee, leading the review of the Executive Director’s performance and guiding the development, review, and authorization of all personnel-related policies, job descriptions, and evaluation tools. 

8/7/23 Cornelius Kirk, a Young Men 4 Christ (YM4C) volunteer, is informally known as “Mr. You Matter.” In the past year, Cornelius stretched his own comfort zone while leading and facilitating multiple programs. He provided virtual one-on-one mentoring to 23 youth; assisted in a series of video game and coding workshops; served food and facilitated Game of Life discussions for a monthly football program; engaged boxing participants in character-developing discussions; and served as lead facilitator for a monthly golf program. YM4C helps kids shift their mindsets and envision a different future by letting them know that they matter. They’re able to accomplish this due to volunteers such as Cornelius Kirk. He brings the best version of himself to the program every time and helps kids (and volunteers) grow into the best version of themselves.

7/31/23 The mission of the Orange County Disability Awareness Council (DAC) is to identify barriers to people with disabilities and create change. As a DAC volunteer, Darice Haden Johnson works to secure temporary housing for disabled veterans and seniors. She takes tremendous care of “her people”, investing her time to learn each client’s specific needs. Her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic helped the DAC get back to work quickly and start to bring some normalcy to its daily operations. Through Darice’s efforts, the DAC was able to secure a tech lab office for one-on-one virtual instruction. Darice is a sterling example of an invaluable volunteer.

7/24/23  As a Youth Representative of the Durham County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, Joseph Jackson works to reduce and prevent juvenile crime. He reviews the needs of juveniles and the resources available to address their needs, prioritizing community risk factors and increasing public awareness of the causes of delinquency. Joseph helps develop proposals to reduce delinquency and strategies to intervene, respond to, and treat the needs of juveniles at risk of delinquency.

 

7/17/23 Dr. Charles Lallier (better known as Dr. Chuck) is a consistent and valuable member of Durham Habitat’s regular volunteer group (self-dubbed) “the Geezers”. He leads the Framing Crew and regularly steps up to help lead large volunteer groups. He is a great teacher and very personable with volunteers. He often takes extra time and care to teach new volunteers and AmeriCorps Service members. Dr. Chuck stepped up to help Durham Habitat as sites were reopened during the pandemic. He has been a strong advocate for site health and safety practices and encourages his group of volunteers to be vaccinated and to follow the on-site guidelines for masking. Dr. Chuck is a shining example of what it means to love your neighbor. 

7/10/23

Karl Kirkeby started volunteering with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC (the Food Bank) at the beginning of COVID and immediately became one of the “COVID Regulars” — volunteers who could be counted on to come in every single day. A former engineer, he looked at each project as a chance to improve efficiency so that the Food Bank could move as much food into the community as quickly as possible. With a kind spirit and good humor, Karl always sought fun and lightness in any situation. During the Food Bank Olympics (an engagement activity to reward regular volunteers for hard work), he played an essential role on the planning committee, coming up with fun activities. Through what was a tough year, Karl never complained or stopped showing the folks around him a good time.

Karl sadly passed away in 2022, but his memory lives on in the hearts and minds of those he touched.

 

7/3/23Despite her busy work life, Dominique Cole-Johnson (Dom) joined Piedmont Wildlife Center’s Board in February of 2020. As Board Treasurer, she used her business expertise to assist the Executive Director during a time of high personnel turnover and pandemic-related operational challenges. When a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force was formed, Dom helped guide the staff to a better understanding of how to welcome diverse populations. She attended almost every fundraising and community event, greeting guests and sharing her enthusiasm for the organization’s mission. Dom always has a positive, upbeat attitude and works tirelessly to encourage the staff and develop strong relationships. Piedmont Wildlife Center is incredibly thankful for all that she does. 

6/26/23Megan Jackson started volunteering at Urban Ministries’ Open Door Clinic as an Intake/Triage Volunteer. In March of 2020, she helped the Clinic pivot their community healthcare operations to comply with mandated COVID-19 restrictions. She worked alongside Clinic staff to develop a COVID-19 Case Management Program. This new program focuses on identifying suspect or positive COVID-19 patients who need guidance and support while facing uncertainty. A former RN Care Manager, Megan became the Open Door Clinic’s first volunteer case manager. She is currently working with staff members to expand the Clinical Case Management Program to include hepatitis C, diabetes, hypertension, and complex cases. Megan is a dedicated volunteer who exhibits an amazing passion for the Open Door Clinic’s underserved patients. 

6/19/23The Martin Luther King, Jr. Steering Committee, Inc. helps plan ceremonies and programs that preserve the legacy and example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in recognition of the King holiday. The MLK Steering Committee works to improve the quality of life for all citizens by reaching out to those who struggle with poverty, unemployment, drug addiction, homelessness, and other social problems. In addition, the MLK Steering Committee raises funds for academic scholarships awarded to graduating seniors in Durham County. 

Steering Committee 

Vince Chandler (Music Committee Chair)
Natalie Edwards (Treasurer)
Dorothy Filmore (Chair)
Jerry Head, Jr. (Fundraising Committee Chair)
Rev. Warren Herndon (Special Events Committee Chair)
Doris Ingram-Randall (Awards Committee Chair)2
Naomi Jackson (Scholarship Committee Chair)
John Jarrett
Dean Jernigan (Day of Service Chair)
Nelson Kerr
DeWarren K. Langley (Vice Chair)
Pebbles Lucas (Board Secretary)
Rev. Dr. Michael D. Page (Program Committee Chair)
Sumetrice Porter
Grace Wilson

6/5/23 Riverside High School has been a longtime supporter of the Diaper Bank of North Carolina (DBNC). Over the last year, Frances Mock and Kathy Holt continued to organize students. They came up with creative ways to get students involved. For example, student volunteers worked outside to wrap diapers. DBNC appreciates Riverside High School and all their work, flexibility and creativity to help provide much needed essentials to the community.

6/5/23Gregory Jackson is an outstanding volunteer and an invaluable member of the Durham Habitat for Humanity team. Site supervisors know they can rely on him to show up and produce quality work. He was a regular volunteer who helped Habitat make it through the hardest points of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, when other volunteers were not able to be on site. He often helps lead large volunteer groups and teaches new volunteers and AmeriCorps service members. Greg also regularly goes above and beyond for Durham Habitat homebuyers by creating custom pieces for the exterior of the home. These small, personal touches really help make a house a home.

5/29/23Sally Goettel is a humble, mission focused volunteer leader. She served as the Dorcas Ministries Board President for the last year and has been a volunteer crisis counselor and food pantry volunteer for over seven years. Through her leadership, clients experienced uninterrupted critical crisis financial and food services during the pandemic, when need was at its highest. With a background in law and social services, Sally is equipped to lend an informed voice to the need for affordable housing and spearhead the efforts at Dorcas Ministries to increase affordable housing in the community. She does what is needed to get the job done, including mentoring staff, recruiting, training new volunteers, and sorting food in the food pantry. Sally has the rare ability to envision the future while keeping an eye on the details. 

5/22/23Members of the Board assist with providing oversight, establishing organizational identity, and ensuring and managing resources for Jubilee Home. Jubilee Home provides a supportive and therapeutic living environment for justice-involved young men in the Durham community. It seeks to create a place that bridges the gap between incarceration and full independence. 

5/15/23Joyce Henry has been a dedicated volunteer for the Animal Care Team at the Museum of Life and Science. Her enthusiasm is palpable, and she raises other volunteers to her level of hard work and commitment. She is eager to learn new things and has a strong work ethic. Her versatility enables her to take on any task independently, from raking animal yards to cleaning reptile enclosures. No job is too little or too disgusting for Joyce to tackle. She has also demonstrated leadership and compassion by choosing to mentor new volunteers and assist volunteers who are neurodiverse. Joyce is a perfect example of the volunteer who goes above and beyond the call of duty. 

5/8/23Moira and Tommy Griffin have been long time volunteers at the Diaper Bank of North Carolina (DBNC). When COVID-19 hit hard last year, they volunteered to take two carloads of diapers home every week to wrap on their kitchen table. Because of their ongoing dedication and service, DBNC was able to continue providing diapers to families across the state that are experiencing diaper need. Without the Griffin’s help, DBNC would not have been able to completely fill orders for Partner Agencies. 

5/1/23Laura Fogle is the remaining founder of Digital Durham. Over the past year, Digital Durham achieved a number of successes with her leadership, drive, passion, and organizational skills. After convening local elected officials and other interested parties, Laura organized a dedicated group of individuals who would spend six months to develop what is now an endorsed Durham Digital Equity Plan. In addition, she organized Digital Durham’s development and submission of several grants. Most recently Digital Durham received the second NC Band Grant, submitted a grant to Durham City for ARPA funds to facilitate the implementation of the Digital Equity Plan, and partnered with NCCU on the submission of a Connecting Minority Communities grant. Laura works tirelessly to make sure that the digital divide doesn’t prevent Durham citizens from getting the benefits from technology. 

4/24/23 –  Bruce Garon plays a variety of volunteer roles at the Durham Center for Senior Life (DCSL). He sits on the Senior Advisory committee, serves congregate meals, sets up movie screenings, assists with food distribution, and calls homebound seniors weekly as part of DCSL’s assurance program. Bruce brings enthusiasm and commitment to each day and every role. His dedication to serving senior citizens comes through in his jovial relationships with members and can-do attitude when addressing daily tasks during his volunteer shifts. As a person who is involved in DCSL programs several times a week, Bruce embodies the volunteer who thinks about those he serves before himself.

4/17/23The Board of Directors provides ethical and legal oversight in the policy setting and governing body that establishes the mission, vision, goals, and direction of the West End Community Foundation, Inc. The Board manages the personnel, marketing, financial, and infrastructure operations of the Community Family Life and Recreation Center at Lyon Park. The Center is comprised of an early childhood development program, free community clinic, youth mentoring program, after-school tutorial program, senior day care program, dance studio, gymnasium, and computer labs. 

 

4/10/23Martha Funsten has been an energetic and enthusiastic member of the Assistance League of the Triangle Area for seventeen years. Over the past five years, she has been Chair of Operation School Bell, a program that provides new clothing, shoes, school supplies, and hygiene items to children in need. Martha was instrumental in developing the first Target shopping night devoted entirely to serving children without stable housing. In addition, Martha is the past President and Treasurer. Martha is 2022 Key award winner (Senior Class) and 2022 Governor Medallion award (Orange County). She gives her time, talent, and knowledge to the Assistance League’s A-Z Thrift Shop in several areas of operations in the shop, by participating in furniture donation pick-ups and negotiating a new lease for the Thrift Shop. Martha’s boundless energy and can-do attitude have helped Assistance League become a champion at filling the needs of their community. 

 

4/3/23Perry Dowd is an exceptionally empathetic and selfless Paws4ever volunteer. She is dedicated to the animals and the people who care for them. Perry is always busy helping Paws4ever staff and other volunteers with any task she’s asked to do. She loves spending time with the animals and will provide whatever is needed to help care for them. Perry ensures that everyone has what they need and is always willing to lend her ear. 

 

3/27/23Denise Fleming started with Triangle Ultimate as a team parent on her daughter’s high school team and became more involved with each season. She coordinated the Elite Youth Club Teams, joined the Youth Committee, and eventually became Chair of the Youth Committee. With Denise’s thoughtful leadership, the Youth Committee reimagined and developed Spring Youth Club opportunities for middle school and high school players across the Triangle. She is a positive and engaging leader on the ground in Triangle Ultimate programs, an ambassador to new community members across programs, an innovative leader of the Youth Committee, and an engaged member of the Board of Directors. Denise’s impressive volunteer work touches almost every facet of the Triangle Ultimate community. Update: Denise was so great as a 

volunteer that Triangle Ultimate hired her on as full-time staff this year! 

3/20/23Richard and Marnie Cox volunteer for Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP), a nonprofit that supplies beds to kids in need. Each bed is built and installed in the child’s home, complete with bedding. Rich, a retired Naval Engineer, is SHP’s Build Manager. He organizes the build process, ensures build safety, develops volunteer training practices, and holds Lessons Learned meetings after each build. Rich was instrumental in helping SHP acquire an equipment trailer. He utilized shelves, bins, and bungee cords to maximize the efficient use of storage space. Marnie overhauled SHP’s inventory system to reflect real-time quantities. She monitors the inventory of building supplies and bedding and notifies the Chapter President when quantities run low. In 2021, Rich and Marnie volunteered at all 17 SHP builds and helped build 205 beds. 

3/13/23Thomas Dupree has been unwavering in his dedication to serving the Durham VA Medical Center and its Veterans. The National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) is an annual wheelchair sports event for military veterans. When Thomas learned that NVWG fostered teamwork, camaraderie, self-esteem, self-determination, and physical fitness, he believed that it was his duty to ensure each Veteran lived and maintained a healthy lifestyle. Through his efforts, his Knights of Columbus council has sponsored two Veterans for the past three years, providing travel and lodging funds. He also sponsored Bingo events, collected Christmas gifts for nursing home patients, and collected over 100 coats through his Knights of Columbus council. Thomas has had a tremendous impact on the Veterans served by the Durham VA Medical Center.

3/6/23 – Alec and Georgia are model volunteers in advancing the arts in Wake County. Their service as members of the Board of Directors for Burning Coal Theatre and Raleigh Little Theatre, respectively, is to be admired for their commitment to their belief that the arts are for all. Alec and Georgia have demonstrated their commitment through advocacy, philanthropy, service, and dedication to building community. Both have served as members, committee chairs, and presidents of their respective Boards and worked to see both organizations through tremendous growth. Their presence as volunteer leaders within these roles has earned them respect throughout the arts and culture community in Raleigh, New York, and abroad. Alec and Georgia lead by example and inspire others to act in service to the mission and community of an organization to their fullest potential.

2/27/23 – Jonetta Dorn is the Vice President of Philanthropies for the Assistance League of the Triangle Area. She was responsible for the smooth operation and distribution of $357,866 to Assistance League’s eight philanthropic programs. She was involved in developing the 2021 Strategic Plan. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was instrumental in the reinvention of several hands-on Assistance League activities. Jonetta also helped Assistance League expand its reach throughout the Triangle area, including a collaboration with the affordable housing non-profit, CASA. In addition, she runs the cash register at the A-Z Thrift Shop and helps other members pick up Thrift Shop donations. Jonetta does not understand the word cannot.  Through her leadership, she’s helped Assistance League figure out how they can.

2/20/23 – Bevelena Davis volunteers for the Durham Center for Senior Life (DCSL). She remains in constant contact with the staff and communicates effectively when she’s not able to fulfill her duties. Bevelena facilitates sing-alongs at the DCSL. She is always very calm, caring, and compassionate with the members and they love her dearly. 

2/13/23 – John excels as a coach, announcer, group organizer, and sponsor for the Miracle League of the Triangle (MLT). MLT provides individuals with special needs the opportunity to play baseball in an organized league. As a coach, John’s energy and attention make every player feel like part of a team and important, often for the first time in their lives. He is an announcer whose humor, wit, and encouragement are unrivaled in creating a fun game day atmosphere. He is a group coordinator and buddy volunteer, ensuring that all players get the one-on-one help they need. John is a financial sponsor, with benefits going to players, families, and the Triangle area’s special needs community. He is the rare volunteer who actively and effectively supports every aspect of MLT’s mission. In a sea of dedicated volunteers, John Davison stands out.

1/30/23 – Gene Carlone has been serving with Durham Habitat for Humanity for over 15 years and currently leads one of Habitat’s (self-dubbed) “Geezer” groups. Gene is a very valuable member of the core volunteers and leads the Siding “Geezer” Crew with patience and aplomb. He and his crew contributed hundreds of hours to side 12 homes in 2021. Their contributions helped keep the construction crews on schedule to provide qualified Durham residents with affordable housing amid a difficult year. Because of Gene’s leadership, the efforts of the Siding Crew were successful and saved Durham Habitat thousands of dollars in labor costs. Habitat is so grateful to Gene for his many years of dedicated service with the organization and his invaluable leadership of the Siding Crew.

1/23/23 – Paul Cain from Horse and Buddy! Paul Cain has helped Horse and Buddy in many ways. From digging huge trenches, to replacing fencing, to weed-eating, to installing stall mats, to transporting and stacking hay, there may not be a barn chore that Paul has not done. In addition, he created 20 beautiful wine stoppers for their gala. Some of the stoppers went for $50 and up! When Horse and Buddy inherited some large wooden dinosaurs from another program, they wanted to make a Dino Trail for the riders. Paul repaired the dinosaurs that he could, then created brand-new ones. The trail is amazing and the riders just love it. Paul is a huge part of the Horse and Buddy family.

1/16/23 – BJ Boyarsky has volunteered with Senior PharmAssist for over ten years as a Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program Counselor, providing Medicare counseling to older adults and adults with disabilities. During the pandemic, she learned how to use telehealth and on-line calendaring software to provide tailored Medicare counseling. She worked with another volunteer to create educational Medicare videos for the Senior PharmAssist website that have reached audiences beyond Durham. She has patience, a good sense of humor, and expert knowledge of the State Health Plan, Medicare, and Duke Retiree benefits. Over the years, BJ has saved individuals hundreds of thousands of dollars and given them peace of mind about their decisions. 

1/9/23 – As a member of the Board of Directors, Kenisha provides ethical and legal oversight in the policy setting and governing body that establishes the mission, vision, goals and direction of the West End Community Foundation, Inc. She also manages the personnel, marketing, financial & infrastructure operations of the Community Family Life & Recreation Center at Lyon Park which comprises of an early childhood development program, free community clinic, youth mentoring program, afterschool tutorial program, senior day care program, dance studio, gymnasium and computer labs. Additionally, she served as Secretary responsible for recording the minutes at meetings. Kenisha is an amazing asset to our community!

1/2/23 – Kurt Benrud from the North Carolina Reading Service! A NCRS volunteer since 1983, Kurt personifies the meaning of community service and volunteerism. Kurt has a regular live broadcast program and reads from USA Today, as well as being “on call” to read when one of our regular readers is unable to read for their scheduled live shift. In fact, Kurt is one of the few volunteers who has read for most of the live broadcasts, including our live AM, Noon, PM, Saturday, and Sunday live broadcasts! Kurt is always able and willing to help us out in a bind and can be counted on, even at the last minute, to ensure our live broadcasts air on their scheduled time. Kurt also pre-records a monthly Science Fiction program, as well as special programs like Christmas stories to air during the holidays. In addition, Kurt is one of our Volunteer Trainers, helping to train all of our new volunteers. During the pandemic, Kurt has been instrumental in pivoting to one-on-one volunteer training in order to give our new volunteers the best possible training experience. After 30 plus years of reading service, Kurt exemplifies the meaning of volunteerism, and we are grateful that he continues to be the example for all our volunteers. 

2022 Volunteers of the Week

12/26/22As Chair of the Board of Directors, he leads and manages the Board of Directors in legal and ethical policy setting and governing to establish the mission, vision, goals and direction of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc. Lakevious works to ensure that the Foundation can provide a continuum of innovative academic, leadership and professional development programs, mentorship and services to facilitate academic, leadership and professional development to prepare boys and young men of color to succeed in the competitive workforce. Additionally, he served as a member of the Personnel Committee guiding the development, review, and authorization of all personnel-related policies, job descriptions, and evaluation tools; as well as leading the review of the Executive Director’s performance. Lakevious is a huge asset to the Foundation and our community at large.  

12/19/22As a member of the Board of Directors, Pastor Barnes provides ethical and legal oversight in the policy setting and governing body that establishes the mission, vision, goals and direction of the West End Community Foundation, Inc. and manages the personnel, marketing, financial & infrastructure operations of the Community Family Life & Recreation Center at Lyon Park. This Center consists of an early childhood development program, free community clinic, youth mentoring program, after school tutorial program, senior day care program, dance studio, gymnasium and computer labs. Pastor Barnes is a dedicated and essential member of the WECF Community! 

12/12/22 – Herb and Jo Ann are extraordinary volunteers. They play a big part in Democracy NC’s mission to strengthen democratic structures, build power among disenfranchised communities, and inspire confidence in a political process that works for all. No matter what task they are given they are happy to do it and will figure out a way to solve any problem or learn a new skill, and with a positive attitude. They’ve done everything from replacing all of our light fixtures in the office, to putting together furniture, to making phone calls, texting voters to inform them about local elections, data entry, learning three new databases, helping with packing and shipping of voter educational resources, and countless other tasks. They always say yes when asked to help with a project and are always available. They are great role models to other volunteers as well. We truly wouldn’t be able to accomplish everything without them. They help contribute to our vision that includes ensuring voting access and fair representation for every North Carolinian— especially communities who have historically been the targets of voter suppression. 

12/5/22 -As a member of the Board of Directors, Brandon Williams works with other board members to establish the mission and direction of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation. He helps ensure that the Foundation has the necessary resources of funds and leadership to implement its mission to provide a seamless continuum of programs and services to transform the academic and professional success of boys and young men. He works with other board members to provide legal and fiduciary oversight. Brandon also Co-Chairs the Fundraising Committee.

11/28/22 -As Treasurer of the Board of Directors, Kenneth works with other board members to establish the mission and direction of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation. He helps ensure that the Foundation has the necessary resources of funds and leadership to implement its mission to provide a seamless continuum of programs and services to transform the academic and professional success of boys and young men. He works with other board members to provide legal and fiduciary oversight. Kenneth also serves as Co-Chair of the Finance Committee and is a member of the Marketing Committee.

11/21/22 -Aaron Taylor serves as a Career Prep Coach for the Young Men of Excellence Program of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc. He enthusiastically attends and sometimes leads weekly professional development and tutorial sessions to provide encouragement, empowerment, instruction, and one-on-one consultation to boys of color in middle and high school, as they research and explore career options to develop relevant career competencies and soft skills. Aaron helps students to make informed decisions to help them identify and realize their career goals and maximize their academic success, graduate high school, and enroll in and thrive in college. He also provides practical insight on career experiences that support, inspire, and inform the students about the skills needed to pursue higher education and the best-fit post-secondary option.

11/14/22 – Marco Zarate’s journey to invest in the future of Hispanic students started in the late 1990’s when he co-founded the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals (NCSHP), with the mission of promoting education among Hispanic youth in North Carolina. He has served as President of NCSHP from 2001 to 2020. Under his leadership, NCSHP has served more than 17,000 Hispanic students from more than 50 school systems in the state by offering scholarships, seminars, mentors, tutors, motivational presentations, and the annual Hispanic Educational Summit. The NCSHP has also: awarded more than $570,000 in college scholarships to 440 Hispanic students; in partnership with Wake County Public Schools, implemented the ¡Gradúate! Program, an after-school program for at-risk Hispanic high school students; launched the “TuPortalSTEM” initiative in partnership with the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to encourage Hispanic students to participate in STEM opportunities and pursue STEM careers; and promoted “Your Life, Your Future, Your Destiny … is Now… Stay in School” awareness campaign in every county of North Carolina. Marco has been instrumental in raising more than $2.5 million to benefit Hispanic students in North Carolina.

11/7/22 – Lynn Sullivan is being recognized posthumously as a tribute to her extraordinary contribution as a volunteer. Part-time Legal Aid attorney Judge Craig B. Brown (Ret.) worked on the Second Chance Project, helping clients restore driving privileges. Because the Judge is legally blind, he was unable to fully navigate online systems. Lynn Sullivan began volunteering with Legal Aid and helped the Judge by being the eyes that he needed to improve his legal practice. Lynn handled all written documents, documented phone calls, and drafted emails. She provided transportation and walking assistance so Judge Brown could attend NC DMV driver’s license hearings throughout the Triangle. Even through the first year of the pandemic, Lynn continued to volunteer with Judge Brown via phone and email. Judge Brown said: “She has a tremendous work ethic. When I came to Legal Aid in 2013, I was just picking myself up off the mat after some healthcare issues. She truly helped me get back fully on my feet to practice the joy of the law! I am so thankful for her help.”

We extend our sincere condolences to Lynn’s family and friends. May she live on in our memories.

10/31/22As a member of the Board of Directors, Brian Robinson works with other board members to establish the mission and direction of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation. He helps ensure that the Foundation has the necessary resources of funds and leadership to implement its mission to provide a seamless continuum of programs and services to transform the academic and professional success of boys and young men. Brian provides legal and fiduciary oversight for the Foundation in conjunction with other board members.

10/24/22The Disability Awareness Council enables individuals to exercise their human rights and ensures that all people with disabilities are fully integrated into their communities. Volunteers such as Charles support these efforts in a variety of ways. During this period of COVID-19, Charles often spent an 8-hour day simply delivering hot meals from restaurants to those needing additional nutrition. During the recent elections he ran errands, getting essentials for voters while they waited in line to cast their votes. He drove people with various disabilities to polling sites and waited for them to vote. He helped people with grocery shopping, home repairs, and lawn maintenance. Since his stroke and partial sight loss, Charles expressed the need to give back some of what others had given to him: a helping hand and compassion. To sum it up, Mr. Charles A Williams’ attitude about giving through volunteering simply means the more we give, the happier we feel.

10/17/22For over five years, Jennifer Thomason was a weekly Meals on Wheels (MOW) of Orange County delivery driver, partnering with a friend to deliver meals every Monday. When operations were reduced due to COVID-19 restrictions, Jennifer joined the MOW Board of Directors. While participating in Board meetings, she decided to create a Volunteer Committee to help connect the Volunteer Coordinator with a team of people who wanted to help show appreciation to volunteers. This committee also worked to figure out ways to recruit new volunteers during the pandemic and in the future, help the Volunteer Coordinator with various projects, and come up with fun, new ideas to help volunteers feel important and connected. Her service has encouraged MOW volunteers to stay positive and continue volunteering, even during the presence of COVID-19. Jennifer is kind, patient and dedicated — and a shining star.

10/10/22Marie Hopkins has been a volunteer at the SPCA of Wake County for over 7 years and in those 7 plus years, she generously donates 30-40 hours of her time per week, sometimes more.  She graciously helps by caring for the cats and small pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters. She puts a tremendous amount of time and effort into making sure that the areas are spotless and clean.  She is also an extraordinary advocate for these pets and helps educate potential adopters and visitors interested in them. Marie never asks for recognition but she has always been the first to jump in and help another volunteer or staff member with whatever needs to be done, whether that’s cleaning cages, helping staff do other tasks or doing multiple loads of laundry. Due to her unwavering work ethic, perfect attendance and reliability, and always positive attitude, SPCA’s Director of Volunteers stated, “We would be truly lost without her. We have lost count of how many pets Marie has helped find homes for, how many cages she has cleaned, and how many other volunteers she has trained to help serve homeless pets in our community. We are truly lucky to have Marie as a volunteer, friend and advocate.”

10/3/22Teon serves as a Career Prep Coach for the Young Men of Excellence Program of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc. He enthusiastically attends and occasionally leads weekly virtual professional development and tutorial sessions to provide encouragement, empowerment, instruction, and one-on-one consultation to boys of color in middle and high school as they research and explore career options to develop relevant career competencies and soft skills. Teon works with students to make informed decisions to help them to identify and realize their career goals and maximize their academic success, graduate high school, and enroll in and thrive in college. Teon also provides practical insight on career experiences that support, inspire, and inform the students about the skills needed to pursue higher education and the best-fit post-secondary option.

9/26/22For over ten years, Rosa Chrismon has been one of SAFE Haven for Cats’ best volunteers. With over ten hours per week committed to the shelter, she is a “total operations” volunteer. She organizes “goodie bags” for the adoption program, serves as an adoption counselor, and helps clean the quarantine areas. She has been a foster, a “Tabby Cabby” driver, a beta tester for a scheduling system, a peer reviewer for new process documents for volunteers, and a strong advocate for animal welfare in general. There’s nothing Rosa won’t do for the cats and for SAFE Haven. She never hesitates to take on an opportunity. Rosa is a truly gifted and passionate lady! 

9/19/22 – Larry is the Founder, President, and CEO of the Thomas Mentor Leadership Academy, and serves as its Director of Volunteers. This organization mentors young men between the ages of 9 and 18 who are being raised by a single parent, legal guardian, or grandparents. He engages speakers to discuss topics such as racism, community violence, peer pressure, self-image, and daddy rage. An Army veteran himself, he recruits other veterans to share their knowledge and skills with the mentees, and personally mentors a group of high school students, instilling self-confidence, decision making, discipline, and community service in the young men. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he spearheaded a fundraiser that raised more than $11,000 needed to enter five mentees into a national reading program called the Rising Voices Virtual Book Club and to purchase laptops for mentees. As a retired Army veteran, Larry understands service to people, community and country. 

8/29/22 – As a Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Charles Mitchell provides leadership and works with other board members to establish the mission and direction of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation. He helps ensure that the Foundation has the necessary resources of funds and leadership to implement its mission to provide a seamless continuum of programs and services to transform the academic and professional success of boys and young men. He works with other board members to provide legal and fiduciary oversight. Charles also serves on the Executive, Program, and Marketing Committees.

8/22/22 – Walden’s leadership skills and tireless efforts have helped the Orange County Disability Awareness Council (OCDAC) address disability and equal access issues in the community. His greatest strength is assisting others faced with access issues associated with reading materials and sighted guide assistance. Often, his attention to detail identifies needs for additional services that may have been overlooked. Walden volunteered in OCDAC’s office supporting clients who needed help submitting social security benefit applications and looking for social services resources. When paratransit services were unavailable, he gave blind or physically challenged clients a ride home. He also sets up displays for outside events, breaks them down, and returns them to the office. Walden has overcome barriers associated with autism to become an outstanding volunteer for OCDAC. 

8/15/22 – Since 2016, David Bormann has been a mainstay Habitat for Humanity volunteer on construction sites and in the warehouse. As a “green hat”, he is a go-to volunteer who dedicates two or more days a week to the construction efforts. He consistently provides quality work while working independently and proves to be an excellent team member. Dave is a crucial leader with other volunteers, teaching those who are inexperienced how to successfully complete tasks from framing to siding to deck building. Additionally, he mentors some of our AmeriCorps team members, helping equip others to be effective builders. Dave is known for his flexibility and willingness to do whatever is needed. His dependability and hard work supports our mission to provide affordable housing to our families.  

8/8/22 – Judy Adams is a Meals on Wheels Durham superstar. She has been a dedicated volunteer for almost four years. She spends an average of 5+ hours a week delivering three routes and making Wellness Calls. Judy has driven over 700 miles this past year delivering meals to homebound seniors and made hundreds of Wellness Calls to check in on them and to help them feel less isolated.  She delivers multiple days of the week and is dedicated to making those Wellness Calls every Friday.  She’s volunteered for over 214 shifts and she’s one of the first to sign up for extra activities.   Most recently she joined other Meals on Wheels Volunteers who picked blueberries on a Saturday morning that were being donated to our Seniors.  As if that’s not enough, she volunteers with other non-profits other days of the week.  She is a true SUPERSTAR!!!!  To learn more about volunteering with Meals on Wheels view this LINK.

7/25/22 – As President of the Assistance League, Barbara successfully shepherded its members through the start of COVID-19 and helped transition the group to virtual interactions. She is involved in all aspects of the organization, including: Strategic Planning, By-Laws, President Emeritus Group, Philanthropic Programs, and Finance Committees. Barbara also continued to work in the trenches in 2020, working regular shifts at the A-Z Thrift Shop, Assistance League’s major fund-raising program. She also put her sewing skills to work by sewing quilts for families struggling with homelessness, and helping create masks for hospital workers, senior living facilities, and mask drop-off areas. Barbara helped cook meals for women in need and assembled snack kits for students displaced by the McDougald Terrace apartment closure. She co-coordinated Operation School Bell School, the League’s signature philanthropic program.

7/11/22 – As a member of the Board of Directors, Steffen McGhee works with other board members to establish the mission and direction of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation. He helps ensure that the Foundation has the necessary resources of funds and leadership to implement its mission to provide a seamless continuum of programs and services to transform the academic and professional success of boys and young men. He works with other board members to provide legal and fiduciary oversight. Steffen also serves on the Program and Marketing Committees.

6/27/22 – Bob Meadows has been a volunteer for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina since 2014. When COVID-19 affected normal operations, he began volunteering every Tuesday through Saturday, working in the Food Bank warehouse around 29 hours a week. When needed, he is put in charge of the volunteer group. He can be trusted to lead others and does it well. In addition to physically working in the warehouse, Bob made tremendous additions in terms of volunteer engagement. One example is the Food Bank Olympics. He collected a group of Food Bank staff and regular volunteers (National Guard members) to host a morning of Olympic Food Bank events based on speed and accuracy. He planned the events and provided team shirts, a playlist with Olympic music, and medals of bronze, silver, and gold for each team.

6/20/22 – As a diabetes educator, Barbara provides encouraging advice to the patients of Urban Ministries of Wake County: Open Door Clinic. She exhibits respect when discussing adopting better dietary content, timing of eating and insulin administration, administering insulin and other diabetic medications, and encouraging an active lifestyle with individuals. She was a key contributor in the standardization of diabetes education curriculum issued through the organization. She eagerly adopted the Clinic’s electronic health record and learned how to use it to its full capacity. During COVID-19, Barb was one of the Clinic’s first volunteers who agreed to continue her practice through telehealth patient visits. This past year, she was instrumental in recruiting and training an additional volunteer diabetic educator.

6/13/22 – Having only been a member of Assistance League of the Triangle Area for a little over one year, Cora Shores jumped in headfirst to chair donation pick-ups for the A-Z Thrift Shop, the Assistance League’s primary funding source. This is a monumental job, coordinating volunteers to collect furniture and other items that are often too big for those donating to bring to the shop themselves. This task not only involves locating vehicles to pick up the items but also finding people to do the heavy lifting. Cora is there for the entire trip, including placing the newly donated items on the shop sales floor. She also helps manage and maintain the linen section of the shop and volunteers at the shop on a regular basis. Without Cora’s involvement in the A-Z Thrift Shop, Assistance League would not be able to meet its goals for helping women, children, and families in the Triangle area.  

6/06/22 – As a member of the Board of Directors, Xavier works with other board members to establish the mission and direction of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation. He helps ensure that the Foundation has the necessary resources of funds and leadership to implement its mission to provide a seamless continuum of programs and services to transform the academic and professional success of boys and young men. He works with other board members to provide legal and fiduciary oversight. Xavier also serves on the Program Committee.  

5/30/22 – Jane is a dedicated volunteer for the Daughters of the American Revolution. As State Chair of the Project Patriot Committee, she asked NCDAR members to donate items for 145 halfway boxes for the submarine USS North Carolina SSN 777. Halfway boxes are care packages given to sailors prior to deployment. During a celebration to mark the halfway point of their deployment, the sailors open their boxes. Enough support was raised to fill the 145 boxes for the crew as well as provide a halfway celebration for their children. Jane initiated a partnership with Mary Kay’s cosmetics director to provide skin protection products for servicewomen. She is actively involved in events at the Durham VA Medical Center, where she created programs for Veterans Day and Vietnam Veterans Day. Jane assisted in collecting and delivering NCPack4Patriots donations to the VA Medical Center, sending cards, ornaments, and stockings to veterans for the holidays, and helped with the Durham Vets-to-Vets fundraiser to help pay for training of rescue dogs to be paired with veterans. She is now the state chaplain, a post she was elected to in May 2021 at the NCSDAR State Conference.

5/16/22 – Welcome Baby quickly adjusted its many programs to restricted in-person contact when the COVID-19 pandemic happened. We had to make the rapid transition to the virtual world, to be able to promote the new COVID-adapted services to families. A team of four journalism and public relations students were recruited from UNC Chapel Hill’s APPLES service-learning program to assist with marketing services through the Welcome Baby’s website and social media. The students worked tirelessly to update the website by highlighting the revamped COVID-19 service and adding a comprehensive Spanish page to reach more diverse audiences. In addition, they planned, filmed, and edited two professional, informative videos that were posted on the organization’s Facebook page and other social media platforms as a creative way to engage and inform families. 

5/09/22 – Melanie Loury is the team leader for the Litter Box Team and the Pet Food Pantry at SAFE Haven for Cats. The Pet Food Pantry provides free pet food, for three months or less, to Wake County pet owners who cannot afford to feed their pets. Melanie designed the work sheet and formula for pet food distributions based on weight and number of pets in the household. She has collected data regarding the zip codes that are served, along with yearly totals for the number of pets and families assisted. Melanie also made masks to distribute to those in need, along with the guidelines from the CDC on COVID-19. She is extremely dependable, meticulous in her work, and goes above and beyond what is needed. She takes ownership of her responsibilities and leads with confidence. Melanie is a game changer!

5/02/22 – As a member of the Board of Directors, Jonathan Jerkins works with other board members to establish the mission and direction of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation. He helps ensure that the Foundation has the necessary resources of funds and leadership to implement its mission to provide a seamless continuum of programs and services to transform the academic and professional success of boys and young men of color. He works with other board members to provide legal and fiduciary oversight. Jonathan also serves on the Program Committee.

04/25/22 – Shiloh Restoration Church, Inc. is a faith-based organization created by refugees and immigrants. The organization strives to help people find solutions to problems, empower youth to be positive change agents, and become a blessing to the community. Rev. Felix develops and implements activities that increase awareness of the organization and its mission. He works to empower youth throughout the community to become more aware of local issues, realize their individual capacity, and take personal action to make positive change. Amid the pandemic Felix continued to educate youth on alcohol, COVID-19 prevention, and career awareness. He distributes food on a weekly basis and donates face masks, hand sanitizer, and other hygiene supplies to refugees and immigrants. In 2020, Felix helped over 83 people find full-time employment. 

04/18/22 – When Matt Newton interviewed to volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House and learned of the challenges associated with facility maintenance, he offered his valuable skills. He paints and makes repairs, often adding personal touches such as a fresh lampshade or electrical covers to ensure that the House is comfortable for the families served. He created new ways to organize tools and materials to help the House work more effectively. When COVID-19 hit and the onsite volunteer program paused, Matt was one of the only volunteers allowed to continue because his work was so critical to ongoing operations. He recruited additional key talent to help complete even more quality work quickly. He assisted in fundraising efforts, generating meaningful financial support by sharing his passion for the House with people in his network. His supervisor Cathy Hall says Matt is “essential to the work we do!”

04/11/22 – A mason at St. James Lodge, Andrew Holland is responsible for the official partnership between Prince Hall Masons of NC and the Alzheimer’s Association, to conduct outreach and engagement with the African American community. He is also a key volunteer and leader with a grant received through Emory University in partnership with the Prince Hall Masons. The purpose of this study is to design and test a distance-delivered training program for unpaid Black American Caregivers of persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia disorders. The course Andrew is developing with Emory and Prince Hall staff focuses on the key competencies needed to succeed in “caregiving while Black” during a pandemic and crisis. He has been involved with developing a prototype CaRE course, a culturally appropriate caregiver training and education course addressing caregiving 101, risk management, safe home, health care navigation, and self-care competencies. 

04/04/22 – As a member of the Board of Directors, Chris works with other board members to establish the mission and direction of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation. He helps ensure that the Foundation has the necessary resources of funds and leadership to implement its mission to provide a seamless continuum of programs and services to transform the academic and professional success of boys and young men of color. He works with other board members to provide legal and fiduciary oversight. Chris also serves on the Program and Marketing Committees. 

03/28/22 – After completing an internship with the Conservation Team at Piedmont Wildlife Center (PWC), Jenna Williams decided to become a regular volunteer. In April of 2020, most of PWC’s full-time staff was furloughed and all volunteers were put on hold due to COVID-19 and the statewide lockdown. During this time, Jenna committed to the demanding task of feeding ALL the animals every Sunday from the end of March until the middle of June, when volunteers could return. She helped keep PWC running when many of the staff were furloughed and legally could not come in to take care of the animals. In addition, Jenna was instrumental in planning three Fly-Thru events. These events were held in place of PWC’s normal “open house” events with the animals. Participants drove through the Center’s parking lot, stopping to meet 7-8 animal ambassadors. Jenna helped create Q&A sections for the event’s website and committed to stay from setup to breakdown during every event. She is incredibly reliable, trustworthy, and a joy to be around. We are now proud to say she has joined our staff as a part-time Conservation Assistant!

03/21/22 – In a year of few “ups” and many “downs”, Suzanne Comstock helped pull Note in the Pocket through 2020. Although volunteer numbers dropped by 60% due to COVID, the organization was still able to clothe 5,000 people; more than ever before! This was in no small part due to Suzanne’s help. She brought her adult daughter in with her and they both spent many hours reorganizing the infant/toddler room. They also created new processes for infant/toddler clothing. Suzanne’s intelligence and endless energy improved previous techniques and efficiency with all of the infant/toddler clothes. She consistently comes in on the weekends when no one else is in the office. The staff arrive on Monday to full shelves and perfectly organized infant/toddler room. Suzanne is an AMAZING volunteer. 

03/07/22 – As Chair of the Board of Directors, Lakevious Battle provides leadership and works with other board members to establish the mission and direction of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation. He helps ensure that the Foundation has the necessary funds and leadership to implement its mission to provide a seamless continuum of programs and services to transform the academic and professional success of boys and young men of color. He works with other board members to provide legal and fiduciary oversight. Lakevious also serves as Chair of the Executive Committee and is a member of the Finance, Personnel, and Marketing Committees.

02/28/22 – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD) had to relocate its shelter residents to a local hotel. In April, faithful UMD volunteer Helen Trotter observed staff members making special breakfasts and lunches for delivery to the hotel. In May, she returned to volunteer, along with volunteer partner, Evelyn and eventually her daughter, Charlene. The pandemic dynamic trio was born, and their mission to make the breakfast and lunch bags for the hotel began. Together, they prepared over 200 meals daily for hotel residents. This continued for three months, until the residents were able to safely return to UMD’s modified shelter. Once the trio heard that UMD had 65 medically fragile residents at a new hotel, they began preparing breakfast and lunch bags for those residents. They  prepared an estimated 35,000 meals between May and December of 2020. The work that the trio has done with such care and consideration is inspirational.

02/21/22 – David McNeill has been a dependable weekly Study Buddy for over five years. The Study Buddies program offers academic support to children in grades K-12 who are experiencing homelessness and are residing at the Families Moving Forward (FMF) shelter. David remained with FMF in the transition to virtual Study Buddies, determined to continue supporting the children during the COVID-19 crisis. In order to be an effective virtual tutor, building a strong foundation of trust and kindness is paramount to keep the student engaged and committed to the program. This comes naturally to David. He is best described as kind and warm while also having the ability to be serious and respectful with the children, no matter their age. David is the kind of person who remembers things about his students and makes a huge effort to connect with them both academically and personally. 

02/14/22 – For the past six years, Pauline has been StepUp Durham’s Volunteer Coordinator. With a small team of paid staff, the organization relies heavily on volunteers. In 2020, Pauline managed 68 volunteers. She provided volunteer orientations and placed them in various roles such as training facilitators, mentors, resume builders, and mock-interviews. Because of her efforts, StepUp Durham has been able to grow and retain its volunteers base, even during the pandemic. Pauline’s attention to detail makes things run smoothly. She gives folks the things they need to thrive, and she fosters a community where everyone feels welcome and supported. In 2020, Pauline’s efforts enabled StepUp Durham clients to secure 116 job placements, and supported 29 families with emergency funding around COVID-related issues.

02/07/22 – Wendy has volunteered for the Orange County Disability Awareness Council since her retirement in 2015. During the past year of the pandemic, she prepared and delivered hot meals to families in need. Many people with disabilities were nourished by her generosity. When food bank supplies required to meet a disabled person’s needs were unavailable, Wendy purchased the supplies from local stores. She managed the travel arrangements for elderly clients so that they could receive COVID-19 vaccines. She provided support in multiple ways, including sorting and repacking donations, preparing hot meals, making deliveries, distributing literature, and recruiting additional volunteers. Wendy has earned the respect and gratitude of those she serves, fellow volunteers, her church family, her neighborhood residents, and her peers.

01/31/22 – Amidst teaching courses as a professor at NC State, Dr. Dan Graham spends one or two of his mornings per week picking up retail recovery from grocery stores and delivering it to CORA Food Pantry. In addition to picking up, delivering, and transporting hundreds of pounds of food per week to the Pantry, he sends helpful articles and event notices to keep the staff informed and encouraged. It is simply a joy to peer out the window and see Dr. Graham’s white van with the bumper covered in stickers, because we know he will lift everyone’s mood. His exclamation of “Hey buddies!” echoes through the Pantry and his positive energy is simply infectious. Dr. Graham deserves to be recognized as a stellar volunteer for his consistency, positive attitude and flexibility that uplifts while ensuring that the Chatham community receives food assistance.

01/24/22 – Cindy is committed to many service lines within the American Red Cross. Her willingness to volunteer at blood drives on a weekly basis during the COVID pandemic helped the organization to continue having those drives. With her presence, the Red Cross is able to greet donors and provide guidance, as well as take care of them post-donation to ensure their donation experience ends well. Cindy has also continued her commitment with the Disaster Action Team during COVID. This position helps families who have lost everything when their home has been damaged or destroyed by fire. Cindy provides immediate emergency relief through food, shelter, and clothing to the family and helps ensure that their physical and mental needs are addressed. She also volunteers on the Volunteer Services team and serves as the Recognition and Appreciation Lead for the 53 counties that make up the ENC Region of the American Red Cross.

01/10/22 – Justin is the District Chairman for the Boy Scouts of America’s MAWAT District. As District Chairman, he presides over a committee of volunteers who work on membership, manage Scouting programs for the youth, and raise money to support Scouting activities. In 2020, Justin also took on the Awahilli District. He works with 66 Scouting units and just under 1,000 Scouts from the ages of 5 to-21. During the COVID-19 restrictions, he helped the units find ways to meet virtually and in-person while following the CDC, BSA, and government guidelines. The Occoneechee Council asked Justin to co-chair a restructuring of the council from 10 to 4 districts. He invited volunteers from the entire council to join his committee and created a plan that would best serve the youth of Scouting.

2021 Volunteers of the Week

12/13/21 -Robert has dedicated his time to the Adapted Cycling Program at Bridge II Sports (BIIS) since 2012. He primarily serves individuals who are visually impaired, amputees, individuals with spinal cord injuries, stroke survivors, and individuals with cerebral palsy. When the pandemic started, he ensured that athletes with visual impairments were staying active by personally delivering and setting up trainers that they could use to ride a bike in their home without assistance. Robert was there every step of the way, communicating safety policies to athletes and volunteers, training new volunteers, and creating an overall positive and encouraging atmosphere. Over the years, he has secured a bike shop sponsor to repair cycles, applied for several grants to buy new cycles, and tuned up the BIIS cycle fleet in his spare time.

12/6/21 – During normal operations, Catholic Parish Outreach Food Pantry is usually staffed Monday through Friday by 35 to 40 volunteers per day (from a pool of more than 350 volunteers). This all changed when the pandemic came to the US. The Food Pantry switched to curbside service and reopened with a greatly reduced volunteer group. This dedicated group of people was required to do the work of the 350+ volunteers using much more labor-intensive processes. They consistently performed on multiple days per week, in all weather conditions, varying volume levels, and with ever-increasing infection rates. They truly embody the Raleigh Diocese Catholic Charities mission of “Providing Help, Creating Hope, Serving All!” Due to their dedication, enough food was distributed to feed over 54,000 in 2020.

11/29/21 – Blind Spot Animal Sanctuary is a farm animal sanctuary that cares for over 100 rescued large farm animals. Chih-Wei Chuang is a core volunteer who has been going above and beyond for countless animals for many years. No job is too hard or too dirty: every week he drives over an hour to care for animals, clean stalls, and repair fences. He also manages the sanctuary’s website. He is a team player, is well liked, and mentors new volunteers. This past year, Chih-Wei drove through the night to rescue a potbellied pig. She survived thanks to him and emergency veterinary care and is now a healthy and happy girl! Chih-Wei is a loyal, hardworking, and compassionate individual who cares deeply about all animals that we share this earth with.

11/22/21 – After a successful 30-year career as an Executive Project Manager with IBM, Faye Sinclair offered InterAct her professional skills. She also offered her heart for the organization’s mission and the individuals and families it serves. In her volunteer role, Faye spends from 20-25 hours a week inputting monetary and in-kind donations, assisting with grant management, and implementing new software solutions that allow InterAct to capture data to better inform its decision-making. Over the past year, Faye has served as a Steering Committee Member of the Wake County Family Justice Center Strategic Initiative. Utilizing the Independent Standard’s value of volunteer time, Faye’s gift of time is valued at $297,531. However, Faye’s real contribution to InterAct is beyond measure!

11/15/21 – Iris Schwintzer has been a dedicated meal delivery volunteer with Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels since 2014. She is a dedicated, extremely generous person who absolutely LOVES to deliver meals to community members in need. Iris has a special relationship with the meal recipients and truly enjoys spending time checking in and visiting with them. She is an incredibly caring and patient volunteer. In addition to her regular weekly route, Iris is the “go-to” whenever a last-minute substitute driver is needed. Able and willing to fill-in with no advance notice, she frequently saves the day!

11/08/21 – DeWarren K. Langley serves as Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc., an academic, leadership and professional development organization providing a continuum of programs, services and mentorship to educate, engage, empower and equip young men of color aged 11-18 with the strategies they need to secure socioeconomic success. Dr. Langley co-leads the Young Men of Excellence Program and established a funding partnership with the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, collaborating with North Carolina Central University School of Law to secure meeting space. He recruits College Prep Coaches and Career Prep Coaches, and coordinates bi-monthly college and career Development Workshops. In addition, he leads the Pathway to Opportunity Program for 120 students at North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T State University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

11/01/21Phyllis Sullivan is one of Assistance League of the Triangle Area’s stars. In 2019, she co-chaired the Scholarship Committee and took the lead in communicating with applicants. Phyllis also coordinated two schools for Operation School Bell, was a member of the Strategic Planning, By-laws, President Emeritus Group, and Funds and Grants Committee, chaired the Finance Committee, volunteered at the A-Z Thrift Shop, provided meals for the women’s shelter, helped procure Wish List items for Oak Hollow transitional housing, and chaired Community Volunteers. When ALTA created the Community Volunteer Coordinator role, Phyllis took that position and developed the process and its associated forms. She is an excellent example of how an individual can make an impact on their community by performing selfless, life-giving service.

10/25/21 – Anne Lemmons is an extraordinary advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. She was an inaugural member of InterAct’s Court Navigator program, accompanying survivors to court for domestic violence protection order hearings. While working in this program, Anne identified a need for resume building workshops, which she implemented as part of the shelter and case management programs. She has become the go-to person for counselors when their clients need assistance writing cover letters, building and editing resumes, and applying for jobs. Beloved by staff and clients alike, Anne has taken initiative to fill gaps that hadn’t been identified. She gives comfort and support to survivors and gives them skills to create their safer future.

 

10/18/21 – As the chapter leader of A Moment of Magic UNC, Julia Drahzel is responsible for leading nearly 100 volunteers who provide medically vulnerable children with creative programming that fosters imagination, friendship, and hope. Julia trains her college student volunteers on a variety of topics including HIPAA, volunteer tactics, and the emotional toll that working with critically ill children can have on the volunteer. She is responsible for locating funding opportunities, interviewing and training the organization’s UNC Executive Board, establishing hospital and nonprofit connections, and fine-tuning the services provided to children. Julia is a standout volunteer and an excellent leader of the organization’s North Carolina chapter.

10/11/21 – The Museum of Durham History is a 21st century museum that uses stories about people, places and things to foster curiosity, encourage further inquiry and promote an understanding of the diverse perspectives constituting the Durham community and its history. Tom Clayton has been with us since the beginning of 2019 and quickly became invaluable to our museum community. His educational background in history instruction fits perfectly within our mission. His primary task has been to develop new content for our “Tell Us What We Left Out” exhibit, which invites visitors to use Post-It notes to ask questions or suggest topics of Durham history they would like to see in the museum. Staff and volunteers follow up on suggestions by curating “micro exhibits.” Viewing time has increased and Tom’s research on each subject matter has started social interaction and conversations that deliver on our mission of teaching history through story telling. Tom is also helping us research an outdoor exhibit about the museum’s property, stemming from visitor inquiries about 500 W. Main Street and the old bus transfer station building that the museum is housed in. We are lucky to have him share his passion, expertise, and time to make our museum a better experience for our visitors and staff alike.

10/4/21 – Kimberly Logel volunteers in the Ronald McDonald Family Room at UNC Hospital. During her shifts, she creates a warm and welcoming environment for families of inpatient children who are seeking a respite from the hospital setting. Whether it is brewing a fresh pot of coffee or sitting with a parent as they process a new situation, Kimberly does whatever she can to make family members feel at home. In 2019 she also took on the role of volunteer trainer, onboarding new volunteers who will continue her work in comforting families. In addition, Kimberly serves on the UNC Children’s Hospital Patient & Family Advisory Board, using her experience to advocate for families’ needs within the hospital.

9/27/21 – Lynne Smith has volunteered in the Welcome Baby Giving Closet since 2014. Welcome Baby is a program of Durham County Cooperative Extension and has delivered education and resources to residents for over 30 years. Families that are expecting and/or have children under five years of age (not yet in Kindergarten) may access our services. We offer positive parenting classes, car seat safety classes, and a Giving Closet with free clothing for newborns up to age five years old, maternity clothing, shoes, breastfeeding supplies, diapers, and baby equipment. Lynne chips in and helps with new volunteer training and is always willing to assist with anything that needs completing. She is exceptionally organized and uses excellent time management skills when sorting and hanging clothes. Lynne’s dedication allowed the Giving Closet to provide clothing, shoes, and accessories to over 3,500 families in need in 2019.

9/20/21 – Howard Zellman is a dedicated, positive, extremely generous person who delivers meals every week to community members in need, always with a big smile! He is a willing substitute driver, and often asks if there are any upcoming openings. Some weeks he delivers meals every day, Monday through Friday. As a Meals on Wheels “trainer,” he frequently takes potential volunteers with him on his route. Most, if not all, of Howard’s trainees have decided to join the volunteer team. He is entertaining, funny, and has a great sense of humor. He spreads joy to everyone around him — Meals on Wheels clients, staff members, and other volunteers. Howard is a true gift to the program!

9/13/21 – Since becoming an active member of Hemophilia of North Carolina (HNC), Joseppe Vilchis has made a significant impact on several of its programs. By sharing his story with state and federal legislative representatives, Joseppe helped raise awareness with local and national leaders about the many obstacles people with a bleeding disorder face, and the importance of creating legislation that will support this community. A bilingual community member, Joseppe assisted HNC staff with important initiatives within the HNC Unión Latina Program for Spanish speakers. He provided translations of written materials, interpreted when needed, made phone calls to Spanish speaking members, and led a session at HNC’s 2019 Unión Latina Retreat. Joseppe uses his time and talents to benefit other HNC members and has become a leader in the community.

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Spend this summer developing leadership skills, giving back to the community, and building friendships, all while earning 35 community service hours in a week.

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Attend the May 8, 2023 Governor's Volunteer Service Award & Key Volunteer of the Year Luncheon

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