Salem, November 9th. The 2012 Oregon Governor’s Volunteer Awards honored 14 individuals and 12 organizations from throughout the state for their commitment to serving Oregon and its people, including FIRST Robotics (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) which has an ambitious mission: to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders.
“Oregon is made richer by the contributions of our talented and compassionate citizens,” said Gov. John Kitzhaber. “These award winners represent the best of the state—people who give their time, energy, and resources to lifting up others and making Oregon a better place to live.”
The annual Governor’s Volunteer Awards honor ordinary Oregonians who do extraordinary things and also inspire and motivate future volunteerism. Nominations were received from all over the state and were carefully evaluated by appointed review committees. Winners will receive cash grants from Wells Fargo to give to their favorite nonprofit group.
Those honored included The Oregon Coast Aquarium volunteers:
Oregon FIRST Robotics – Outstanding Statewide Volunteer Program Award
FIRST Robotics volunteer mentors build science, engineering, and technology skills, inspire innovation, and foster life-long skills including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. FIRST relies on thousands of industry volunteers to mentor and coach 6-18 year olds through the incredible task of designing, building, and programming robots for competitions. These volunteers not only help young people build STEM skills, they also mentor, guide, encourage, and inspire hope and a bright future. FIRST has reached over 5,000 students across the state, including students in the Portland metro area, Brookings, Klamath Falls, Monroe, Baker City, Umatilla, Seaside, and Vernonia. Umatilla School District Superintendent Heidi Sipe reported that after three months on the robotics team, students affiliated with gangs no longer had Facebook postings with gang symbols or references to drugs, but instead had postings about robots. Sipe described Oregon FIRST Robotics as, “Robotics, changing lives!”
Clyde Mullin – Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award Oregon State Library & Salem-Keizer Meals on Wheels Keizer Born in 1917, volunteering has been a truly lifelong commitment for Keizer’s Clyde Mullin. After volunteering for military service during WWII, Clyde and his wife were very active in Portland’s Creston Grade School PTA, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Boy Scouts, and the Mazamas. Over the past 21 years, Clyde has given 8,373 hours to repairing and maintaining Talking Book cassette players for the Oregon State Library’s Talking Book and Braille Services. Since 1994, he has delivered approximately 30,000 meals to seniors and disabled adults while volunteering for the Salem-Keizer Meals on Wheels. His lifetime of service and generosity has created a significant improvement in quality of life for innumerable individuals across Oregon and beyond. In a newspaper interview last year Clyde said, “I just keep going and I enjoy life… I feel like I’m helping somebody.”
Sean Bowden – Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award Mercy Medical Center Youth Volunteer Program Roseburg Many have described teen volunteer Sean Bowden as a natural leader. Not only has he taken leadership roles within the Mercy Medical Center Youth Volunteer Program he also helped found Roseburg High School’s drug prevention team. Sean volunteers weekly in Mercy Medical Center’s Emergency Department and has donated 323 hours since starting in late 2010. He trains new student volunteers in the Emergency Department, conducts outreach to other high schools to promote and strengthen the volunteer program, has chaired several fundraisers to help support the hospital’s health-themed day camp, and has delivered presentations about Mercy’s youth volunteer program at conferences around the country. Sean has made such incredible contributions to his community all while maintaining a 3.8 GPA.
Jeff Klein – Outstanding Adult Volunteer Award KIDS Center Bend Over the past 20 years Jeff Klein has given over 5,000 hours to improving the lives of vulnerable children and young adults. He has shared his time, energy, and resources through service on the boards of KIDS Center and St. Charles Medical Center Foundation in Bend, and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. In addition to board service, he has volunteered for the United Way, Miller Elementary in Bend, and as a coach for a variety of youth sports. Jeff currently serves as the Board Chair of KIDS Center, a regional child abuse intervention center, where he has not only increased fundraising success and improved board development but has expanded awareness of child abuse prevention training. As a result, over 40 families have attended training and, as research indicates, over 4,000 children are better protected. Jeff’s enthusiasm for volunteering has been described as contagious and motivating and inspires a passion for volunteerism and philanthropy in his community.
Shirley Carpenter – Outstanding Senior Volunteer Award Family Relief Nursery – Volunteers of America Oregon Portland In alignment with her personal mission, “to touch someone’s life,” Portland resident Shirley Carpenter has spent the past 40 years diligently working to improve Oregon communities through volunteer service. Helping serve free meals weekly with Potluck in the Park, delivering countless meals through Meals on Wheels, and helping children be successful students through her hundreds of hours of PTA work are just a few of her many contributions. Currently, Shirley is a volunteer for the Family Relief Nursery, Habitat for Humanity, and the Franklin High School PTA. At the Family Relief Nursery, she has volunteered over 1,800 hours helping vulnerable preschool children thrive through care, encouragement, and education. As a weekly volunteer builder for Habitat for Humanity she has given almost 200 hours in the past year alone. Shirley is a passionate advocate and recruiter for the organizations she volunteers with—friends, family, and neighbors are often so inspired by her enthusiasm that many become volunteers themselves.
Tualatin High School – Job Skills Class – Outstanding Youth Volunteer Program Award Tualatin The Tualatin High School Job Skills Class provides opportunities for students with disabilities to contribute to their community while learning basic life skills. In partnership with the City of Tualatin, some of the program’s activities include making markers for new native tree plantings, matching and sorting laundered gloves from previous plantings, and getting their hands dirty with at least one tree planting per year. The teenage volunteers have increased their civic engagement by helping to beautify their community and create healthy habitats for animals and birds. The Tualatin High School Job Skills Class has helped demonstrate to all students that anyone can contribute, regardless of ability.
Sherman County Emergency Services – Outstanding Volunteer Program Award Moro Sherman County Emergency Services volunteers drop everything at the sound of the pager. Family dinners, holiday events, and birthdays are often missed due to their duty to respond and help those in need. In a small, rural area stricken with wildfires and traffic collisions on one of America’s most dangerous highways, the Fire and Emergency Medical volunteers go above and beyond to provide critical services. In addition to protecting and strengthening their own community, they provide aid to the many travelers on the busy highways which pass through the county. Without the Sherman County Emergency Services volunteers there would be no emergency services available to community members or those who recreate there. Their altruistic dedication to extensive, continued training and dropping everything for an emergency has enabled the Sherman County Emergency Services to save countless lives.
Freelin-Wade – FORCE – Outstanding Business Volunteer Program Award McMinnville In 2011, Freelin-Wade, a plastic tubing manufacturer based in McMinnville, formed a steering committee to expand employee volunteerism and community support from dollars raised to employees engaged. In order to make the greatest impact, each year, the committee, nicknamed “FORCE,” selects one local nonprofit on which to focus all of the company’s volunteerism, fundraising, and community-building efforts. One of the most popular events is community-wide barbecues, with “camaraderie and expanded consciousness served as sides.” All proceeds from these events go to the current nonprofit partner. FORCE’s goal of 100 percent employee engagement was reached in its first year and employee engagement was already at 93 percent by mid-August 2012.
Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Achievement
The volunteer team has grown, with an astonishing combined total of over 115 years of volunteer hours. Each week volunteers collect over 4,000 pounds of donated food and supplies from a long list of community partners. Despite numerous obstacles, volunteers have never missed serving a meal, never run out of food, and never turned anyone away. Beyond feeding hundreds of hungry Oregonians, this career volunteer group has built a sustained community that connects people from a variety of backgrounds with a shared goal. Portland Commissioner Nick Fish said, “Potluck in the Park is an outstanding example of what caring citizens can do to enrich their community.”
Outstanding Youth Volunteer (age 18 or under)
Ryan Houlberg City of Tualatin Tualatin Coming from a family serious about volunteerism, Ryan Houlberg was exposed to civic service early and often. As a child, he volunteered at a library and joined his family in daily litter clean-up along the well-traveled greenway behind their Tualatin home. As soon as he was old enough to volunteer on his own, Ryan joined TEAM Tualatin, the city’s summer volunteer work program. After five years with TEAM Tualatin, he is now a tree planting crew leader where he impressively leads groups with as many as 40 adult and child volunteers as they help improve and beautify the city with native trees. Ryan also serves on the Youth Advisory Council, which advises the Tualatin City Council on issues of importance to youth. Due to Ryan’s participation in the council, many teens in the community have had a better high school experience. Over his lifetime, Ryan has donated over 800 hours of service to the City of Tualatin.
Outstanding Adult Volunteer (age 19-54)
Khrystyl Best Salem District Bureau of Land Management Mill City Khrystyl Best has been an exemplary volunteer for the Salem District Bureau of Land Management since she started in 2008. In the past four years, she has given more than 6,500 hours. Khrystyl supports the Fishermen’s Bend Recreation Site as an office manager, volunteer manager, and environmental education program coordinator. Along with her administrative duties, Khrystyl has helped thousands of visitors appreciate and learn more about nature in Oregon by answering questions and leading a variety of interpretive programs. In addition to her extensive hours at the bureau, Khrystyl finds time to volunteer with the Santiam Canyon 4-H and scout groups, make weekly visits to the local senior center, and serve as a math tutor for high school students.
Laurie Jenkins Liberty High School’s Liberty Fit Hillsboro Liberty High School’s Liberty Fit was designed to engage and improve quality of life of at-risk students through physical fitness. The program serves over 100 students who train for and participate in a half-marathon. Since 2008, health teacher Laurie Jenkins has volunteered a significant amount of time and energy into getting students up and running, helping them go further than they ever thought they could. Laurie has worked tirelessly to raise funds through organizing a community 15K relay race, writing grants, coordinating an annual rummage sale, and soliciting businesses for donations such as running shoes and race entry fees. In addition to bringing students together, Laurie has successfully encouraged many Liberty staff to run alongside the students. Because of Laurie’s dedication, student participants have reported increased feelings of belonging and greater interest in school.
Theresa Perry Heart of Hospice Foundation Hood River When long-time Heart of Hospice volunteer Theresa Perry was diagnosed with cancer, hospice staff expected her to discontinue her weekly visits. Remarkably, she instead put her new experiences to good use and was able to empathize with patients and their families on a much greater level. Theresa’s message of “I can still be a volunteer” not only demonstrated her dedication to providing comfort to and improving quality of life of Oregonians with terminal illnesses but inspired all those around her.
Raman Srinivasan Rasika Portland Raman Srinivasan founded Rasika in 1999 in response to a lack of Indian performing arts in the Portland metro area. Because of Raman’s dedication, Rasika has been able to put on over 150 events and expose numerous Oregonians to Indian arts and culture. Rasika is able to reach audiences beyond the Portland region such as those in Corvallis, Eugene, and coastal cities in Oregon as well as Vancouver, Richland, and Spokane in Washington. Unlike other major cities, Portland lacks a prominent World Music presenter but because of Raman’s tireless volunteer service, Rasika is able to partly fill this void by promoting the music and dances of India.
Outstanding Senior Volunteer (age 55 or better)
Nancy Allen Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Bend Five years ago, Nancy Allen became a Certified Long-Term Care Ombudsman for seniors living in state long-term care facilities in Central Oregon. As an Ombudsman she has worked diligently to enhance the quality of life, improve the level of care, protect the individual’s rights, and promote the dignity of hundreds of long-term care residents in Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook Counties. The skills she gained during her professional career as a nurse, emergency responder, and health educator have helped shape her success as a volunteer. Nancy is such a passionate volunteer and an enthusiastic advocate for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program that she has successfully recruited five new dedicated volunteers within the past year.
Anna Burke CASA of Jackson County Medford As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Anna Burke advocates for children in the foster care system. In order to advocate for the best interests of these young people, she collaborates with attorneys, caseworkers, parents, foster parents, mental health providers, and the Citizen Review Board among others. Anna has advocated for eight teens in her four years as a CASA. She is so dedicated to ensuring the health and success of the youth for whom she advocates that she has donated over 1,500 hours and driven over 8,000 miles in her own car to visit at least once a month.
Karen Burrell Linn-Benton RSVP – Senior Health Insurance Benefits Association Albany Karen Burrell has volunteered for many causes throughout her life church activities to Habitat for Humanity and 4-H to Brownies and Cub Scouts. Since 2006, she has been a volunteer educator for the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Association, a signature program of Linn-Benton RSVP. Drawing on her professional expertise as a former health educator for the Linn County Health Department and her experience working at an insurance firm, Karen provides workshops and counseling for seniors navigating the complex Medicare system. Thanks to Karen’s dedication and skilled counseling, over 800 Oregon Medicare recipients have made better-informed decisions about their health care coverage.
Sandra Fritz State of Oregon Citizen Review Board The Dalles For 20 years, Sandra Fritz has served on the Citizen Review Board (CRB) where she has made recommendations to the Court regarding the health and safety of foster children in Hood River and Wasco counties. In addition to countless hours of preparation time, Sandra has spent over 600 hours in review meetings. Because of her outstanding commitment to service, she has positively affected the lives of 1,200 children. In addition to her volunteer work for the CRB, Sandra has volunteered for Children’s Health Fairs, where she uses her years of experience as a clinical and public health nurse to provide services such as health screenings, medical advice, and referrals. Sandra’s dedication to health and child welfare has also led her to volunteer with the Red Cross Blood Mobile and the Association for the Care of Children’s Health.
Susan Latham Catholic Community Services Salem Outstanding volunteer Susan Latham has donated over 1,000 hours helping young adults who have aged out of the foster care system discover their family heritage. Through diligent effort and many hours of research, Susan creates extensive family trees to help these young adults understand more of whom they are and continue on their journey of personal growth and healing. In addition to her volunteer genealogy research, she has served as the Regional Women’s Circle Outreach Director, and served nine years on the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners. Susan is also an active project leader for Habitat for Humanity Women’s Build where she leads teams in Oregon and as well as several countries around the world. Susan started volunteering intensively after surviving cancer in 1995. She said, “After being diagnosed with a life threatening disease, and understanding that any day could be my last, I decided to show my gratitude for life each and every day by being of service to others.”
Outstanding Volunteer Program
Beaverton School District Clothes Closet Beaverton What started in the mid-1970s as a few barrels of used clothing in the McKay Elementary basement has since grown into a flourishing program that provides much more than clothes. In addition to serving as a primary source of clothing for thousands of students, the Beaverton School District Clothes Closet has become a program that encourages volunteerism and builds social capital throughout the community. Not only do volunteers have an opportunity to support families in need, but they also have a chance to meet other adults from their school community, thus forming closer bonds and encouraging each other to participate in other school and community activities.
College Dreams/Guiding Lights Mentoring Program Grants Pass For the past five years, College Dreams/Guiding Lights Mentoring Program has offered long-term mentoring for Josephine County’s 6th-8th grade students most at-risk of dropping out of school. The program offers individual and group mentoring that focuses on student strengths, motivational enhancement, recognition of accomplishments, special events, and progress incentives. Because of dedicated and highly trained volunteers, participants drop out of school 70 percent less often. John Higgins, Superintendent at Grants Pass School District 7 said, “Due to their efforts, we have seen overall verifiable improvements in the grades, attendance, and attitudes of students.”
Jericho Road Redmond Completely volunteer-run Jericho Road works to provide tangible support to the homeless and those in need within the Redmond, Oregon area. What started out solely as a transitional housing program for homeless families with children now also serves free hot, healthy meals five days a week and provides weekend food bags to students in 12 Redmond School District schools. Jericho Road has many partners in the community, and with over 100 dedicated volunteers donating more than 4,500 hours to the homeless and hungry of the community, the challenges are met and more than addressed. The Deschutes County Board of Commissioners enthusiastically wrote, “Jericho Road is one of the finest examples of how the caring and dedication of volunteers improve our community.”
Newport The Oregon Coast Aquarium isn’t just a popular tourist destination. Not only do Aquarium volunteers work to inspire the public to better understand, cherish, and conserve marine and coastal ecosystems while in the center, they also travel across the state to bring educational programs to audiences who typically cannot make it to the coast. In 2010, volunteers educated over 40,000 students during on-site programs and 15,600 students off-site. In addition to delivering programs in nearly every county in Oregon, the Aquarium Volunteer Program collaborates with community partners to address identified local issues. Annually, Aquarium volunteers staff two events that collect thousands of pounds of food as well as toys and cash donations for various local service organizations. In 2010, the volunteers of the Aquarium gave over 59,500 hours of service, or the equivalent of 28 full-time employees, showing their commitment to the cause and to the community.
NorthWest Senior & Disability Services – Senior Peer Counseling Salem Senior Peer Counseling was established in 1989 in response to the growing need for mental health services for Oregon’s elderly citizens. Aging Oregonians can face devastating life transitions and some have no one to turn to. Research shows that a strong, positive support system with encouragement from peers can help stabilize good mental health. Senior Peer Counseling volunteers serve seniors in Clatsop, Marion, Polk, Tillamook, and Yamhill Counties. Since the program’s inception, over 400 volunteers have completed the required 40 hour mentor training. During weekly one-on-one meetings, volunteers offer fellow seniors a much-needed listening ear and provide education about community resources and opportunities. A health specialist says, “We have seen outstanding results in the patients that have been assigned a counselor through this program. Our patients respond by realizing that they have value and a sense of purpose to live out the rest of their lives.”
Outstanding Business Volunteer Program
Pacific Continental Bank – Giving with Heart Eugene Each year Pacific Continental Bank’s Giving with Heart program provides employees with up to 40 hours of paid time off in order to volunteer in the community. Giving with Heart was one of the first such programs in the Eugene/Springfield area. The backbone of the program is the bank’s Corporate Giving Committee, which regularly provides resources, guidance, and encouragement for all employees to be actively involved in their communities. In 2011 and the first half of 2012, 186 employees contributed over 2,800 volunteer hours to more than 170 nonprofits. One of Giving with Heart’s most important volunteer activities is Teach Children to Save Day where employees have made 61 presentations to nearly 1,500 students about the value of saving money.
Waggener Edstrom Lake Oswego Waggener Edstrom, a communications firm with its largest office in Lake Oswego, was built on the belief that giving back is at the heart of the company. Each year the firm’s corporate citizenship team plans monthly events for groups of 8-20 employees. In 2011, not only did employees volunteer 2,657 hours to over 40 Oregon nonprofits, the firm helped Mercy Corps and Oregon FIRST Robotics better meet their missions by giving over $250,000 worth of pro bono work. Leslie Bevan, Executive Director of the YWCA of Greater Portland, said, “Waggener Edstrom volunteers are always willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved.”
- 4-H Youth Development
- Doug Alvarez – Agape House
- Barbara Barwood & Joan Kvitka – Multnomah County Public Library’s Adult Literacy Program
- Dona Brewer – Douglas County RSVP
- Jean Cauthorn – Citizen Review Board
- Elsie Christiansen – Coquille Senior Nutrition Site
- Clackamas County Money Management Program
- Marge Congress – Tualatin Public Library
- Vito DiMaio – Grandma’s House of Central Oregon
- Douglas County Cancer Services
- Jane Drey – Healthy Beginnings
- Kaitlin Endres – Pink Lemonade Project
- Kricia Ruano Espinoza – Portland Children’s Museum
- Susan Faulhaber – Molalla Police Activities League
- Sam Ford – City of Tualatin
- Lee Ann Forrester – Think Again Parents of South County
- Ralph Gilliam – Impact Northwest’s Club Impact
- Denise Harrison – Clackamas County Dog Services
- Cheryl Hefley – Slater Elementary School & Kids Club
- Ellen Hyman – Citizen Review Board
- Valerie Ilsley & Bruce Murray – Social Venture Partners Portland, Metropolitan Family Services, & CASH Oregon
- Klamath Basin Audubon Society’s Winter Wings Festival
- Larry Kogovsek – Central Oregon Council on Aging
- Lord & Schryver Conservancy – City of Salem Parks
- Tyler Massey – Salem-Keizer Education Foundation
- Sofia McManus – CASA of Lane County
- The Nature Conservancy of Oregon
- Rusty Nelson – Children’s Cancer Association
- Vern Nelson – Clackamas County Dog Services
- Jane Netboy – Campaign for Oregon’s Seniors & People with Disabilities
- Newport Police Volunteers
- Pendleton Round-Up Association
- Elizabeth Plude – Friends of the Independence Public Library
- Jinnet Powel – Skyline K8 School
- Project Linus of Josephine County
- Sister Barbara Raymond – Adelante Mujeres
- Salem-Keizer Education Foundation’s Awesome 3000
- Schoolhouse Supplies
- Shaver SUN Food Pantry
- Jan Shields – Foster Grandparent Program at Umatilla High School
- Southern Oregon University Food Rescue Program
- Joel Starr – US Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Region
- Teri Thomas-Peterson – North Portland Tool Library
- Jeanette Wright – Child Development Center
- Write Around Portland’s Creative Writing Volunteer Facilitator Program
- Margie Yasuda – New Hope Kitchen
Oregon Volunteers could not put on this wonderful event without the generosity of our sponsors. If you are interested in sponsoring an award, please check out our 2012 Awards Sponsorship information.