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Title: Kamenetz Recognizes Baltimore County Volunteers

Annual Volunteer Luncheon Highlights Contributions and Service

Today, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz offered his thanks and congratulations to about 1,000 volunteers who serve their communities in a multitude of different capacities. He joined the Baltimore County Department of Aging at their 39th annual luncheon honoring volunteers who contributed at least 100 hours last year to service organizations in Baltimore County. Volunteers with 1,000 hours of service last year and volunteers who have reached 4,000 hours of lifetime hours of service received special recognition. Awards were also presented for the Volunteer of the Year and Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Champion Awards.

The event recognizes the many services that volunteers provide the citizens of Baltimore County, such as tax assistance, kindergarten classroom help, emergency preparedness assistance, meal delivery to homebound seniors, driving seniors to medical appointments, helping the environment and much more. The luncheon is paid for in full by department partnerships with the business community through the creation of the Community Resources publication.

Volunteer of the Year

The Volunteer of the Year for 2017 is Charlie Conklin, for whom volunteering is an integral part of his life. Not only is he a registered RSVP volunteer, but he also has spent decades serving as an environmental advocate and volunteer throughout the Baltimore region. He serves on the RSVP Advisory Council and is a leader of one of the program’s agency partners, the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy.  This past year he went above and beyond to assist the RSVP Office in giving a presentation to Towson University students about the importance of volunteerism for seniors.

Nonprofit of the Year

The 2017 Nonprofit of the Year Award winner is the Parkville Senior Center Council. At the heart of the Parkville Senior Center is a philanthropic council spearheaded by 14 council leaders and supported by countless center members and staff. Annually, the council designates funds to assist seniors in need with prescription costs, BGE turn-off notices, and housing assistance. One of the council’s most notable programs, the Adopt- A- Senior holiday donation drive, provides assistance annually to more than 120 seniors. Donations of household items, clothing, toiletries and food are collected throughout the year and then distributed during the holiday time. Over the course of its five years of operation, the drive has turned into a community-wide effort involving the support of local businesses, community organizations and individuals.

Economic Opportunity Champion Award

For the past four years, Debbie Cunzeman has been an inspiration to the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) office. Working behind the scenes, she assists with the essential task of statistical reporting Last year alone, Debbie entered as many as 6,070 client contact forms into the database.

Educational Services Champion Award

Instilling a love for learning is one of the many gifts that Sondra Spencer offers during her weekly volunteer visits at Lyons Mill Elementary School in Owings Mills. Her primary assignment is to work with small groups of students to coach them on letter sounds, sight words, and colors. The additional attention that she gives to the students ensures everybody is progressing and nobody is lagging behind in their development. She makes it a point to greet everyone in the school, helping to create an atmosphere of collaboration in the building.

Health and Wellness Champion Award

Volunteerism and wellness have long been influencing factors in Mary Branch’s life. When she joined the Fleming Senior Center, she decided to take an active role in educating others about the importance of their health. She initiates monthly presentations to provide techniques on how to make healthier lifestyle choices.

Special Acknowledgement 

The Baltimore County Department of Aging highlighted Jana and Karollmae Tan, two of the youngest guests at this year’s luncheon. The sisters are high school students enrolled at Maryvale Preparatory School. They began volunteering at the Overlea Senior Center during their summer break last year. They came in nearly every day, each offering more than 100 hours of service, and have continued to serve throughout the school year during holiday breaks. They willingly take on any task at the center, including outdoor grounds-keeping, assisting with planned programs, and helping with the Eating Together program.

Photos from today’s event are online at https://flic.kr/s/aHskVej7A5. Please feel free to share them. 


 
 
Revised September 26, 2016