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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 Please feel free to share them. 

Resources empower Baltimore area residents

The March/April edition of The Time of Your Life TV show features Reimagine Aging, an initiative of the Baltimore County Department of Aging (BCDA); the Community Resources 2017 guide; and valuable information for caregivers.

Reimagine Aging - Joanne Williams, director of the BCDA, shares information about the agency’s 2017 initiative called Reimagine Aging.  Learn about the many facets of BCDA’s initiative, why this topic was selected and how the BCDA plans to challenge stereotypes and perceptions of getting older.

Community Resources 2017 - Debbie Orlove, BCDA community business liaison, talks about how this complimentary resource serves Baltimore County and City residents. To pick up your complimentary copy of Community Resources 2017, please visit your local senior center, Baltimore County Public Libraries, or call MAP at 410-887-2594.

Caregivers Program - Michelle Marseilles Bruns, manager of the NFCSP Caregivers Program at the BCDA, will discuss the agency’s upcoming Family Caregivers Annual Mini Conference at the Liberty Senior Center on April 22, 2017, from 8:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  This is a free opportunity to learn about about advance care planning, caregiver stress, legislative updates, the National Health Care Decision Making Day and other resources.  For additional information about the conference, please visit; click on the caregivers information link, or call 410-887-4724.

Upcoming Opportunities - Debbie Orlove shares information about special events, health promotion opportunities and programs at Baltimore County’s 20 senior centers and Senior Box Office, options for lifelong learning, travel, health promotion planning, evidence-based programs, and special events and travel. 

To view streaming video of the full show, go to the Time of Your Life page at

In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25, in Baltimore County, at the following times:

Sunday - 1 p.m., 5 p.m., 9 p.m.

Monday - 9 a.m., 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday - 2:30 p.m., 7 p.m.

Wednesday - 12 p.m.

Thursday - 11 a.m., 9 p.m.

Friday - 12 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 8 p.m.

Saturday - 1 p.m., 5 p.m., 9 p.m.

Revised October 16, 2020               
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