WHITTIER HONORS “VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR” - 2014
Six volunteers in local social services programs were honored by the Whittier City Council as “Volunteers of the Year” at the October 28, 2014 Council meeting.
Sponsored by the Whittier Social Services Commission, the “Volunteers of the Year” program annually recognizes the crème de la crème of Whittier’s many dedicated volunteers who serve in a plethora of local social services programs.
Volunteers honored this year were:
Susan Halliday – for the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Whittier
Susan has been a volunteer at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Whittier for four years, donating about 25 hours per work to the Club. Over these past four years. Susan worked to establish a formalized volunteer program for the Club. Thanks to her efforts, the volunteer program has policies and procedures for volunteers and also for the staff managing the volunteers; job descriptions for the different volunteer positions; badges and other identification for volunteers (which is important for the children’s safety); and organizing the more than 152 volunteers who provide approximately 2,600 hours of service annually at the Club, serving more than 1,785 children. Susan, a retired principal from the Rowland Unified School District, has used her experience in education to develop an outstanding volunteer orientation slide show which gives a comprehensive overview of the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, including its history; its mission and values; roles and responsibilities of volunteers; and basic principles for dealing with various ages of youth. Her commitment to the Boys’ and Girls’ Club volunteer program has added great value to the participants’ experience, giving the volunteers the training and information they need to assist the youth and be positive role models for them. With her expertise, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club volunteer program runs smoothly and efficiently, and is a positive experience to both Club members and volunteers alike.
Lupe Alfaro – for Assistance League of Whittier
Lupe has been a volunteer at the Assistance League of Whittier for 6 years, serving an average of 45 hours per month. She is very active in the League’s three major philanthropies, and is also Co-Chair of Steering Committee for the Bargain Bin Thrift Store, which provides a good deal of the funding for the League’s programs. Lupe developed and very proactive budget for the store, almost doubling the income goal from previous years. A lady with artistic flair, she also ensures that the Bargain Bin’s merchandise is well and attractively stocked, to encourage sales. She is also Co-Chair of the Operation School Bell, which provides new clothes, underwear, socks, shoes, jackets and backpacks to more than 800 elementary and middle school students in the Whittier area, coordinating with the League, local schools and the Whittier Target Store. A teacher for 45 years, Lupe also serves on the Continuing Education Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to single-parent families to Rio Hondo and Whittier colleges. Finally, Lupe is on the Dental Care Committee, which provides dental care for low-income children. She assists in the application process, coordinates dental visits and often translates for Spanish-speaking families. Her efforts have helped the Assistance League raise the funds to help more families in need.
Susan Mitchell – for the Whittier Area Literacy Council
Susan has volunteered with the Whittier Area Literacy Council for 15 years, donating about 55 hours per month. She has served as both a Board Member and a tutor. Susan has served as treasurer of the Literacy Council’s Board of Directors for more than 10 years, and is responsible for keeping accurate and transparent records and obtaining grants and donations needed to operate the program. Her work has resulted in the financial well-being and growth of the Literacy Council. Susan had to stop tutoring a few years ago, due to some physical limitations which prevented her from driving to the Center. However, when she became aware of the waiting list, she asked that she be able to tutor from her home. Susan is now working with 11 children, mostly from referrals from Hoover Elementary School, four days a week. The students who attend the tutoring sessions at her home appreciate the warm and supportive family-style atmosphere and have learned to help each other as well. Her son Andrew said of her students, “They have created their own little extended family.” Susan’s extra efforts to help the students have paid off, as they are receiving high grades and both parents and teachers report dramatic improvement in the children’s attitude and achievement. Although her health is fragile, Susan does even more volunteer work at St. Matthias Church, the Bridge of Faith Store, veterans’ groups and the Humane Society.
Dottie Anderson – for the Whittier Area Interfaith Council
Dottie has volunteered at the Whittier Area Interfaith Council for 15 years, averaging 70 hours of service per month. Her volunteer service is not limited to this one organization; she primarily works with those who are homeless, in poverty, ill or struggling with family issues. Dottie is especially active in the St. Matthias Soup Hour and the Cold Weather Shelter program. As Dottie is the Office Manager for St. Matthias, her caring reputation has made her office the first place many people go to when they are in need of assistance. Her welcoming spirit encourages those who are poor, elderly and/or homeless, and she provides quick, processional and accurate information to direct them to the agencies that can provide the help they need. She handles a number of activities at St. Matthias for those in need, thoughtful programs that make a difference. She developed the Kenny’s Closet program, a source of basic toiletries and necessities for those in need, in memory of Kenneth Griesbach, who passed away at the Cold Weather Shelter. Dottie has also organized the delivery of mail to St. Matthias for those in need of an address to maintain connections with government services and their families, which currently services about 200 people. For the Cold Weather Shelter, Dottie coordinates the efforts of 25 churches, synagogues and the Islamic Center to ensure that space is available. Dottie always shows her caring for those in need, and continually works to refine and develop programs to serve their needs.
Jack McClure – for the Whittier Senior Center
The Whittier Senior Center holds weekly dances and Jack has been much appreciated at the Center by volunteering himself and his band, “The Mid Cities Band,” for the past 12 years. Each week, Jack and his band play for more than 100 seniors to enjoy the dances. In this day and age where entertainment is hard to find and costly, it is a tremendous asset to have Jack volunteer and organize the band, obtaining substitutes when necessary and choosing the music. Jack also plays at other Senior Center events, including the Aloha Luau, Jazz in the Patio and the Harvest Feast. In addition to performing for the Whittier seniors, Jack also donates his time and talent at the West Covina Bowling Alley Lounge on Tuesday nights and the La Habra Senior Center on Thursday nights. Jack is very generous with his time and talent to give the Senior Center members pleasure. The staff and volunteers at the Whittier Senior Center truly appreciate Jack’s dedication to the City’s older adults and the Center. They look forward to working with Jack for many more years.
Charles Barth – for the Rio Hondo Symphony Association and Guild
Charles has volunteered with RHS Association for more than 40 years, serving an average of 40 hours per month and more than 20 years with the RHS Guild, serving about 10 hours per month. His service to the Association has included many years as treasurer, dealing with an annual budget of approximately $200,000. He has faced the challenges of today’s economy to keep the Association’s budget solvent. He developed the Rio Hondo Symphony Endowment Fund and helped it reach $300,000, thus being able to continue to offer free, high-quality classical concerts to the community. He is also involved in the various musical programs for youth, raising the funds necessary to keep them in operation. Charles also serves as Treasurer for the RHS Guild, the fund-raising component of the Association. In this capacity, he not only handles raising the funds necessary for the Guild to support the Association, but also assists at the Guild’s major fund-raising event, the Garden Tour, Jack also organizes the annual Children’s Concert held by the Association and coordinates the Guild volunteers to help with the event. On a more practical level, he has computerized the records of both the Association and the Guild, teaching the staff and volunteers how to use the various software programs and providing technical support when needed. At any event, Jack is ready and willing to do any task that is necessary. He is always the first to volunteer and does an excellent job.