Social Services Volunteer Program



Local non-profit social service agencies, youth groups, schools, service clubs and business volunteer groups and organizations are invited to submit nominees for Volunteers of the Year for 2014.

The City of Whittier Social Services Commission is seeking a nomination from your agency for its 2014 Volunteer Recognition program.  This year, the Commission will be honoring Whittier’s “Volunteers of the Year” by asking local agencies to select one worthy and outstanding volunteer to recognize.  Volunteers will be invited to a recognition reception at City Hall.  The Social Services Commission Volunteer Recognition Program was instituted as a way to honor outstanding individuals who contribute their time and expertise to the betterment of our community.  To date, more than 200 volunteers have been honored. 

We know, as you do, that volunteers are the backbone of any strong non-profit or service-oriented agency.  The City would like to have the opportunity to publicly acknowledge the greatest contributor to your agency and its participants.  Enclosed is a nomination form. 

Nominations will be accepted from the agency head or a member with the authority to represent the entire agency.  

Nomination forms are due Friday, March 28, 2014 for consideration by the Commission.

For a copy of the Nomination Form, click here

Thank you for your interest in the Social Services Commission’s 2014 Volunteer Recognition Program.  If you would like additional information, please contact the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department at 562-567-9400.


Four volunteers in local social services programs were honored by the Whittier City Council as “Volunteers of the Year” at the April 23, 2013 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:

Eileen O’Reilly was honored for her service at the Whittier Senior Center, and was also named the 2012 Whittier Senior Center Volunteer of the year. O’Reilly has volunteered for the Whittier Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department for the past six years, serving as excursion leader on various trips the Center sponsors throughout Southern California.  She is responsible for approximately 45 participants per trip, making sure all participants are checked in, receive relevant information, arrive at their destination on time, and return to the bus on time for the trip back to Whittier. She is well known for her friendliness, commitment and pleasant manner with all Senior Citizen participants and staff.

Jose Tailanian was recognized for his work at Bridge of Faith.  He initially became involved through his wife, Nelsy, the organization’s only paid employee, who would enlist her husband’s assistance at various tasks that needed to be done for the organization.  Bridge of Faith relies on donations of items for its residential program and also for stocking its store, “Upscale Resale.”  Jose picks up donations of large items and also repairs and restores damaged items into saleable, like-new merchandize by  painting, gluing, reupholstering and restoring. His assistance results in additional revenue for the store.  Tailanian also makes a weekly trip to Albertson’s Market to pick up food donations for Bridge of Faith’s residential program. 

Leticia Valdez, honored by Homework House, essentially “fell into” becoming a volunteer at the agency when she signed up her oldest child for the program.  Although her children are no longer with Homework House, she has volunteered approximately 20 hours per week for the past 16 years.  Valdez serves as the leader, organizer and motivator for Homework House’s annual end-of year picnic fundraiser, which raises approximately $1,000 each year.  Last year, she also provided leadership for a second fundraiser, yard sales at Whittier Presbyterian Church, where Homework House is located, which have raised several hundred dollars.  These funds allow for Homework House to provide additional tutoring services for its program.  She also provides leadership and motivation for getting other parents engaged in volunteering or providing donations, such as snacks and supplies.  Once again, the money saved by these donations allows for more funds for tutoring.

Ruben and Merna Zabala were recognized for their work with the SKILLS Foundation, where they have been volunteering for 5 years, averaging 20 hours each of volunteer service per month. They originally became involved with SKILLS by helping family members who are SKILLS employees.  This initial contact developed into a commitment to the SKILLS program and its goals.  In addition to the active work they do for SKILLS, they also attend various community events to promote SKILLS’ programs and conduct outreach to the community.  Zabala is always available to help transport equipment and supplies, carrying everything from couches for the annual yard sale, street signs for a community festival and a truck-full of tee signs for the annual golf tournament.  Ms. Zabala, currently a Long Beach resident, has kept up her connection with SKILLS, such as recently volunteering to attend a 5-month non-profit training session to learn how to further enhance the success of the SKILLS Foundation. 

The City of Whittier is proud to honor these four volunteers, who have given so freely of their time for the benefit of the community.


Volunteers of the year recently recognized by the Whittier City Council and Social Services Commission are (front row, left to right) Jose Tailanian, Bridge of Faith; Commissioner Charlene Dimas-Peinado; Commissioner Marisol Santos; Commission Chair Carole Marin; Merna and Ruben Zabala; SKILLS Foundation; Eileen O’Reilly, Whittier Senior Center; and Leticia Valdez, Homework House; along with City Council Members (second row, left to right) Joe Vinatieri, Mayor Pro Tem Cathy Warner, Owen Newcomer, Mayor Bob Henderson and Fernando Dutra.