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Feb. 11, 2016

Chandler volunteers honored at annual recognition breakfast

Nine individuals, one group and one corporate regional office were honored yesterday during Chandler’s Fourth Annual Recognition Breakfast.

The City of Chandler joined with the Chandler Non-Profit Coalition (CNPC) and For Our City Chandler to recognize the contributions of time and talent made each day by dedicated volunteers. The honorees were singled out for special recognition during the awards breakfast held at the Chandler Center for the Arts.
Organizations, including the faith-based, nonprofits and schools that rely on volunteers were encouraged to nominate individuals with service primarily in Chandler for one of eight awards. 

“Chandler has a long and proud tradition of volunteer service,” said Councilmember Kevin Hartke. “This Volunteer Recognition Awards program is the least we can do to thank and honor those who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.”

The 2015 award recipients are:

David Miller, Innovation Award (Brings especially creative and unique solutions to the job.)
For more than eight years, Dave Miller has volunteered with Chandler Public Library's Adult Literacy Program as an English tutor. He started with tutoring small groups of non-native English speakers. Since that time, funding for the program changed and would have impacted the program. Dave saw this as an opportunity to volunteer smarter and not harder. He helped create an innovative new approach that used a “train the trainer” model.  Through his leadership, he is the go-to person to train all new volunteers. With his assistance, the program is currently helping 55 adult learners improve their English. 

Audrey Dolezal, Longevity Award (Has worked for an organization for many years, and she provides a commitment and dedication to service that is awe-inspiring.) Audrey Dolezal has spent the past 18 years volunteering at the Chandler Center for the Arts. She has logged more than 4,000 hours of service. As a volunteer, she greets patrons with a smile and assists with seating at the venue. Not only is she an asset as a volunteer, but she has even recruited new volunteers to join her. 

PayPal, Makes It Happen Award (Works for many organizations, with the goal of contributing anywhere and everywhere.)
For a third year, PayPal hosted Opportunity Hack, a two-day hack-a-thon focused on solving problems for nonprofits. Since many nonprofits don’t have access to the tech skills like a larger corporation, the hack-a-thon invited organizations to submit their IT challenges or things they wanted to do, but didn’t have the resources to make it a reality. Teams of hackers took on these projects and worked around the clock an entire weekend toward an end product. This program is a great way of using resources to make it happen in our community.

Rosemary Morton, Multitasking Maestro Award (Is someone who takes on a diverse array of multiple assignments, jobs or objectives at the same time and can juggle them effectively, while accomplishing all of them successfully.)
Rosemary Morton is a valued volunteer with About Care, the Chandler Senior Center and various assisted living facilities. She fills a variety of roles, including filling in for an employee who was out for an extended period of time. Some of her duties include answering phones, making birthday calls, providing transportation to the homebound elderly and disabled, and reading to individuals. Rosemary is efficient, has boundless energy, and enjoys giving her valuable time to volunteering.

Joy Meyer, Strong Arms Award (Is not afraid to take on any job, no matter how “down-n-dirty” it may be.  This nominee also may be called the jack-of-all-trades in an organization.)
Joy began her journey as a faithful volunteer of Matthew’s Crossing Food Back more than five years ago. In the beginning, she started with distributing emergency food boxes. As a natural-born leader, Joy soon became involved in all aspects of the food bank business and even served on its board of directors. She was instrumental with keeping the food bank in business when it experienced tough financial times.

Marilyn Ross, Sunbeam Award (Is the most cheerful person in the place! They have the best personality, attitude, and they are always smiling and helpful.)
As an after-school volunteer with ICAN, Marilyn brings her special brand of sunshine to both youth and staff. She encourages kids to engage in play activities and tutors them in homework, helps supervise meals and assists staff in managing youth behaviors. Marilyn’s impact on ICAN youth and mission can be seen daily in the hugs and smiles she gives to and receives from the youth. She also is a volunteer with Fans Across America because of her desire to make a difference to the younger generation. 

Shabab Siddique, Youth Award (Is for youth, 17 and younger. The volunteer is dedicated, positive, and hardworking or otherwise stands out from the crowd.)
Shabab is a high school student at BASIS Chandler. He’s an academically thriving student that has taken 12 AP courses and earning impressive marks in all of them. He has a perfect GPA of 4.0 and plays on the school’s basketball team. He is the reason that his school has a Key Club, as he wanted to create a club that focused solely on community outreach. He currently serves as the club’s president. Shabab wants to pursue a career in medicine and also volunteers at Maricopa Integrated Health System Hospitals.

Senior Center Quilters Group, Working Together Award (New category: This new award category is for a group (in any organization) who completed a group volunteer project in Chandler.)
The Chandler Senior Center Quilters Group consists of 18 members (17 women and one gentleman). The group was originally formed in 1995 with a total of five members. Through the years, the Quilters have grown in numbers and the impact they are making. They have donated their time to create beautiful artwork that is sold and then given back to the community. They have voted to help Fans Across America, My Sisters’ Place, scholarships for the Chandler-Gilbert Community College, the Salvation Army and more. More than $3,000 is donated each year to these organizations. They are the Crown of Jewels working together for Chandler. 

Victor and Cynthia Hardy, Mayor’s Choice Award (This award is not subject to nomination, but instead is selected by Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny.)
Very seldom does a household have a single member who volunteers and helps with community projects, but in the Hardy household, they have two! Victor is the current Pastor of the Congregation Church of the Valley in Chandler. He is also the president for the Chandler Men of Action-CMAO, an organization which looks at the success of young African-American male senior students in the Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) and the chair of the East Valley Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast planning committee. Cynthia has been a strong advocate for many causes in our Chandler community for many years.  She serves on Chandler’s Human Relations Commission, is co-chair of the Chandler-Gilbert YMCA’s Annual Prayer Breakfast and President of the Women’s Guild at Congregational Church of the Valley. Additionally, Pastor Hardy and Cynthia serve on the Chandler Celebration of Unity planning committee. Chandler is lucky to have such devoted cheerleaders, like Victor and Cynthia who always step up when needed.

Carl White, Mayor’s Choice Award (This award is not subject to nomination, but instead is selected by the Chandler Mayor.)
Carl joined the Chandler Police Department with great enthusiasm and excitement in the year 2000. In 15 years, Carl has devoted more than 8,000 hours to the Chandler Police Department (CPD) and the community. During Carl's first 10 years as a volunteer, he was a full-time realtor and managed to volunteer 80-110 hours a month. Driven by dedication and a strong work ethic, Carl volunteered in several areas with the department.  Carl's time was mainly spent volunteering as a motorist assist, where he used a marked vehicle to respond to stranded motorists or accident scenes. Carl also regularly volunteered to perform non-criminal fingerprinting for the department and to assist with preliminary background research for outstanding warrants for the telephone compliance section. In more recent years, Carl has continued to contribute to the Motorist Assist program by compiling and completing monthly reports. Carl also is Santa at the Chandler Police Department holiday party, which he makes a family affair by having his wife by his side as Mrs. Claus. It is in acts like this that Carl shares his daily uniform of a smile, a kind word, and demonstrates the CPD mission.

Leonal Martinez, People’s Choice Award (The recipient of this award was chosen from online votes and combined with votes cast by those in attendance at the awards breakfast.)
Leo Martinez is the president of the teen leadership group at the Compadre Branch. Leo takes initiative in getting teens to fundraise and to provide meals once a month to homeless adults through the I-HELP program. Leo works with a teen center and Chandler Coalition on Youth Substance Abuse, as they partner to educate the public on teen substance abuse. He also has worked the Flag Program at Sun Lakes Lions Club.

In addition to the honorees being recognized, Lori Dayton, a volunteer with the Chandler Christian Community Center (1,401 service hours) and Caryn Shoemaker, a volunteer with Clothes Cabin (more than 1,000 service hours) were inducted into a 1,000-Hour Volunteer Club for contributing more than 1,000 of service in 2015.

About Chandler Non-Profit Coalition
The Chandler Non-Profit Coalition is a coalition that improves the performance of Chandler nonprofit organizations by promoting social responsibility and community action through awareness building, collaboration and advocacy.

About For Our City Chandler
For Our City Chandler i