Vote online for ‘People’s Choice’ volunteer award

Jan. 19, 2018

This year, four outstanding community volunteers nominated as part of Chandler's annual Volunteer Recognition Awards program are up for a "People's Choice Award." The public is encouraged to vote online at Voting closes at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Now in its eighth year, the City partners with For Our City Chandler to recognize outstanding volunteers for their time, talents and energy they contributed to the betterment of the Chandler community.

Nominations were accepted through last December in seven categories, with winners to be announced at an awards breakfast on Thursday, Feb. 8. One category, the People's Choice Award, is the only award where votes from the community will help determine the winner.

The Volunteer Recognition awards breakfast will be held from 8-9:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave. Below are the four nominees for the "People's Choice" Award and highlights from their nomination form:

Carolyn Arnpriester, Environmental Education Center (EEC)
Carolyn has been volunteering at the EEC since 2013, and in this short time she has become one of the most reliable and consistent leaders that staff can always count on. This year alone, she has volunteered for more than 50 hours. Her background as a teacher helped refine Carolyn's skillset, making her the perfect candidate to help run the Environmental Explorations field trip opportunities for schools and groups that allow students to explore the adventures of learning science, social studies and other subjects.

Helen Gonzales, About Care
Helen is an energetic volunteer who assists five ladies each week by taking them to their medical appointments, helping with getting food and other activities. She has taken these ladies on emergency matters to the hospital and waits all night, if needed, to take them back home. Helen also helps staff with their Spanish-speaking clients as well as brainstorming to provide better services overall. She is the first to volunteer for a difficult situation or a last-minute request.

Monica Martorano, Chandler Public Library
Monica began volunteering in 2016, right as the Friends of the Library were launching their new online bookstore. As with most new endeavors, things were hectic; processes needed to be identified and best practices put into place. Bringing in her intellect and calm, thoughtful approach to problem solving most likely honed from her years as an air traffic controller; Monica was instrumental in the creation of a streamlined assessment of each and every book donated (hundreds per week). This "quick scan" became the key that allowed the online store to grow and progress, bringing in an additional $10,000 in the first year, all going to support library programs and services.

Fernando Zavala, Sí Se Puede Foundation (SSPF)
For the past three years, Fernando has volunteered with SSPF as a mentor and coach to elementary and junior high school robotics teams. A junior at Chandler High School, Fernando has provided SSPF with more than 3,500 hours of community service. As a mentor and coach, he teaches kids how successfully fabricate land, air and underwater robots. Last year, Fernando coached a high school robotics team that qualified in their region and earned a birth to the state championships. He also facilitated a summer STEM program for Chandler Unified School District's Destination College and helped teach Chandler and Phoenix educators how to build a LEGO robot and an underwater robot.

About For Our City Chandler
For Our City Chandler is led by Chandler City Councilmember Kevin Hartke and coordinates service needs for the City and various non-profit organizations with the resources made available by churches, employers, business groups, and others in the Chandler area. Visit