The volunteers of Addison County, Part 2
Editor’s Note: It came to our attention that some of the United Way of Addison County volunteers were inadvertently omitted from our Volunteer Spotlight pages in last week’s Addison Independent. Please help us in thanking these generous volunteers for giving their time to our community!
While living in Portland Oregon, Bruce Bayliss accumulated extensive experience on several boards that focused on issues such as improving education in Haiti and fostering relations between Japan, China and the greater Oregon community. After relocating to Weybridge, he joined the Board of Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater where he served for three years before becoming a generous member of United Way of Addison County’s Board. Bruce and his wife, Michele are thankful to live in Addison County and his community volunteer work is a way for him to express that gratitude. “Bruce gives generously of his time and talent,” says Helena Van Voorst, UWAC’s Executive Director. “After nearly every Board meeting he shares an observation or idea with me. I really value his quiet, thoughtful guidance.” Thank you Bruce for giving back to our community!
Anne Wallace thinks of her volunteer work as a way to do the things she loves while also helping others. She keeps busy juggling multiple volunteer jobs for non profits such as Meals on Wheels, Wellspring Singers and Town Hall Theater — each for over ten years. She also serves on the board for Lawrence Memorial Library, teaches knitting to children after school and is a Justice of the Peace. These opportunities allow Anne to enjoy her favorite activities, such as singing, delivering meals to people, meeting new people and lending others a hand. Thank you for the time you give, Anne!
Sally fosters her many interests by volunteering. Her passion for the outdoors and protecting the earth is satisfied by volunteering for Bristol Energy Committee, Addison County River Watch Collaborative and the Bristol Trail Network. Her love of dance led her to open and volunteer for Open Dance in Bristol. “I love dancing freely and used to go to VT Dance Tribe regularly. I no longer wanted to drive to Shelburne or Burlington, so started one at Open Sky Studio with the help of friends. We love it!” Sally volunteers there about 12 hours per month, creating playlists, opening and setting up the studio, and maintaining the mailing list. She also serves on MAUSD’s Community Engagement Planning Team, which aims to get more input from the community about what matters to them in regards to decisions about the school. “It feels great to be embarking on a more comprehensive effort to include all voices in decisions about education in the district,” says Sally. Thank you Sally for your time and commitment to our community!
Lori Hines Mackey
Lori volunteers for several different organizations in Middlebury. She is an active member of the Porter Auxiliary Board, as well as MESA (Middlebury Elementary School Association). She volunteers for the Middlebury Maple run and Better Middlebury Partnership and has participated in United Way of Addison County’s Days of Caring. Thank you for your involvement in Addison County, Lori!
Eileen is a champion for our local elderly population. She volunteers at Elderly Services where she often reads to clients on her lunch hour. “I’ve been volunteering at Elderly Services for seven years,” she says. “I love being able to give back to our senior population, all who have lived interesting lives, have personal stories to share, and have contributed to the rich fiber that makes up Addison County.” She also delivers meals to home bound elderly residents. Sally’s time at Elderly Services also helps her feel connected to her 91-year-old mother, who resides in assisted living out of state. She explains, “Although I am not able to participate in her activities or daily life, it means quite a lot to be able to balance my mother’s care by contributing to our local residents’ enjoyment of life. I do it for them, I do it for my mom.” Thank you for your commitment and time, Eileen!
Vijaya’s volunteer journey began by doing data entry in the RSVP office, after which she started spending time directly with recipients of nonprofit services. “I read to the children at Mary Hogan with Everybody Wins,” says Vijaya. “I loved the people I worked with…Serena and Lynn. I then read about opportunities in your beautiful newsletter and started volunteering for painting with the Memory Care unit in Porter Rehab. I then picked up delivering meals on wheels last June. I feel that the work is its own reward and have thoroughly enjoyed learning about our community and meeting people, and am grateful for the various opportunities to serve.” The community is grateful for your generosity and care, Vijaya!
Corinna Noelke and Maria Graham
This duo runs the Middlebury Figure Skating Club, which offers lessons to children starting at age 5. Each year, over 60 local kids showcase the skills they learned by performing in the Middlebury College Winter Carnival Ice Show. More than a thousand people come every year to watch it! Thank you for your involvement in bringing skating to Addison County!
Logan Price works as a financial advisor and likes to use volunteer opportunities to develop his skills and make connections, while giving back to the community. He helps the United Way of Addison County by serving on the Board of Directors, working with our Development Committee on our annual campaign, and assisting qualified residents to complete their taxes through UWAC’s “My Free Taxes” program. “One thing I really appreciate about Logan,” says Helena Van Voorst, UWAC’s Executive Director, “is his desire to practice new skills as a board member. He volunteered to take an active role in fundraising because he wanted to learn something new – in the non-profit world we call that hitting the board member jackpot!” Logan also serves on the Board for College Street Children’s Center, is a member of Middlebury Rotary, and the treasurer for the Middlebury Dog Park committee. Logan lives in Middlebury with his wife and two young children. Thank you for your time and devotion to Addison County, Logan!
Ron has been volunteering for United Way’s Days of Caring for the past 5 years. Days of Caring happens yearly in September; it is a day when Addison County residents rollup their sleeves to improve our community one project at a time. Ron got involved because he likes to help others and give back to the community. He is also a Sustaining Member and Trustee at the Shoreham Historical Society. Ron served as an Addison County Deputy Sheriff for 25 years during which he volunteered many hours providing rides and visiting home bound residents. Thank you for your involvement with Addison County, Ron!
Melanie Kessler, volunteers as the director and founder of the human powered parade and founder of the Bristol Town Safe Routes to Schools Task Force. A long time bike advocate, Melanie has been a nationwide leader in promoting human-powered transportation. Before moving back East, she launched Walk to School Day and Safe Routes to School programs in Oregon and California. Thank you for your bike advocacy, Melanie!
Brad Armstrong of Cornwall says that Meals on Wheels (MOW) delivery day is his most satisfying day of the week. He has been volunteering as a driver for Age Well’s MOW program for a year and a half and also volunteers at Addison County Food Shelf. “I feel that having access to good food promotes health and helps us to create joy in our lives. MOW gives me a chance to bring people health, joy, and a few laughs, too. I so enjoy meeting new people and then getting to know them over time. Even if it’s only a few minutes a week, many people opens their hearts to me to tell their stories. And so my own heart is kept open to the difficulties of being homebound, being in need of nutrition and companionship, and to appreciating the strength, grace and humor that these clients embody.”
Age Well’s Meals on Wheels Volunteer CoordinatorChristine Czarny says Brad is a joy to have as a MOW volunteer. “He is patient, flexible and extremely generous of his time and knowledge. Most recently, he assisted our agency when a representative from Bernie Sanders office participated in “March for Meals Community Champions week”, taking them along on his deliveries and answering questions about the program.” Thank you for your time Brad!
Mary volunteers much of her time at Ferrisburgh Central School, where two of her children attend. She is active in the Ferrisburgh PTO and coordinates the school’s Four Winds program, which teaches kids about science and the natural world through hands-on learning activities and outdoor experiences. Mary also coordinates ANWSD Open Gym (an unstructured playtime where parents can bring their toddlers and preschoolers) and serves as co-leader of a troop of Daisy Scouts. “Some of the Daisy Scout programs were at risk of being discontinued without more volunteers stepping up,” explains Mary. This year, Mary has also volunteered many hours as a new member of United Way of Addison County’s (UWAC) Community Impact Funding (CIF) Committee. The Committee is charged with reading and scoring grants submitted to UWAC by Addison County nonprofits that need funding to support their human service programs. The process allocates thousands of dollars (raised through donations by local individuals and businesses) to roughly 30 Addison County nonprofits working to improve the health, education and financial stability of those who need it most in our community.
Ursula Olender, of New Haven, volunteers as Girl Scout troop leader and trainer of adult Girl Scout volunteers. She will also serve as camp director for Green Mountain Day Camp, which is a one-week summer camp run by Girl Scout volunteers at Branbury State Park in Salisbury.
“Ursula has been a great asset to the Addison County community,” said Sarah Reilly, lead community and member support specialist for Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains. “Girl Scouting is near and dear to her heart and her dedication to the girls and adults in her community is inspiring.” Ursula is also the internship and career advisor at Middlebury College, where she advises students on their career paths. Her Girl Scouts and college paths intersect at a special event she helps run at Middlebury College, called Girl Sports where college students lead the younger girls through a rotation of clinics in various sports, like swimming, soccer and basketball. Working with middle-school and high-school girls and those who are economically disadvantaged is where Ursula feels most energized. She does what she can to make sure that the Girl Scout program is available to every girl who wants to participate. “I’d love to see more people who don’t have kids, or whose kids have grown up” do this, she said. “You don’t have to be a mom to be a Girl Scout leader.” Thank you for your commitment to our young girls in Addison County, Ursula!
Megan has volunteered at Homeward Bound, doing administrative work in the office where she considers it “a thrill and an honor to work with such wonderful people and animals!” She also serves on two boards: the Middlebury Area Community Garden, and the ACSWMD/BOS (New Haven Alternate Representative to the Addison County Solid Waste Management District Board of Supervisors.) Thank you for your time, Megan!
Shane Keen of Middlebury has been a volunteer for Age Well’s Meals on Wheels program for over five years. As a volunteer he loves providing nutritious meals and engaging in friendly conversations with seniors in his community. Shane has also served as a board member for the Middlebury Amateur Hockey Association for the past year. Shane’s daytime job is with the National Bank of Middlebury. Thank you Shane for giving your time to our community!
Maria cares for the health of shelter animals at Homeward Bound, where she has volunteered as an Animal Reiki Practitioner for two years. “Sharing healing and being with the shelter animals brings me much joy,” says Maria. She is a Homeward Bound board member, as well as a Reiki volunteer. “The animals and people at the shelter ADORE Maria,” says Nance Hall the Volunteer Liaison at Homeward Bound. Thank you for your time and heart for animals, Maria.
Barbara “Shulamith” Clearbridge
Barbara volunteers for the Reparative Justice Board, which is part of Addison County Restorative Justice Services and she takes music programs to elderly clients at Project Independence. Addison County Independent readers might recognize her as one of the writers for Ways of Seeing section. In the past, Barbara has sung with Wellspring (a hospice choir) and delivered meals for Meals on Wheels. Nationally, she is on the steering committee for the War Tax Penalty Fund, which assists people who are conscientious objectors. Thank you for your time Barbara!
Middlebury resident Peter has spent the past seven years volunteering for Age Well, Hospice Volunteer Services and Town Hall Theater, and has recently added Volunteer Dog Walker for Homeward Bound to his resume. When asked what he enjoys most about volunteering, Peter responds, “I feel needed and appreciated but more importantly, it expands my appreciation and understanding of people whose circumstances and life experience may be very different from mine. The wider understanding makes me more comfortable, compassionate, generous, present and “happier” than I might otherwise be. It is a gift to me for which I am deeply grateful.”
Age Well’s Meals on Wheels Volunteer Coordinator, Christine Czarny, sings Peter’s praises. “Peter is an amazing and kind volunteer. He not only delivers meals in his hometown of Middlebury, but helps out in a moment’s notice in other towns such as Bridport and Vergennes, where we have a critical shortage of Meals on Wheels volunteers. Peter is extremely reliable, sometimes delivering two routes in a day if needed, and will train and orient new volunteers that come on board. He always has a positive attitude, and exudes the compassion that makes him an incredible asset to our agency. We are very lucky to have him!” Thank you for your dedication Peter!
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