2015 Volunteer Superstars

Couldn't make it to our Service Showcase? Then, let us introduce your 2015 Volunteer Superstars that we honored. We also recognized Diana Painter as the winner of the t-shirt design contest you can see the results of on our Facebook page.

From Allens Pond:

Amanda Palmer - Amanda graduated from Bristol Agricultural High School and currently attends UMD.  Amanda completed a 250+ hour volunteer internship with us last summer and has returned as volunteer, assisting us in our osprey project and working hard to get the season underway.  She is an excellent example of a volunteer superstar and we’re thrilled to have her here at Allens Pond.  She is applying for a paid fellowship for the summer and is super-motivated to pursue a career in wildlife biology.

From Operation Clean Sweep:

Stephen and Michele Kozak - Steve & Michele have been involved with Operation Clean Sweep since it started in 2006. Michele read about it in the paper and got involved - and as soon as Steve retired he joined her in cleaning up the neighborhoods of New Bedford. Both have always kept their property clean and wanted to do something to help keep New Bedford Clean -because they can't stand litter! Steve & Michele's most Memorable experience with Operation Clean Sweep came months after the tragic death of their grandson, 16 year old Alec Viera.  In September of 2011, they hosted a cleanup in memory of their grandson and began a scholarship in his name.  Their daughter and Alec's Mom, whom they have since unexpectedly lost, came out and cleaned up alongside many NB Voc students who were Alec's friends. Alec was a clean cut kid and he cared about his neighborhood. Each year and at every cleanup, during times of personal tragedy and physical health issues, Steve and Michele have shown up with smiles on their faces and goodness in their hearts.  They greet and are greeted by friends that they've met during their years of volunteerism and community service.  They bring their own cart and always welcome new individuals that need to partner with someone rather than go out to clean the streets alone.

From ArtWorks!/The New Bedford Art Museum:

Paula Cruz - Paula was born in the Philippines, and lived in Saudi Arabia for 8 years.  She grew up in East Longmeadow, MA, went to and college at UMass Dartmouth and is currently a resident of New Bedford, MA. She is an Operating Room Nurse at St. Luke's Hospital. Paula Cruz started volunteering with ArtWorks! in 2011 when she was a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, through their Endeavor Scholarship Program. She helped them to manage and run major fundraisers as well as help with their gallery. She is very dedicated to their organization and mission and continued to volunteer after she graduated last spring. She went above and beyond what was required of her and was always willing to put in the time and energy to help us with whatever we needed. This past winter she became a member of our Board of Trustees and continues to volunteer her time, skills and knowledge.

Emily Reinauer - Emily started volunteering with ArtWorks! in 2011 when she was a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, through their Endeavor Scholarship Program.  Having the opportunity to have her volunteer with us from 2011 through 2014 had been a tremendous help and learning experience for us.  Each year she was able to take on more responsibilities and became a vital part to our organization.  She is very dedicated to our organization and our mission and volunteered with us not only through the academic year but also through inter-sessions which was a tremendous help to us since all of our other volunteers had gone home for the school break. Throughout the years even when she had finished the volunteer hours she needed for her scholarship she continued to come and volunteer with us whenever we needed help. Over the years she has grown into a vital part of our organization and we were very sad to see her leave last spring.  With the new chapters she has started in her life she has also started giving back to us in a new way; she is now able to donate her work to our fundraisers to help us raise much needed funds.

From AHA! New Bedford:

Alyssa Nastri - Alyssa is a junior at UMASS and an Endeavor Fellow and as such, she commits to volunteer with an organization for four years. AHA! New Bedford (Arts, History, Architecture) was lucky that Alyssa came to work with us as her service commitment.She is a super star in all ways - Alyssa is competent, cheerful,  reliable and resourceful. She is a hard worker, great attitude, can do anything from organize the "Shrink Your Footprint Fair" for April AHA! night  to manage a donor database, to meet partners and deliver materials, to organize the office and pack and unpack the entire filing system during a recent move - all with a big smile and a good cheer. She has done independent research for the Mass Cultural Council with AHA! looking at sectors in the creative economy; she has come in on her vacation to hand out the paychecks for City Celebrates! New Year's Eve and helped AHA! with the move this summer. In addition to AHA!, Alyssa is a tutor, a mentor, organizes multi-cultural programs and is an officer in the Honors Program. I am often in awe of her. The AHA! team is so honored that she is spending her undergraduate career helping us serves the needs of the community.

Our Sisters' School:

Linda Fenton - Linda worked tirelessly for 6 months during a critical period when OSS was without a development director in 2013. She jumped in and kept OSS running even though she'd just retired from Charles River School (as Director of Development). She continues to volunteer a couple of days a week to help with the transition and has now become an integral and much-valued part of the Advancement team.  She has already logged 569 hours this school year!  Not only is Linda a hard working and dedicated volunteer, she is also one of the most caring, supportive, and upbeat members of the Our Sisters' School team. 
The Marion Institute:

Andrea DeVeau - Andrea has volunteered with the Marion Institute at Connecting for Change for the past two years. She is a stellar human being and her positive energy is infectious, even in the most tense of times. She is always willing to help where needed and always with a smile on her face! You couldn't ask for a better volunteer! Andrea DeVeau works with middle school children with behavioral and developmental disabilities. She is also a yoga instructor dedicated to bringing yoga to people of all ages, experience levels and comfort levels. During the summer months she can be found dancing and meditating on the beaches of her home town, Westport, MA.

Sharing the Harvest Farm:

Anita Moses - Anita first came to the farm in 2010 to our Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast, but it wasn’t until a few years later in 2013 that her impact became profound. Beginning in March, 2013, Anita volunteered more than 166 hours over two seasons and in 2014 served as our most popular Sharing the Harvest Farm Camp Counselor for 20 weeks at Camp Metacomet. More than her hours, Anita’s impact is in her attitude and her actions. Whether it’s special events, clothing drives, or volunteer meetings, Anita helps with everything we need and does so with an incredibly enthusiastic and infectious attitude. Everyone is better off for having spent time with her. Without Anita we would not only be far less productive, but more importantly, we’d be far less fun, and it is knowing that Anita Moses helps make everyone’s day brighter makes her our Volunteer Superstar!

Bristol County District Attorney's Office:

Ashley Bendiksen - Ashley Bendiksen is a resident of New Bedford, MA and is presently employed by the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. Outside work hours, she is actively involved with numerous organizations throughout Southeastern, MA , advocates on a variety of causes, and is committed to philanthropic efforts that improve the lives of those living across the region. Ashley serves on several boards and committees and holds leadership roles which advance women's empowerment, leadership development, domestic violence advocacy, Alzheimer’s advocacy, and mentoring to name a few. These commitments result in 500 volunteer hours annually. Her most prominent commitments are as follows: YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts, YWCA Leading Ladies, Miss New Bedford Scholarship Foundation, The Women’s Fund of Southeastern MA, ONE Theater Group, Southeastern MA Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. In addition, Ashley spends her time year-round supporting events (fundraisers, awareness walks, 5Ks, auctions, benefit dinners, etc.) and organizations that serve Southeastern, MA.  As a result, she has crossed paths with numerous agencies and organizations in addition to those already mentioned.

Bristol Community College:

Beth Dube - Miss Dube has been, and continues to be a student who is very involved with service.  In the past, she has performed service-learning every semester she has been enrolled and has been involved with various clubs on campus.  She has served on the BCC Student Senate for the past two years (this year serving as President of the Student Senate).  She has also served the college as Student Ambassador, served as student representative on various committees, and has worked with the BCC Foundation to assist with fundraising. Beth has also received the 2014 Maury Kusinitz Volunteer of the Year Award, which is awarded by the BCC Foundation. This year, she has been nominated for the Newman Civic Fellows Award, and has applied for the Presidents Volunteer Service Award having a total of 1,063 volunteer hours.

PACE Inc.:

Lynne Mack - For the last ten years or so she has been dressing up in costumes and face painting for many charity events. She does balloon animals, face painting, and she is a chocolatier for many fundraisers. She volunteers at PACE and has put together their last four events. Also Lynne is the first person to lend a hand to any and all persons who need help. Without her most fundraisers wouldn't have been such a success.

UMass Dartmouth Hunger Initiative:

Lydia Silva - Lydia, recently appointed permaculture consultant for UMass Dartmouth, has worked as an agrarian and community educator at Suffolk, Bristol Community College and Boston School of Architecture in addition to being trained at UMass Amherst in their flagship permaculture design program. Lydia's dedication to using her knowledge in empowering local communities and their food systems as well as sharing her wealth of expertise on permaculture principles with students, faculty and community members at UMass Dartmouth is admirable. Coming to Westport to do just that, we feel we are lucky to have her as a part of our local and university community. Through hosting numerous workshops with our students, networking with faculty and local farmers, Lydia has worked very hard to launch a community garden to benefit UMass Dartmouth as an edible ecosystem, living laboratory and a community building space. We are all looking forward to working with her in the near future and on. Thank you for all you wonderful work and guidance!

Battleship Cove:

Rich Angelini - Rich has taken a leadership role in the volunteer community at Battleship Cove by leading the restoration of the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr.  He organizes twice-annual volunteer weekends on the KENNEDY, the last of which set a record with 86 volunteers attending.  Rich pays meticulous attention to the authenticity of the ship’s restoration, and uses his spare time to network and procure needed equipment.  He has a great skill in uniting veterans, active duty Navy sailors and volunteers alike in working toward a common goal, and he has created a very positive volunteer culture on the destroyer.

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