2011-12 Spotlight Volunteer Award Recipients

At United Way's March 2, 2012 Annual Meeting, the following exceptional volunteers were recognized by their agencies for giving their time and talent, working at our agencies to extend our ability to reach those in need. Our thanks and congratulations to these individuals whose contribution of time and talent is so valuable and appreciated.

Achievement Centers for Children

Peter Shipley, 4-1/2 year volunteer

“As chair of our Development Steering Committee, Peter helps ensure that much needed charitable gifts are raised to fund our programs,” said Patricia Nobili, President and CEO. “As host of a ‘get to know us’ event, he made introductions to potential new funders. He is responsible for our board giving campaign, is supportive of staff, interested in new fundraising ideas and actively promotes our mission and work.”


Adult Guardianship Services

Shirley Monroe, 6-year volunteer

“As an Adult Guardianship Services volunteer guardian, Shirley is able to help those who don’t have anyone else who cares for them,” said Barb Matlak, Volunteer Manager. “She has a compassionate way of dealing with her wards on challenging matters and helping them to make some of life’s most difficult decisions. Helping others has always been a part of who Shirley is.”


George SchermaAmerican Red Cross

George Scherma, 4-year volunteer

“As a team leader on the Greater Cleveland Red Cross Disaster Action Team, George is responsible for leading a volunteer team to respond to and provide emergency assistance to those affected by natural or manmade disasters in Cuyahoga County,” said Debra Kellar, Regional Disaster Volunteer Management Coordinator. “Typically with very short notice, George willingly takes on 12-hour shifts during which he and his team deliver compassionate, emergency care to disaster victims.”


Applewood Centers, Inc.

James S. Hogg, 14-year volunteer

“Jamie’s dedication and perseverance has guided the agency in many endeavors over the years, and he has supported our services for children passionately,” said Melanie Falls, Executive Director. “He is willing to represent Applewood Centers as a board representative in many venues. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors and also serves on the Executive Committee.”


Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio

Daniel P. Walsh Jr., 12-year volunteer

“Dan’s contributions to the work of the Arthritis Foundation and the achievement of our mission in the Greater Cleveland community are immeasurable,” said Mary Kudasick, Region Vice President. “A long-standing member of our board who has served in many important volunteer capacities, Dan’s direct involvement has helped grow events including the Cleveland Magazine Silver Spoon Awards Party and Community Leaders of the Year Award Dinner to record levels.”


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland

Dennis Vaughn, 10-year volunteer

“Dennis isn’t just my ‘brother from BBBS,’ he’s considered my older brother and a part of my family. There is no other man like him, and there is definitely no other person who could be a better brother,” said Maurice, who was matched with Dennis almost 10 years ago. “I honestly don’t know where Maurice and I would be if not for Dennis and BBBS. Dennis is the epitome of a role model,” said Maurice’s mom Kandice.


Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland

Douglas Kern, 13-year volunteer

“For years, Doug served as chair of our resource development committee, overseeing fundraising efforts. His company, Northern Haserot, supports the annual United Way Pancake Flip, and regularly donates food for various events,” said Ron Soeder, President. “Elected board chair last summer, Doug stepped right into the leadership role while also chairing the steering committee for the Save Our Kids operating/endowment campaign, keeping everything moving in the right direction.”


BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence

Judy “Dee” Pietszyk, 5-month volunteer

“Volunteer Referral Specialist Dee learns about the skills, interests and passions of potential volunteers, then helps to find the volunteer opportunity that is just right for them,” said Roseanne Deucher, Director, Volunteer Center. “No stranger to volunteering herself, Dee has been a volunteer for many years, and continues to actively support many local nonprofits. She shares her personal experience with prospective volunteers, helping to connect them with organizations where they too can make a difference.”


Robert SiskaCare Alliance Health Center

Robert Siska, 6-month volunteer

“Robbie demonstrates eagerness and enthusiasm for making a difference in the lives of our patients,” said Reanna Karousis, development associate. “A member of our outreach team, his calm and engaging manner helps instill trust in the homeless people we serve. In the clinic setting, as in the outreach setting, he works tirelessly to build therapeutic relationships and help patients access services to achieve better health and a better outlook on life.”


Center for Families and Children

Shawn Cornelius, 3-year volunteer

“As a member of our board, Shawn is extremely active and serves on several committees, providing additional support and guidance,” said Linda Miller, volunteer coordinator. “He also brings the exceptional talents of his company, Rosetta, to our organization, enlisting interns to conduct market analysis to help us plan for future initiatives and providing website developers pro bono to build our new website in 2012.”


Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center

David J. Abood, 5-year volunteer

“Dave has generously brought his leadership, business experience and enthusiasm to CHSC by assisting on various committees and projects,” said Bernard Henri, Executive Director. “He is very involved with fundraising for our organization – having given numerous testimonials at events, participated in site visits with local foundations and helped to define metrics to maximize board involvement with fundraising. Dave is now serving on our Growth and Innovation Committee aimed at exploring new revenue sources.”


Cleveland Sight Center

Michael Musgrave

“Mike serves as a sighted guide for the blind and visually impaired, and this year he managed the processing of our development department’s greeting card project during the holiday season,” said Alicia Howerton, Volunteer Coordinator. “He also assists clients when they are participating in camp and other CSC functions both at our facility and offsite. Mike is loved by everyone at CSC, employees and clients alike!”


Aparna MalhotraDomestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center

Aparna Malhotra, 2-year volunteer

“Aparna helps in many capacities, co-facilitating a youth support group, chairing the Annual Luncheon, serving as a public speaker for the agency, and educating the community about domestic violence and child abuse,” said Laura Ross, Volunteer Coordinator. “She is dedicated to working with the children at the shelter and her involvement is always appropriate and compassionate. She truly takes the approach of ‘however you need me, I am there.’”


Karen JohnsonEpilepsy Association

Karen Johnson, 3-year volunteer

“Karen has made a significant and game changing impact, creating and chairing the Virtual Runner campaign, serving on the Gala committee, donating a dinner prepared by her and her husband as an auction item, and providing a nutrition education class to adult social service clients,” said Kelley Needham, Executive Director. “She provides invaluable support to other parents of children with epilepsy, advocates for epilepsy services, and promotes a greater understanding of epilepsy.”


Fairhill Partners

Julianne McKinzie, 6-month volunteer

“Julianne has become a valuable asset to the organization by collecting and analyzing information each month for billing on several major contracts and performing other accounting tasks,” said Jim Wallace, Fairhill Board Treasurer and Finance Department volunteer. “Her cheerfulness and enthusiasm make her a joy to be around, and she is able to do the jobs she is assigned in a quick and accurate way.”


Sadie JohnsonFamicos Foundation

Sadie R. Johnson, 2-year volunteer

“Sadie helps in numerous ways, including implementing and managing the Individual Development Account program for Lease Purchase residents for homeownership. She also works with residents of Famicos properties to develop Resident Councils, which has led to the creation of the ZenWa Community Garden and Voices of Change mentoring program for teenage girls,” said Amy Eiben, Marketing Manager. “She has helped establish trust between residents and the Famicos Foundation as a landlord and service provider.”


Far West Center

Carol Taylor

“Carol was matched with Laurie, a woman managing chronic mental illness, in November 2010. They spend at least four hours per week talking by phone or meeting for lunch, with Carol providing caring support, encouragement and friendship,” said Denise Ayres, Compeer Program Coordinator. “She has devoted a lifetime to helping others, and continues to do so, helping Laurie and teaching others that those with mental illness are great citizens and friends.”


The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland

Megan Rochford, LPC, 2¾-year volunteer

“Megan has honed her skills and training as a professional counselor, and employs an attentive and compassionate approach to serving clients who have fallen through the cracks of a broken health care system,” said Melissa Ghoston, Director of Volunteer & External Relations. “Her consistent and unwavering support of our organization and clients demonstrates her commitment to our principle belief – that health care is a right, not a privilege.”


Cherrie ONealGreater Cleveland Volunteers

Cherrie O’Neal, 2-year volunteer

“When she retired, Greater Cleveland Volunteers connected Cherrie with Centers for Dialysis Care, where her beautiful, outgoing personality and compassion make her a perfect Friendly Visitor,” said Susan Smith, Special Project Coordinator. “However, she’s much more than that to the dialysis patients – she’s a bringer of ice chips, craft helper, bingo caller, and a smiling face and companion willing to listen and give a boost to sometimes flagging spirits.”


Kaye JirousekHospice of the Western Reserve

Kaye Jirousek, 15-year volunteer

“Kaye is a hands-on care volunteer, working directly with nurses and aides, helping to bathe, feed and visit with patients, and also assisting with clerical work at our headquarters,” said Ann Marie Armaro, Coordinator of Volunteers. “She is a wonderful asset to our team; patient family members and our staff count on Kaye’s smile and willingness to help in any way she can.”


Jewish Family Service Association

Marcia Korenstein, 3-year volunteer

“A weekly volunteer at JFSA Hebrew Shelter Home, Marcia demonstrates a sincere and caring interest in the mothers and children dealing with homelessness and domestic violence,” said Ginny Galili, Executive Director, Families at Risk Division. “Her presence is key to reducing tension in the shelter, creating a healing environment, and assisting clients in achieving a supportive community with each other and reaching their personal goals.”


Jewish Federation of Cleveland

Suellen Kadis, 20-year volunteer

“Suellen puts everything she has into her volunteer commitments and cares deeply about our mission and work,” said Karen Steiger, Director, Jewish Volunteer Network. “She has a long history of involvement with the Federation and is always willing to do what it takes to get the job done. She reads everything, reaches out personally to all volunteers, mentors new volunteers and encourages them to engage in our work. Her commitment is infectious and the results of her efforts are innumerable.”


Ilah M. Adkins, Esq.Legal Aid Society

Ilah M. Adkins, Esq., 15-year volunteer

“Over 15 years ago, Ilah was a Legal Aid Society client, needing legal assistance to safely navigate what could have been a vicious divorce,” said Melanie A. Shakarian, Esq., Director of Development & Communications. “Now an attorney herself, Ilah became a member of our Board, and in 2011 was Board President – a first for a former client. During her presidency, more than 1,900 attorneys volunteered with Legal Aid and more than 1,000 financial supporters were secured.”


Long Term Care Ombudsman

Dr. Raymond LeZak, 10-year volunteer

“Ray is an ongoing presence in two area nursing homes, providing residents with education about their rights and helping to empower them to advocate for themselves,” said Lauranne Scharf, Volunteer Coordinator/Ombudsman Specialist. “Always willing to visit additional facilities as needed, an active board member, he utilizes his teaching and professional experience to champion our mission by participating in our speaker’s bureau, as a member of the Advocacy Committee and in mentoring new volunteers.”


Neighborhood Centers Association

John McCaulley, 11-year volunteer

“John organized more than 400 Eaton Corporation employees into work teams who worked tirelessly for three NCA member neighborhood centers in support of the 2011 United Way Days of Caring,” said Peggy Barnes-Szpatura, Development Director. “At each of the three centers, the improvements made by the Eaton work teams now allow the centers to provide more and better services to the children, families and seniors of their communities. The positive impact will be appreciated for years to come.”


Neighborhood Leadership Institute

Markietta Stevenson, 10-year volunteer

“As chair of the Recruitment & Screening Committee, Markietta oversees the development and implementation of the selection process for our Neighborhood Leadership Cleveland class applicants,” said Don Slocum, Executive Director. “Her commitment has created a process that has assisted over 800 individuals with strengthening their community engagement and connections with other citizens throughout Greater Cleveland who are working to build what Dr. King called ‘The Beloved Community.’”


Beth DurkinNorth Coast Health Ministry

Beth Durkin, 1+-year volunteer

“Volunteering up to four days per week, Beth assists with new patient registration, patient phone calls and prescription assistance,” said Jeanine Gergel, Development Director. “Her commitment to our mission is demonstrated by the compassion she shows to the clients we serve, and her willingness to lend a hand wherever needed contributed to our being able to serve 2,740 low-income individuals without health insurance last year.”


Northern Ohio Hemophilia Foundation

Vickie and Danielle Schwager, 6- and 5-year volunteers

“Vickie and Danielle, mother and daughter, have been extremely effective in educating and advocating for women with bleeding disorders, making presentations at educational forums, health and wellness fairs and at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health,” said Tanya Ricchi, Communications Manager. “They both serve on the local Women’s Task Force, of which Vickie is a co-founder, and have led numerous one-on-one and group sessions, tackling such topics as advocacy and early detection.”


ORCA House

Sylvia Johnson-Lee, 20-year volunteer

“Sylvia is a dedicated volunteer whose contributions include treatment services to clients, supporting agency special events and fundraising activities, and assisting with administrative tasks,” said Greg Uhland, Executive Director. “The work Sylvia does for ORCA House is invaluable, from counseling clients with drug and alcohol addiction issues, to helping agency clinicians improve their documentation skills, and helping to plan and implement fundraising activities and events.”


Charles KramerThe Phillis Wheatley Association

Charles Kramer, 12-year volunteer

“As Board Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee, Chuck is instrumental in engaging our Board of Directors in strategic financial planning,” said Jacquelyn Bradshaw, Executive Director. “He gets the economy and tries to keep us focused on how we can meet the needs of our clients, yet remain a relevant and sustainable organization.”


Project Learn

David Katz, 11½-year volunteer

“David started with Project Learn in 2003, and since then has tutored two adult students in basic writing and reading, logging over 1,500 volunteer hours while meeting one-on-one with his students, and helping them through personal and family difficulties along the way,” said Barbara Watson, Program Director. “He also currently serves on our Board of Directors, helping with fundraising and special events.”


Recovery Resources

Margaret G. Weitzel, 12-year volunteer

“A member of our Board of Directors since 2000, Maggie took on the role of Board Chair in 2009,” said Natalie Friedl, Development Director. “She stepped up at a challenging time, and has led us through a strategic plan, the economic downturn, and an acquisition, all while maintaining balanced budgets. Thanks to her time and talent, we’ve increased our revenue, staff and consumer base. These achievements are the direct result of her commitment to our mission and clients, while leading others in monetary giving and networking efforts.”


Vocational Guidance Services

Frank H. Porter, 32-year volunteer

“Frank began his tenure with VGS in 1979 and from the beginning has been one of our most engaged directors,” said Adam Ross, Development Director. “More recently, he has taken on leadership responsibilities that directly impact the future of VGS including deepening board and leadership level donor commitment to the agency’s annual fund, and securing necessary foundation funding for the VGS Roof Renovation Project.”


WSEM/El Barrio

DeAnn Munks, 10-year volunteer

“Volunteer English as a Second Language instructor DeAnn works tirelessly to ensure she’s prepared for her twice weekly class, and that her students are learning the necessary material to improve their lives,” said Jeanne Petrus-Rivera, ESL coordinator. “She also makes our quarterly end-of-term parties extra special, anonymously buying gifts for every student – that’s 200 gifts a year – so they each have something special to take home along with their diploma.”


Youth Opportunities Unlimited

Barbara Hanniford, 6-year volunteer

“Through her sensitive and motivational leadership of our Development Committee, Barbara has taken the Y.O.U. Board to a higher level of participation and support,” said Carol Rivchun, President. “Her leadership has led to the development of two successful fundraising events, she spends hours helping to raise funds and her wise counsel to me and our Executive Committee has helped Y.O.U. become a more successful community organization.”