United Way’s 3rd Annual Community Volunteer Excellence Awards
Heart of Florida United Way recently held the Community Volunteer Excellence Awards. We love our volunteers and all the amazing things they do for our organization. Even though we did not bring home any wins, we are more than grateful for the dedication and hard work our volunteers put forth at all of our Clubs. Please take a minute to read the short bios below as we honor all of the BGCCF nominees!
Outstanding Youth Volunteer: Amy Smith
Amy has been a dedicated volunteer at our Ocoee Middle School After School Zone for over two years. Amy is an active high school student that has a job and is in the marching band. She still finds time each week to visit the Club and help where needed. She works closely with the Torch Club that allows Club members to get more involved in their community. She also works with the Office Angels that help faculty and other classrooms with small tasks. She offers the Club members in her groups guidance and support for issues that they may face. She also assists with the sign-out procedures and is a familiar face for the parents.
Outstanding Civic Group: RCLL CATCH Heathy Habits Team (through Rollins)
This team visits the Joe R. Lee Branch weekly to teach Club members about Healthy Habits and lead them in fun physical activities. They have been active in the Club for a year. By learning from the wonderful group of dedicated volunteers, it will drives home the points in a fun way. It helps the Club members to make better decisions when it comes to food and fitness. This is especially important in the Eatonville community. The Club members report that they are applying the lessons learned to become healthier individuals.
Pictured (from left to right): Shannon Yohe (BGCCF Volunteer Coordinator), Kelvin Curry (Director of Middle School Programs), Holly Tanyhill, Robert McKinley and Barbara Reuter
Outstanding Individual Volunteer: Omar Warren Sr.
Omar has been teaching writing and poetry classes at the Poinciana Teen Center since 2011. Younger teens practice their writing, reciting and performing. The older teens focus on poetry and short stories. Next year, Omar plans on starting a debate team. The class that Omar offers the Club members is fun and keeps them excited about writing. It is helpful for their future and really makes a difference in their writing skills. They are more comfortable communicating with adults because they have that experience reciting their short stories and poetry in front of groups. Omar is also a wonderful mentor to the teen boys in the Club. He speaks to them about real issues that they face and is a dedicated, caring adult that they can come to when they need guidance. Even though he works full time as a banker, and dedicates time each week to teach classes, he still makes the time to assist with Club events.
Pictured: Omar Warren Sr. and wife (Club Director) Opal Walker-Warren.
Outstanding Professional Volunteer: Jucylene Stewart
Jucylene teaches a Financial Education Workshop at our Middle School After School Zone programs focusing on Introduction to Banking Services, How to Choose and Keep a checking account and Why you should save. These are all extremely important and can help our Club members to avoid the cycle of poverty. By teaching workshops at a variety of our Middle School programs, Jucylene is able to reach hundreds of Club members and teach them essential financial skills that will help them to make better decisions with their money. By starting them young, Jucylene hopes to drive their decision making when they start working and are able to save money. Jucylene is always willing to jump in and assist. Besides the wonderful workshops that she teaches to the Middle School students, she also helps recruit volunteers to assist at other events. She recently assisted as a “Shark” at our Shark Tank event that allowed Club members to invent projects and pitch their ideas to “Sharks”.
Pictured: Jucylene and her daughter.
Outstanding Corporate Group: Apple
Apple has been a huge help with not only updating our technology in the Clubs but also training our staff and teaching our Club members how to use Apple products. By educating our Club members about new technologies and giving them hands on experience, it helps our youth to compete, be creative and be prepared for their future outside of high school. Apple has helped at each of our major events for the past year. They brought volunteers to assist at our Blessings Banquet, our Faces of the Future breakfast and our Celebrate the Children gala. They assisted with our multi-cultural event at our Tupperware Brands Branch and hosted their own game day/fun activity at the Club. They trained our staff on how to use our brand new music studio and volunteered their time weekly to teach the Club members new programs. They brought our staff into one of their stores to learn about new software. This allowed our staff members at numerous Clubs to take that knowledge back to the Clubs to teach the Club members. Apple brought their team out to our Walt Disney World Clubhouse and taught our Club members how to build their own computers. They are working on the design and computer solutions for our new Downtown Club that is being built. Apple is helping our staff and our Club members learn about new technology in fun ways. The Apple volunteers help our Club members get excited about careers in the STEM field.