2011 Governor's Volunteer Awards

The Governor’s Volunteer Awards recognize individuals and organizations for their dedication, commitment and determination in promoting and supporting volunteerism throughout Oregon with the purpose of inspiring individuals to make a positive difference and strengthening Oregon communities.

View photos from the event.

Regional Awardees

Outstanding Volunteer Program

Kids in the Middle Mentoring Program
Citizens For Safer Schools
Klamath Falls

Citizens For Safer Schools’ Kids in the Middle is a mentoring program connecting 80 at-risk youth living in poverty with responsible adult mentors. These mentors spend an hour a week for a year investing themselves in the lives of youth who otherwise would not have the human resources or “social capital” to head down a prosperous path. More than 70% of mentors continue mentoring their young friends beyond one year and are able to see when basic needs go unmet – food, clothing and shelter. Mentors offer at risk-youth a connection to middle-class norms and expectations, encouraging them to stay in school and away from violent behavior and substance abuse. The investment mentors make in each youth is longer lasting than the moment an urgent need gets met; mentors are a wealth of resources when it comes to securing work and navigating the process of obtaining a higher education.

Research done by both public and private entities reveals that six out of ten mentored youth show improvements in their core academic subjects after 12 months of participation in this program and five out of ten have decreased unexcused absences from school. One study demonstrated that youth in this program where 3x’s less likely than their un-mentored counterparts to commit an act of delinquency at school or in the community, 6x’s less likely to reoffend if they entered the program with an offense and 2x’s more likely to have a “future orientation,” that is, to plan their future.

Neighborhood Trees Program
Friends of Trees
Portland

For more than 20 years the volunteer-driven program - Neighborhood Trees - has brought “new life” to our city by planting and restoring trees. This program began by planting trees in 3 neighborhoods and today Neighborhood Trees serves nearly every Portland neighborhood east of the Willamette River, as well as some in Beaverton and Vancouver, WA.

This program does more than enhance the beauty of our communities by turning them from grey to green this program has enhanced the environmental and public health of our cities. One mature tree can absorb as much carbon in one year as is produced by a car driving 26,000 miles and, furthermore, will absorb over one ton of carbon dioxide in its lifetime. Beyond carbon absorption, trees intercept storm-water run-off, produce the oxygen we breathe, raise property value and reduce the heating and cooling costs of urban dwellers. In its 21 years, this program has planted or restored nearly 400,000 trees and brings together thousands of community members in a single season.

Moms For Reading
Independence Elementary School
Independence

In 1989 at a parent meeting at Independence Elementary School a few moms volunteered to help with a 5 week reading program. 22 years later, even beyond their children’s participation this school, these committed parents and community members have turned the school’s reading program into an award winning one that has served around 1,500 children.

Through this program children accumulate Read-a-thon dollars that they can spend at the Read-a-Thon store. For the first 10 years, Moms 4 Reading recorded the children’s progress by the cumulative number of pages read in their 5-month-long program. The children read a staggering number of pages; one year 300 students read a combined 1,000,000 pages during the event. Eventually, Moms 4 Reading changed their method of measuring progress to hours spent reading, so that the children with the least amount of support from home have the chance to “win” Read-a-Thon dollars. This program works. In 2007 the kids at Independence Elementary cumulatively read for more than 2 years of reading time! The Moms 4 Reading program has been credited with this elementary school passing statewide reading scores, the superintendent saying, “the numbers report that none of the students fail to meet the standards.”

Wilderness Stewardship Program
Oregon Natural Desert Association
Bend

The Wilderness Stewardship Program offers folks the opportunity to enjoy meaningful, fun-filled outdoor experiences in eastern Oregon while participating in conservation efforts to improve the landscape and natural resources. Program participants are people of all ages, even families with children, and the programs volunteer pool continues to grow each year by approximately 20%. Most trips are free of charge and lead by highly trained staff; volunteers need only bring their camping gear. The Wilderness Stewardship Program does everything from restoring river-bank stability by planning native trees to improving habitat quality of animal refuges.

This program has continued to expand every year; in the past 4 years the program has added more than 30 service trips annually to its program and yet volunteer interest continues to exceed programs capacity. This year alone, over 500 opportunities for volunteers to participate in over 40 different projects will result in 4,000 volunteer hours spent conserving and restoring Oregon’s public lands and natural resources.

Lost & Found Youth Outreach
Cornerstone Community Church
Pendleton

This faith-based mentoring program connecting at-risk youth (ages 12-18) with responsible adults who model positive behavior and seek to meet these kids’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs. According to the Umatilla County Commission on Children and Families, Lost & Found is the only entity in Umatilla County that provides a holistic outreach to at-risk youth with a primary focus of integrating youth into the community. This program offers youth service-learning opportunities as well as relationship building recreational activities such as camping, snowboarding and X-box tournaments, some of which are used as incentives for grade improvement.

Since 2003, this program has offered youth who feel unwanted an alternative to engaging in risky behavior. In the words of one program participant, “Danny [the founder] is understanding and sometimes the only one keeping me from suicide.” The Lost & Found Youth program has expanded to include Tribal youth from Mission and groups in the nearby town of Pilot Rock. According to an internal review, last year they served 291 youth who completed 30 service projects and 76% of youth that reported previous use of drugs or alcohol now consider themselves clean & sober.

Outstanding Youth Volunteer Program

Youth United Steering Committee
Habitat for Humanity
Portland

The young people of the Youth United Steering Committee at Habitat for Humanity took on the challenge of funding a building a home in partnership with a hardworking family in need. Some of the members of the Youth United Steering Committee currently live, or have plans to move into, a Habitat home so they understand first-hand the impact this work makes.

In Fall of 2009 this youth-led committee began planning and fundraising for their sponsored home and only months later they helped raised the first wall of that home. They raised $60,000 (the cost of a home) and are currently fundraising for the second home that they’ve sponsored. The Youth United Steering Committee not only provides homes for families in need but participants learn valuable leadership skills as they engage with and make change in their community.

Service Immersion Program
Father Bernard Youth Center
Mt. Angel

The Service Immersion Program of the Father Bernard Youth Center connects youth and young adults from across the Pacific Northwest to local service opportunities in Oregon such as engaging with folks at St. Joseph’s shelter for homeless families, Mt. Angel Developmental Programs for residents facing mental and physical challenges and Mt. Angel Towers retirement community, just to name a few. Groups of 10 to 60 youth not only engage in service to local Oregon communities through this program but bring home with them knowledge and inspiration about serving their own communities as well.

In a single week last summer, 50 youth from Washington gave over 1,500 hours of community service in Mt. Angel and the surrounding area through this program doing a variety of things including clearing nearly an acre of invasive species at Silver Falls State Park. But beyond this one event, last year the Father Bernard Youth Center hosted over 2,000 young people who gave thousands of hours of service to the surrounding community. Beyond the benefit that this youth center offers the greater Mount Angel area, through service immersion the Father Bernard center is cultivating a generation of young people who recognize and respond to the needs of their communities.

Crook County Navy Junior ROTC
Crook County High School
Prineville

This year, the Navy Junior ROTC at Crook County High School received the Distinguished Unit Award from the Naval Service Training Command for their professionalism and excellence. This unit has contributed a shocking number of volunteer hours - 5,778 - throughout the 2010-2011 year (including summer months) doing a vast array of things. Their activities include things such as cleaning up after community and school events, running the sound systems for school sporting events, filming campus events and tutoring peer students struggling in academic to improve GPA scores – just to name a few.

Beyond school walls this Navy Junior ROTC unit is known throughout their community for professionally conducting Honor Guards for families of veterans who have passed away. This traditional ceremony consists of 7 cadets participating in a 21 gun salute, 2 cadets folding an American flag, placing it on the casket and thereafter presenting it to the nearest family member along with 3 gun shells from the 21 gun salute. This is an important moment for families of deceased veterans and the respect that these students show through their excellence and professionalism does not go unnoticed. They have proven to be an asset both to their school and to their surrounding community.

Youth Heart of Hospice Volunteer Club – YoHoHs
Heart of Hospice Foundation
Hood River

Most high school students enjoy the luxury of feeling invincible, except for those with the misfortunate of losing a loved one to severe illness or death. Joining hands with those that suffer and facing the finality of the human condition is not something that many adults, let alone young people, chose to do. But the Youth Heart of Hospice Volunteer Club at Hood River Valley High School, also known as the YoHohs, does just that by donating service hours to the Heart of Hospice Foundation.

Giving up some of their evening, Saturdays and even family time on holidays, the youth in the YoHoHs club at Hood River Valley High spend time serving folks who are gravely ill as well as participate in community events that remember loved-ones who have passed away. This club’s membership continues to increase despite losing seniors to graduation and some students are now in their third year of participation. Not only does this club offer less fortunate folks the sense that they are not alone as young people energetically do everything from celebrate birthdays to facilitate yard work but the YoHoH club also establishes within young people the recognition that no one is invincible.

Outstanding Adult Volunteer (ages 19-53)

Beka Young
Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern Oregon
Coos Bay

Having been formally trained in Psychology Beka is an effective support system for teens at the Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern Oregon. In a community where many teenagers have no positive adult role models at home, she has devoted hundreds of hours to supporting those teens, paying particular attention to ones who have endured trauma and have extensive family problems. Beka spends time outside of club hours supports teens by doing things like attending concerts, games and school events and moreover, helps them with conflict resolution through a dramatic and difficult range of issues. Being the rare person who is skilled at communicating with adults and teenagers alike, Beka is a great support to staff members at the Boys & Girls Club, as well.

Though Beka’s volunteer tenure at the club has only been 3 months she has proven her sustained dedication to the club when her role there switched from paid staff to volunteer and she did not fail to provide reliable, enthusiastic and sacrificial support to these teens in addition to working a full time job.

Jonathan Bilden
Multiple Organizations
Eagle Point

Jonathon Bilden, at 29 years old, has been more active in his local community than some folks are in their lifetime. His passions are education and community development. In past years, Jonathon served as a Board Chairman of Southern Oregon Head Start and the Jackson County School District 9, where he helped these organizations fare economic hardships better than most comparable organizations throughout the state, impacting the lives of thousands of children. Currently Jonathon is serving as President of the following 3 entities: Eagle Point & Upper Rogue Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of the Upper Rogue, which has been one of the largest financial contributors per capita in Oregon, and the D-9 Foundation, which supports students by distributing nearly $100,000 each year.

Jonathan has participated in multiple community service projects and his skill at organizational management, by way of revising bylaws, mission statements, goals and objectives and outreach plans, has been much needed in these organizations. His excellent, professional and tireless work for the communities of northeastern Jackson County has resulted in a heightened focus on education and student needs, community leaders working together and a younger generation taking on leadership roles throughout the community.

Katie Kime & Michelle Baragona
Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute
Hood River

The Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute is a nonprofit connecting students and community members with our environment through educational programs. Katie Kime and Michelle Baragona are in charge of the 5th grade program at this institute and last winter and spring they visited 12 classrooms 7 times each teaching ecological concepts and guiding each class on day-long field trips to a local state park or national forest. Katie and Michelle logged over 2,625 student contact hours. As interns they have committed to 40 hours each week and though they receive a small stipend do not (unlike AmeriCorps members) receive health benefits or an educational award for their service. Moreover, they have accepted these positions in an expensive tourist town.

In the past 20 years technology has consumed an increasing amount of attention from youth and the time children spend outdoors has declined by 50%. Understanding the health and psychological benefits from being outdoors, Katie and Michelle’s passion to create a generation of youth who feel well connected to the environment shows through the quality of work that they do. This duo recruited 28 community members to volunteer in their classroom program for 7 weeks, logging a total of 294 volunteer hours. Furthermore, 87% of the students who went through the program that Katie and Michelle run passed the State Science Test, compared to the statewide average of 70%. Teachers continue to remark how this program has improved under the leadership of this duo and students continue to show gratitude for Katie and Michelle as well.

Outstanding Youth Volunteer (age 18 or younger)

Crystal-Ann Carreon
Class Service Project – Joy for Jaden
Vernonia

Crystal-Ann Carreon is an actively engaged student both at her high school and within the greater Washington County community. Crystal ran in the Portland-to-Coast High School Challenge Relay in 2010 as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, she is enrolled in an EMT Basics class 2 days a week, she is a junior leader in 4-H and has won countless regional and state level awards in horsemanship, speech and fabric arts, all the working 20 hours a week. But though she is a busy young woman she has not neglected her studies; she is a National Honor Society scholar and a straight-A student!

Moreover, Crystal-Ann recommended and spearheaded an incredible project last year in her Leadership Class’ community service project. She suggested they raise funds for a young boy in a neighboring community who is fighting brain cancer, a boy she had never met. As the point person on this project Crystal tirelessly encouraged her fellow leadership students, other classmates and the entire Vernonia Middle School, High School and the Banks High school student bodies to participate in over ten events for this project, the coordination of which lasted for eight months. Under Crystal’s initiation and direction this Leadership Class raised around $2,800 to offset Jaden’s medical expenses and to send him and his family on vacation to the Great Wolf Lodge water park.

Natassia Ruse
Harrisburg High School
Harrisburg

Natassia Ruse is an engaging and capable young woman involved in multiple pursuits. She is a musician in her school band, an athlete who has earned multiple varsity letters in Softball and Cross Country, a student leader involved in planning committees for various events and school dances as well as a member of the Spanish Club. But Natassia’s commitment to school activities has not stopped her from serving her larger community. Over the past few years, she has given more than 400 hours of her time to multiple organizations including the YMCA where she was a summer camp counselor teaching horsemanship, Habitat for Humanity Youth Council and the Special Olympics where she helped with fundraising, Harrisburg Dollars for Scholars Toy Show and Toys for Tots where she helped facilitate logistics at events.

One might imagine that her academic record would suffer because of this level of engagement but Natassia is more than a good student, she is an excellent one. Amazingly, Natassia has maintained a 4.0 for all four years of high-school, each time rewarded by being on the Distinguished Honor Roll. Furthermore, of the 1.5 million students who took the PSAT’s Natassia scored in the top 5%, receiving a Letter of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation for her efforts.

Viveca Hanson
Healthy Beginnings
Bend

As a volunteer at Healthy Beginnings, the Sparrow Club and the Art Station, Viveca Hanson has impacted the lives of multiple children and families in Central Oregon. Healthy Beginnings brings accessible prevention screening to children under age 5 to confirm the wellbeing of their physical, developmental and behavior health to ensure that they are ready for Kindergarten, the first step in their educational future.

The Sparrow Club at Summit High School helps financially assist families with their children’s medical bills. Viveca was chosen as “the Sparrow” in 2004 and since then has committed to giving back to the community that has done so much for her. She has served as a member of the Sparrow Club for the past 4 years and currently is acting President there. But despite Viveca’s own health concerns, this past year, she has given over 100 hours of her time to serving Healthy Beginning alone and currently holds a 3.87 GPA at Summit High School.

Outstanding Senior Volunteer (age 55 or better)

Karen Wells
Greater Jefferson Community Center
Jefferson

Eleven years ago the Greater Jefferson Community Center was nothing more than a idea jotted down by Karen Wells. In 2003 she rallied 19 other committed community members to create a mission, objectives and goals and the following year this dream came to life. By 2005 Karen and her team had raised enough money to purchase centrally located property in downtown Jefferson. This center has truly filled a void in the greater Jefferson area and has become a landmark of the community. Not only do community members host personal events there and participate in multiple daily activities but the center hosts college courses, the Jefferson Area Chamber of Commerce, the Jefferson Museum, the Jefferson Historical Society and a Tourist Information Center.

The Greater Jefferson Community Center operates on 100% volunteer time and it has no plans for paid staff. In other words, 100% of the center’s donations go directly to the services it provides the community. Over the past 2 years an average of 10,000 hours have been donated by community members to operating this center and over the past eight years Karen has personally donated over 14,000 hours. Last year over 15,000 people went through the doors of the Greater Jefferson Community Center, a public space that would not exist today if it weren’t for Karen’s dedication and commitment to seeing it through.

Richard Reynolds
Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA)
Newport

In 2005 the implementation of Medicare Part D caused mass confusion for all Medicare and Medicaid recipients. Retired physician Dr. Richard Reynolds donates his time and professional knowledge on Medicare to help recipients navigate their insurance glitches, understand their choices and scrutinize medical billings for errors.

The Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) has three staff members to assist over 550,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Oregon, 12,000 of which reside in Lincoln County and with only a few volunteers assisting them in this region Dr. Reynolds is a welcomed and needed expert. Dr. Reynolds is a dedicated volunteer who travels up and down the county meeting face-to-face with clients and has given more than 1,075 hours serving more than 1,100 folks through SHIBA alone. Richard spends time training other volunteers, advocating for clients, filing petitions and helping recipients secure medical services that saves them money and, in some cases, their lives.

Margaret Medeiros
Douglas ESD – Early Childhood Special Education
White City

Margaret Medeiros, known as “Grandma Marge,” has served a number of local organizations that meet the needs of children and disabled folks. Margaret has just completed her 18th year with the local Foster Grandparents’ organization and has volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club, assisted the Jackson Council for the Blind and is a life member in the Auxiliaries of the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

For the past three years Margaret has served the Douglas ESD, Child Development Services in White City, Oregon. At age 85, “Grandma Marge” energetically puts in four full days helping staff attend to the unique needs of children ages 3-5 who have a variety of disabilities and need more help than the average preschooler. Not only does Grandma Marge energetically help staff provide these children with more one-on-one attention but her presence there has improved child safety and skill development. As stated by a teacher at Douglas ESD, “Marge sheds a whole new light on the meaning of "the Golden Years."

Carol Wellock
Healthy Beginnings and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Oregon
Bend

Carol Wellock is actively engaged in her central Oregon community serving multiple organizations and countless families within her community. Carol became an Oregon resident only four years ago in 2007 and since then has logged more than 1,400 combined hours of volunteer service at the following places: Healthy Beginnings, a kindergarten preparedness program, the Ronald McDonald House, “a home away from home” for children undergoing medical treatment, the Deschutes Public Library and the Tower Theatre Foundation, an extraordinary place for performances, educational opportunities, civic engagements and social events.

At Healthy Beginnings alone, Carol has logged over 200 hours of service, screening almost 700 children and helping at over 50 outreach and fundraising events. She has helped connect numerous families with the resources they need to ensure that their children are healthy and ready to take their first educational step – kindergarten. Carol has logged over 1,000 hours helping the Ronald McDonald House accomplish everything from high-level fundraisers to daily chores. Also, at the Tower Theatre Carol assists wherever she is needed, helping with everything from benefit events to ushering folks to their seats. Likewise, Carol has impacted the lives of thousands of families through her service to the Deschutes Public Library, helping folks find needed resources and returning books to their proper location. This year Carol was also acknowledged with the Adult Volunteer of the Year Award from the Network of Volunteer Administrators (NOVA).

John Burke
Long Term Care Ombudsman
Pendleton

Less than a year ago, John Burke completed 48 hours of training to become a Certified Ombudsman for aging residents of long-term care facilities. In only 9 months, John donated over 100 hours of advocacy work, visiting hundreds of residents living with long-term care, proving the aging population of Oregon a voice when they needed it most. John has also spent time advocating for older Oregonians by giving informative presentations to the public and civic groups about the Ombudsman program and has worked with local health care agencies, social services and law enforcement. His work style has been described as “tireless,” “persistent,” and willing to ‘go the extra mile,’ sometimes quite literally, by driving long distances throughout eastern Oregon to respond to residents’ needs when state workers are unable to respond as soon as they’d like.

In the next 20 years the number of folks who are age 65 and older is estimated to be at least one in five in our state, giving even more occasion for the average Oregonian to value excellent and quality care in long-term facilities. Dedicated volunteers such as John Burke ensure that aging Oregonians are treated with dignity and respect when they choose to reside in facilities other than their home.

Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Achievement

Vivian Dignan
Impact Northwest, Inc.
Portland

Vivian Dignan, 99 years young, has given herself in service to Oregon communities since 1943, when she moved here as a young woman. She began driving for sight-impaired women, eventually becoming an early member of the Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind. Vivian has served Oregon in a myriad of ways. In the 1970’s, Vivian taught defensive driving for AARP as a volunteer and also began a long affiliation with Loaves & Fishes where she served as a volunteer and member of its Belmont Steering Committee. In the years that followed she assisted patients using wheelchairs at Providence Hospital & Mount St. Joseph residence. She has also spent 16 years tutoring English learners at Portland Community College and she has participated in the Start Making A Reader Today (SMART) program for children. Most recently she has connected with Impact Northwest to improve the quality of life for her senior peers where she has spent 4 years as a member of their Southeast District Senior Advisory Council.

Her excellent and sacrificial service throughout the years has not gone unnoticed. She was the recipient of the “Devoted and Continuous Service to the Blind” award in 1968 and in 2007 Impact Northwest selected her as the Volunteer of the Year of the Senior & Disability Services program. But considering the countless hours spent and the multiple ways in which Vivian Dignan has faithfully improved the lives of her fellow Oregonians throughout the decades it is fitting that she be honored this year with the Governor’s Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award!

Bud Lance
Adaptive Riding Institute
Scotts Mills

The Adaptive Riding Institute gives people with special needs the opportunity to do recreational physical therapy of the highest quality through assisted horseback riding. These therapy sessions improve sensory and motor skills, verbalization, flexibility strength and balance for clients. For more than 20 years Bud Lance has helped this institute promote wellness, independence and self-esteem in children by assisting them in therapy session and working with the horses.

According to an estimated dollar value of Bud’s volunteer time he gave $5,000 of his time last year alone. Over the decades Bud has spent time training other volunteers to walk beside the horse and rider to ensure the client’s safety and to assist in each therapy session by coordinating interactive skill-building drills. As an accomplished horseman, Bud works with therapy horses like no one else can, helping the Adaptive Riding Institute provide the best possible services to their clients. Beyond direct contact with clients and horses Bud also assists ARI with fundraising and public awareness events. Bud has proven to be an invaluable advocate for the special needs population of his surrounding community.

Tom Kerr
Brookings Volunteer Fire Department
Brookings

Tom Kerr has served his community for 42 years through his work as a volunteer firefighter at the Brookings Fire Department. His service there has been invaluable not only because of his sustained commitment over the decades but because the Brookings department has only 2 full-time firefighters; the other 35 are volunteers. In other words, this community heavily relies on folks like Tom, a local business man, to provide emergency medical response, rescue, fire prevention and suppression.

Tom has completed extensive emergency responder training on his own time and expense and also trains other volunteers. Because of excellent volunteers like Tom, the Brookings Fire Department has sustained excellent fire rating by the insurance industry, which has reduced fire insurance premiums for the community and, most importantly, has improved safety. Tom is among the volunteers with the highest number of emergency responses, he participates in weekly drills and serves as the City’s only volunteer Assistant Fire Chief, all this while managing his family business!

Statewide Awardees

Outstanding Youth Volunteer (age 18 or under)
Matthew Ferguson
Hillsboro

Matthew Ferguson, along with his classmates, created a Race for the Cure team at Liberty High School, successfully raising $1200. Team play is nothing new to Matt, as he has not only served in each leadership role in student government, but also has played on the varsity football and baseball teams every year. But it was when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, that the cause became personal. Accompanying his mother to her treatment, he noticed that many patients were alone. Fortunate that his own family had many family and friends to support them, he wanted to make a difference for patients on their first day of chemotherapy. Inspired by the bag of “comfort items” his mom was given on her first day of treatment, he set out to make “Matt’s Chemo Bags.”

With a small budget, Matt was able to donate 5 bags to one clinic per month. What started out as a small endeavor now has grown to 100 bags to 50 clinics a month, in both Oregon and Washington. As of June 2011, over 2300 patients have received Matt’s comfort bags, filled with items such as lip balm, lotion, scarf and custom made pillows. Matt’s initiative has received overwhelmingly positive support from both doctors and patients. He has held volunteer events that have rallied the community and over 600 students to-date to help with knitting blankets, stuffing bags and sewing pillows. He has received letters of commendation from Representative Mitch Greenlick, Senator Suzanne Bonamici, Senator Wyden, Governor Ted Kulongoski and President Barack Obama.

Outstanding Youth Volunteer Program or Group
SMART Youth Advisory Board
Klamath Falls

In the Klamath basin region, SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) reaches 25 schools and over 1,000 children by pairing community members with preschool through kindergarten-aged children to read with them one-on-one twice a week. The champions who have helped this program flourish? The 44 teens from Klamath Union, Mazama, Triad and Hosanna High Schools who have donated 3,960 volunteer hours over the past year. They have donated tireless hours to stuffing mailings, setting up silent auctions, soliciting support to buy books, dressing up as super heroes, volunteering as readers. Their infectious energy and commitment has brought new energy and innovation to the SMART Program. Due to their fundraising and awareness efforts, seven new SMART programs could be opened in the Klamath Basin area.

Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Achievement
Steve Olienyk
Florence

Steve Olienyk has served his local Oregon communities in a myriad of ways for over 40 years. Among numerous other voluntary service, Steve has served on the board of directors for many public entities including the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, where he helped build an addition to the museum, the Columbia Memorial Hospital, where he helped build a new hospital that meets accessibility standards, the Heceta Water District office and filtration plant, where he helped update facilities to adhere to increased water quality standards and, finally, the Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue District firehouse, where he helped build a state of the art fire station.

Steve credits growing up during the Depression with enabling him to work with others, make things from scratch, use ingenuity to repair most anything and have the tenacity to keep things going. It’s this dedication and skill that has not only inspired others to service, but made immeasurable impacts to the community.

Outstanding Senior Volunteer (age 55 or better)
Bill Bard
Portland

Bill came to Oregon seven years ago with his family to care for his mother. After she passed away, he developed a mobility disability. But that didn’t stop him from volunteering – He found the Ombudsman program to be a great place for him to use his advocacy, investigative and professional skills.

In the four years that Bill has served the Long Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) he has been an advocate for Oregon’s aging population in a variety of ways. Last year alone, he contributed 400 hours investigating and reporting the abuse or neglect of folks in long-term care. By advising the Governor, Legislature and community partners on issues relevant to older and fragile Oregonians, Bill has advocated the need to protect the funding of social services for this population, amidst budget cuts. He successfully works with community partners, such as Legal Aid, SHIBA, Veteran’s Administration, DHS and Adult Protective Services, utilizing all available resources to ensure the best outcomes for the residents. Bill uses his passion and abilities to really make an impact to one of our most vulnerable communities, our frail elders. It is people like Bill who give a voice to those who may not have a voice or anyone to speak for them.

Outstanding Statewide Volunteer Program (operating in 3 or more regions)
Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
Salem

While most Oregonians prefer to age in their own homes, there are physical, mental, family or financial concerns that result in over 40,000 Oregonians residing in a licensed long term care facility. The Long Term Care Ombudsman program (LTCO) provides residents of long term care facilities, and their families, free and confidential advocacy and advice in every county of Oregon. LTCO investigates residents’ complaints, safeguards their rights, reports abuse or neglect and educates the community on issues relevant to Oregon’s aging population.

This work is done with the help of over 200 volunteers, who do over 90% of the visits. These volunteers advocate on behalf of residents so that they can get what they need to get a good nights sleep, so that they can continue to visit with a favorite grandchild, so that they can have a quality of life similar to home, or be active and participate in not only their own care, but meaningful activities. The services of these volunteers has increased residences’ quality of care, decreased intervention by state agencies (such as DHS and APS) and has, in term, provided Federal and State agencies with data used to advocate for improved living conditions for older Oregonians.

Outstanding Business Volunteer Program
The Standard
Portland

As their nomination explains - The Standard was founded when one man created a solution that connected the people of Oregon with the insurance services they needed. Over 100 years later, the people of The Standard continue to strengthen their communities by the connections they make volunteering their time and talents to our community nonprofit partners.

The Standard provides many ways for employee volunteers to give back. The Dollars for Doers Program provides 30 of their employees the opportunity to direct corporate donations to organizations that they volunteer at least 20 hours annually. Last year $15,000 was distributed through these employee-directed contributions, to organizations ranging from the arts and education to music and animals. The Standard encourages employees to give not just their time but their talent and financial contributions to the community by way of various events, nonprofit training and awards. For example, one of their programs offers employees the chance to “dress-down” in jeans for a day in exchange for making a donation to a company-selected charity and the company matches each gift. Last year’s charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Willamette, received $115,000 through this program. In addition to rewarding service, The Standard has offered its employees nonprofit bard training, in partnership with the Business for Culture and the Arts (BCA) – currently, 45 employees serve on 55 nonprofit boards.

Outstanding Adult Volunteer (age 19-54)
Ken Rumbaugh
Portland

When Ken Sabin arrived at Sabin School, the school was not in good shape. There was little family engagement, low test scores and climate and safety issues. Ken immediately got involved in the schools’ Site Council, but it was ultimately his leadership with the Sabin PTA that resulted in the biggest change. He served as PTA President from 2006-2010. Inspired to make a difference, he started an annual school auction to benefit school programs. What a success! The first year raised $24,000 and this year’s totals topped $90,000.

Under his leadership, involvement in the PTA has grown from 15 to 150 parents. But it’s not just the impact he has made on the PTA that is notable. Using his interests in graphic design and photography, Ken has helped the students turn their artwork into prints, posters and cards that are sold widely around Portland. The proceeds are used to purchase art supplies. Ken is an invaluable resource to Sabin School. As a result of his 7 years of service Sabin School has been “put on the map” and enjoys a more robust enrollment.

Outstanding Volunteer Program
Medical Volunteer Program at Community Outreach Inc.
Corvallis

Since 1971, the Medical Volunteer Program has offered free medical and dental services to poor and homeless Oregonians who do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan. In 2010 the volunteer doctors, nurses, specialists and dentists provided over 3,000 medical and dental visits in 182 clinics across the Mid-Willamette Valley. This program maintains ongoing partnerships with community and state organizations to provide vital health services for 1,000 uninsured Oregonians.

Without this program, run by volunteer doctors, dentists, specialists and nurses, many of Linn-Benton’s most vulnerable individuals would be without medical services. But because of the volunteer medical providers who donate so many hours to this cause, community members can get care in areas of psychiatry, diabetes education, gynecological services and much more. Through the dedication of their volunteers, Community Outreach is able to close the gap in services provided within the community.