During National Volunteer Week in April, The Volunteer Center of United Way will honor outstanding service and give special recognition to eight individuals and groups and present its Chairman’s Award at the 33rd annual Volunteer Spirit Awards celebration and benefit. This year’s event takes place on Friday morning, April 26th, from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. Lou Young, the Emmy Award-winning CBS 2 broadcast journalist, will emcee the event at the Hilton Westchester.
The Rivertowns' own Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct won the Going Green Award, which honors volunteers who work to protect and beautify our environment and natural surroundings, advocate for the preservation of our planet and strive to instill these values for our community. Carol Morse, of Dobbs Ferry, won the Arts and Culture Award for her service with the Hudson Valley Singers, based in Irvington.
The Chairman’s Award to Betty Cotton (Scarsdale) will be presented by Markham Rollins III, CEO of the Rollins Agency. Cotton serves on the New York State Commission on National and Community Service and on the boards of The Westchester Community College Foundation, the America Jewish Committee Board of Governors, Project Interchange and the Jewish Council of Public Affairs. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Westchester Not-For-Profit Leadership Summit and is chairperson of the Greyston Foundation Wisdom Council.
The complete list of the 2013 Volunteer Spirit Award Winners, with their hometowns in parentheses, as selected by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, are:
- Arts and Culture Award to Carol Morse (Dobbs Ferry) for Hudson Valley Singers, presented by Bunge
- Community Hero Award to Haina Just-Michael (New Rochelle) for New Rochelle Public Library, presented by The Journal News
- Education and Literacy Award to Marie Rama (Yonkers) for Yonkers Partners in Education, presented by Reader’s Digest
- Going Green Award to Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct, presented by Con Edison
- New York Life Youth Group in Action Award to Let’s Play it Forward, Inc. (Katonah), presented by New York Life
- New York Life Youth Leader Award to Joseph Gusmano (Fishkill) for East Fishkill Community Library, presented by New York Life
- Quality of Life Award to Sandy Samberg (Rye) and Lynn Halpern (Rye) for Sole Ryeders and Friends, presented by United Way of Westchester and Putnam
- Social Advocacy Award to Deborah Blatt (New Rochelle) for Family Services of Westchester’s Sharing Shelf Program, presented by Mack-Cali
“Nonprofits depend on the actions of volunteers in good times and in bad. They are reliable and knowledgeable, enthusiastic and dedicated,” said Alisa H. Kesten, Executive Director of The Volunteer Center. “We have seen our communities tested in the last year,” she continued, “and it is truly through the efforts of the eight winners of the Volunteer Spirit Awards that local organizations are able to serve and support our communities through natural disasters and trying times. The Volunteer Center is proud to pay tribute to these distinguished individuals and groups who give back to their communities.”
In speaking of the Chairman’s Award, Rollins said, “We are thrilled to honor Betty Cotton in recognition of a lifetime of commitment to service in Westchester and for New York State.”
The 2013 Volunteer Spirit Awards celebration takes place on Friday, April 26th, 8:00-10:00 a.m. at the Hilton Westchester, formerly known as the Hilton Rye Town. Individual ticket prices are $150 or $75 per person with sponsorship packages and journal advertising rates available. All proceeds benefit The Volunteer Center’s work to promote volunteerism. For further information about reservations or to place a congratulatory ad in the souvenir journal, contact Allison Chader at The Volunteer Center by phone at 914-227-9307, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.volunteer-center.org/awards.