Archive for April, 2010

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Natalie Minev – 2010 AmeriCorps VISTA Member of the Year

April 23, 2010

Congratulations to Natalie Minev who is being honored as the 2010 AmeriCorps VISTA member of the Year by Nevada Volunteers, the state commission for AmeriCorps. Find out a little more about Natalie from her spotlight below.  

Name: Natalie Ann-Marie Minev

Host Site: Volunteer Center of Southern Nevada

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

What is your favorite thing about your AmeriCorps position?: I love the team I work with at the Volunteer Center.  They are funny, amazing, and beautiful people.  I also love doing huge service projects in the community, meeting awesome volunteers who want to make positive change, and interacting with great non-profits around the valley. 

What is your favorite place to eat in southern Nevada?: I love Streets of New York pizza in Centennial Hills for a great slice of pizza.  I also love going to Roberto’s for a carne asada torta. 

What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?: Chilling with family and friends, reading, spending time outside, playing the guitar, volunteering, eating out, and shopping. 

What is your favorite thing to do or place to go in southern Nevada?: Red Rock. My favorite area of Red Rock is the sandstone quarry.  It is a really cool area to hike or have a picnic.  

What is your favorite movie or TV show?: I am a big American Idol fan.

What are your plans after AmeriCorps?:
Attending Berkeley Law school this fall to study public interest law. 

What is your favorite quote?:
“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”  – Rainer Maria Rilke

At the Volunteer Center, Natalie works on establishing new partnerships with non-profits in the community and organizing service projects for national days of service. In January she helped organize four different projects for the National Martin Luther King Day of Service that engaged over 500 students and community volunteers across the valley. Recently she organized a service learning project for high school students at Three Square food bank.

Natalie has lived in Las Vegas most of her life and earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and political science at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.  She has two older brothers.  She enjoys reading, hanging out, music, and attempting to learn new languages. 

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming an AmeriCorps or AmeriCorps VISTA member please click on the links or visit the National Service website HERE.

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2010 AmeriCorps Program Director of the Year!

April 22, 2010

Congratulations to Michelle Redmond for being honored as 2010 AmeriCorps Program Director of the Year by Nevada Volunteers, the state commission for AmeriCorps.  For the past two years, Michelle has managed United Way’s AmeriCorps program which places AmeriCorps participants throughout the Las Vegas valley and in Pahrump.  Michelle was honored and received a plaque commemorating her achievement during today’s National Volunteer Week luncheon for National Service members.  If you see her take a moment to congratulate her on this deserved recognition.

For anyone who wasn’t able to attend the National Volunteer Week Appreciation Lunch you can view the pictures of the event HERE.

Also check out the video that was shown to AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members who were able to attend the lunch.  The pizza, salad, soda and cake were fabulous!

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The Second Annual Volunteer Spotlight Awards

April 19, 2010

The Volunteer Spotlight Awards focus on those volunteers who go above and beyond to improve lives and build a stronger, healthier and safer community.  Many volunteers share their time and talents by getting involved in their communities to help effect lasting change.  By working together these individuals and teams help to meet critical community needs that can create a better community for everyone.

We are pleased to recognize this year’s nominees (and the organizations who nominated them):  Gary Allen (American Red Cross), Martha Balecki (Blindconnect), Richard Bennett (Metro Volunteers), Timmarie Blankenship (Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada), Ella Brewer (Metro Volunteers), Carol Evans (The Shade Tree), Mike Feston (HELP of Southern Nevada), Nicole Greb (Nye Communities Coalition), Charles “Pretty Good” Higgs (HELP of Southern Nevada), Ashley Hill (HELP of Southern Nevada), Carol Hilliard (The Shade Tree), Megan Ho Ching (HELP of Southern Nevada), Geraldine Johnson (American Red Cross), Kenneth Johnson (NV Paralyzed Veterans of America), Rayna Lazarou (The Rape Crisis Center), Veda McDowell (Helping Hands of Vegas Valley), Edward ‘Mac’ McPhilomy (Goodwill Industries of Southern Nevada), Mary Moore (Las Vegas Clark County Urban League – MLK Senior Center), Patrick Moore (American Red Cross), Jenna Nelson (HELP of Southern Nevada), Cameron Ortega (HELP of Southern Nevada), Erick Ramirez (Goodwill Industries of Southern Nevada), Patricia Ransom (The Shade Tree), Warren Reinig (UMC), Shannon West Youth Center Residents (HELP of Southern Nevada), Nancy Steinke (Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary), Joe Teeporten (Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary), Katarina Tesarova (The Shade Tree) and Viviana Vallin (Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas). 

Award recipients will receive a Presidential Service Award certificate and congratulatory letter signed by President Obama.  Recipients will also be highlighted on our social networks, in our volunteer newsletter and on our website homepage.  If you know any of these nominees or recipients, please be sure to congratulate them and thank them for their service to the community. And here are this year’s Volunteer Spotlight Recipients!

National Service: Nicole Greb is currently serving as an AmeriCorps member at Nye Communities Coalition (NyECC), where she works as the Youth Leadership Facilitator.  Nicole works with youth ages 12-18 and has participate in tobacco awareness and prevention programs such as Project 1200 and KickButt Day.  Nicole shares her positive attitude and enthusiasm with the youth members and has doubled membership and improved attendance and involvement in group activities.  Nicole has helped facilitate goal setting to help youth determine areas of interest as well as recruiting professionals in the community to share information about bullying, social media, nutrition and alcohol & energy drinks.  In the six months since Nicole started she has coordinated a volunteer opportunity for the Disney “Give a Day. Get a Disney Day.” program that involved over 200 community members.  Nicole also works with youth members to use social media to raise awareness about youth substance abuse, health, fitness and community involvement.

Group: Shannon West Youth Center Residents are examples of selfless generosity despite difficult circumstances.  The Youth Center residents are homeless and at-risk youth ages 16-21.  This past holiday season volunteers had been scheduled to help distribute toys to families in need however when not enough volunteers showed up on day one of toy distribution staff wondered how they were going to manage the growing line of families waiting outside.  The Shannon West Youth Center residents came to the rescue that day starting at 6:30am and working until 6pm they followed specific directions on how to “shop” for each child to provide them with toys for the holidays.  The Youth Center residents showed their maturity as they followed directions and worked hard to pick out toys for children that would otherwise go without.  The residents assisted with shopping, re-stocking and dealing with clients with a positive attitude.  Thanks to their efforts 3,000 clients were able to “shop” providing toys for around 10,000 children.

Individual: Ella Brewer is the recipient of our exceptional volunteer over the age of 18, Individual Award. She was nominated by the Metro Volunteer Program.  Ella has been volunteering with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) Metro Volunteer Program for almost a year but in that time she has been volunteering at least nine hours a day five days a week.  Ella’s primary responsibilities include answering the phone, scheduling interviews, checking and recording mileage reimbursement requests and preparing orientation handbooks.  Ella can often be found laughing as she interacts with other volunteers sharing her positive attitude and upbeat outlook.  In addition to sharing her time and talents she is also passionate about sharing her volunteer experience with others helping to recruit new volunteers to the program.  Ella is truly dedicated to her service learning more about the LVMPD by participating in the Citizens Police Academy and attending CERT (Citizens Emergency Response Team) training in order to be better prepared to help her neighborhood during an emergency. 

Lifetime: Geraldine Johnson is the recipient of the Lifetime of Service Award and was nominated by the American Red Cross for her work with the Customer Support Center (CSS) as the Coordinator for the Southern Nevada Chapter. Geraldine has been volunteering with the Southern Nevada Chapter for the past 5 years however she has volunteered with the Red Cross alongside her mother since she was 12.  She currently volunteers between 65-80 hours per month supervising volunteers, ordering supplies and all other fulfillment activities associated with the CSS.  The impact to the community has been incredible. The CSS supplies manikins, manuals and all other supplies needed for CPR, First Aid, Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and Water Safety classes offered by the Red Cross for Clark, Lincoln and Nye counties.  By assuring the proper supplies are on hand almost 25,000 people in southern Nevada were certified in these lifesaving skills last year.  Geraldine’s work ethic and determination at the “young” age of 81 continue to be an inspiration to others of her lifelong commitment to volunteerism and the mission of the American Red Cross.

Youth: Jenna Nelson of North Las Vegas is the recipient of the standout volunteer under 18 years of age, Youth Award. A high school senior preparing for college, Jenna was nominated by HELP of Southern Nevada.  Jenna has volunteered with HELP for more than 5 years and has shared her talents throughout the organization by participating in Done in a Day, Turkey Drive Distribution, Turkey-a-Thon, Toy Drive, Toy Store Distribution and Gowntown.  Jenna is always on time, mature, responsible and continuously gives what she can.  She even brings her friends to help out sharing her passion for volunteering with those around her.  Jenna and her friends have even gave up their weekend to study for school while sharing hot chocolate and blankets with staff who were manning the night shift during Toy Drive on one of the many cold nights.