Area United Way Recognizes Those Who Give Back To Community

National Volunteer Week is April 15-21 and is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to come together to tackle tough challenges, and build stronger, more resilient communities.

The annual Volunteer of the Year reception by the United Way honoring 17 local volunteers will take place Tuesday, April 24, at the Boys and Girls Club in Jamestown. This event provides a chance for the United Way community partners to honor their volunteers and to highlight the importance of volunteerism in our community.

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Elva Duckworth has been volunteering at Junior Achievement for the past 5 years at both Falconer and Jamestown High School. Her involvement with Junior Achievement in Chautauqua County has enabled Junior Achievement to reach more students with programs that teach them financial literacy, entrepreneurship and career work readiness skills. As a Junior Achievement volunteer, Elva has a wonderful rapport with the students in the classroom. Furthermore, Elva values the mission of Junior Achievement and has made a comment more than once about how “important and worthwhile she feels the curriculum is for the students at our local schools.” Elva is appreciated for her dedication to the mission and most importantly to the students she influences through her work with Junior Achievement.

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Sharon Green was employed by Jamestown Community Learning Council (JCLC) from 2000-2006 at which time she retired. However, like many retired people, she remains busier than ever and has continued keeping JCLC in her heart by helping them through many volunteer type activities since her retirement over the last 12 years. Sharon has served as the liaison for a holiday gift drive for local companies, Anderson Precision, Libera, and Knight, Minnaugh & Co., who have coordinated holiday gift drives among all their employees to benefit families served by JCLC. Although these gifts are made possible through these generous company donations, it is Sharon’s volunteering of her time and willingness to serve as a liaison by transporting gifts between companies and JCLC; furthermore, lightening the load for the JCLC staff who have other responsibilities during the holiday season. Sharon truly embraces the Jamestown Community Learning Council’s mission, “to strengthen the capacity of families to nurture, support, and provide for their child’s academic growth and physical well-being by establishing effective relationships between home and school.”

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Joanne E. Nelson has been volunteering with Chautauqua County RSVP for the past 10 years. Joanne served as the President of the Advisory Council and most of her community service is devoted to being a site leader for, “healthy bones” classes which are conducted at First Presbyterian Church. Through this work, Joanne has become the “leader of choice” among her peers in class. Joanne took on additional roles in the Advisory Council such as waitressing, kitchen duty and chief bottle washer. Joanne is a Physical Education Teacher and a Retired Executive Director of a non-profit who possesses a wealth of knowledge in the health field. Her expertise is a tremendous benefit to the mission of RSVP and her willingness to help.

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Ernie Howard has been a faithful school-based mentor for the past 3 years with Chautauqua Striders. Ernie mentors a young boy named William and has built a solid relationship with him from day one. Once a week, Ernie visits William at Jefferson Middle School during lunch. Ernie and William converse about life and school; providing William with a wise and stable individual who he can confide in. As a result of their weekly interactions, Ernie has drastically impacted the life of William. Furthermore, William has shown improvement with self-esteem, relationship building, behavior and attitude. Ernie is recognized by Chautauqua Striders staff as being an exceptionally humble individual who is well deserving of such recognition.

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Rachel Ludwig has volunteered with the Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center (CLCCC) for the past 10 years as serving as a Board member and assisting with fundraising. Rachel is involved in many of the events hosted by CLCCC such as the golf tournament and basket raffles. Rachel is known for donating goodies at these events. In addition, Rachel has served as the treasurer on the CLCCC Board, an instrumental individual in maintaining the fiscal security of the center and staff. Another area in which Rachel steps up as a volunteer is assisting the staff with presentations. She has been recognized for her ability to eloquently advocate and speak on behalf of the CLCCC. All in all, Rachel has been a great resource for CLCCC and an advocate for the children and families in which the center serves.

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Cecile Wilson has volunteered at the American Red Cross for the past 35 years as a blood services donor ambassador and blood services volunteer scheduler. Cecile has taken the leadership role of both scheduling and training volunteers in the Jamestown Chapter Office. She has helped to keep the Jamestown donor center by providing a 100% fill rate of volunteers during blood drives. Cecile is known for volunteering when someone becomes ill or can’t volunteer. In addition, she provides donors with a great experience, is the voice for fellow volunteers and has always been a reliable source to Red Cross employees.