The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce its Community Champions for the fourth quarter of FY15. These employees were nominated by their colleagues and are being recognized for their work with local non-profit organizations, where they donate their time and energy to improve quality of life for their neighbors. The Champions’ chosen nonprofits will receive a $500 grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation.
Office Manager, REM Iowa
Grant Recipient: Anamosa Community School Foundation
For the past seven years, Debbie Beall has dedicated an incredible amount of time and energy toward fundraising and supporting extracurricular activities – specifically in the music and athletic departments – at Anamosa High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As a small school in the area, Anamosa relies heavily on the support of parents and volunteers to ensure their students have successful programming.
Debbie is an avid sports fan, and a seasoned volunteer in the athletics department at Anamosa High. She enjoys all aspects of sports, pitching in wherever needed. Debbie has served as the scoreboard operator, worked the concession stands, baked goods for athletic fundraisers, assembled countless snack packs for athletes on the track, volleyball, baseball, football and basketball teams, and regularly keeps the statistics for men’s basketball. Debbie also serves as the treasurer of the Music Boosters, overseeing all aspects of financial responsibilities and fundraising activities of the school’s music program. She’s traveled across the country as a chaperone for band and choir trips, helping give students the opportunity to see cities they might not otherwise visit.
“I just like to help people,” said Debbie. “If I can make other people’s jobs easier, I like to jump in.”
“As the office manager for REM Iowa, Debbie is often the first point contact many people have with the state office whether they reach out to us by phone or in person, and I could not ask for a better representative of our team,” said Lisa Pakkebier, Executive Director at REM Iowa. “She is professional, kind, caring, considerate, positive and uplifting. She goes above and beyond for every person she comes in contact with. They will be her number one priority; they know and they feel it. This is called the ‘and then some’ mentality. She does what is expected … and then some.”
To learn more about the Anamosa Community School Foundation, please visit http://www.anamosa.k12.ia.us/vnews/display.v/SEC/Foundation
Program Director, Indiana MENTOR
Grant Recipient: Lafayette Urban Ministries Homeless Shelter
Justine Currie has been volunteering at the Lafayette Urban Ministries Homeless Shelter (LUM) for the past 16 years. LUM is an organization of 42 greater Lafayette area churches that serves as a social safety net for at-risk children and working families. Justine spends the first Saturday of each month at LUM’s emergency shelter, preparing food, serving a meal, interacting with guests and helping clean the facility. The shelter serves between 35-48 guests daily, and Justine considers interacting with them the most rewarding part of her experience. She’s consistently impressed by the compassion of guests and volunteers she’s seen over the years.
“Learning about human kindness and the generosity of complete strangers is the most rewarding part of volunteering,” said Justine. “It makes me want to do more.”
“The volunteer work Justine accomplishes with the Lafayette Urban Ministries Homeless Shelter is instrumental in helping those in need around our community,” said Janet Mummey, Regional Director of Indiana MENTOR. “She has impacted countless lives and helped people overcome significant obstacles. Justine has a truly caring and compassionate approach that is witnessed at all times. Indiana MENTOR and our community are fortunate to benefit from her perseverance when times are challenging, happiness to help in whatever way possible, patience to see things through, and unyielding generosity in all that she does.”
To learn more about the Lafayette Urban Ministries Homeless Shelter, please visit www.lumserve.org.
Rehab Specialist/ Facilities Manager, NeuroRestorative Avalon Park
Grant Recipient: Shriners Hospital For Children
As a dedicated motorcycle enthusiast, Jim Strawser has been participating in motorcycle runs to benefit local charities for many years. Jim participates in a number of charitable motorcycle runs in Florida every year. These include the “Russell Home Run,” which benefits the Russell Home for Atypical Children, a private group home serving children with severe disabilities in Orlando, “Ribbon Riders for Cancer,” which supports women battling breast cancer, “Bikers Against Child Abuse,” which protects and empowers victims of child abuse, and a run for the Wounded Eagles Bird Sanctuary at Sanford Zoo.
Jim is also a “Shriner,” a long-standing member of Shriners International, an organization best known for its fundraising efforts to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children, and the red fez hats worn by members. As part of the Bahia Shrine in Central Florida, Jim organizes various motorcycle runs, including the Sam Swope Memorial Charity Ride, which recently celebrated their seventh annual run and raised $344,000 for the hospital.
“Jim has a strong work ethic,” said Patti Dorrell, Executive Director at NeuroRestorative. “One of commitment, dedication, perseverance and reliability. Jim demonstrates these qualities every day as an employee of NeuroRestorative Avalon Park, as well as through his service projects in the community. We are proud to have him as part of our team.”
“I have met some of the most dedicated people throughout my years of volunteering. People with the biggest hearts, volunteering and striving to giving back, to improve lives of others,” said Jim. “We all need to remind ourselves every day that if we are blessed, we need to share those blessings.”
To learn more about Shriners, please visit http://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.
To learn more about these Community Champions or nominate someone, visit the Foundation’s Community Champions page on the Charitable Foundation website.
About The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation
The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is committed to transforming the delivery of human services through the generation of new ideas and best practices. We seek to advance an agenda based on quality, accountability and respect for the individual. The focus of our giving is on organizations that take a fresh look—through research, innovative thinking, direct care and programming—at how people with disabilities and youth and families facing emotional, behavioral and other challenges are cared for in our society. The Foundation also works to expand opportunity for the people we serve through employment and educational support.