Each year Senior Services selects volunteers from each program to present an Above & Beyond award to recognize their outstanding efforts throughout the past year.
This award is presented at the annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony by the program supervisor.
Nikita Augins has volunteered as a Meals on Wheels Delivery Driver for more than a year and has dedicated more than 160 hours to ensuring seniors have access to nutritional lunches at our Wellness Centers. He uses his personal vehicle to pick up containers of food and delivers them to our centers weekly and sometimes more often. He does this consistently and takes extra care in making sure the deliveries stay within the correct time frame so the food stays hot for the seniors to eat. Additionally, every time Nikita and the Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver these meals, employees are able to schedule a medical transport during the same time frame. This means that Nikita is providing more than a meal - he's providing an employee more time to help seniors get to their medical appointments like dialysis. Thank you Nikita for all your time and efforts!
Nyla Davis volunteered as a Development Donor Database Specialist and assisted our Events Manager Jody Mazur with many tasks that go into producing a major annual event. As a Database Specialist, Nyla went above and beyond expectations by completing the same rigorous training on our new donor/constituent software platform as did our full-time employees, earning expertise and a certification on the software. With this knowledge, she was able to take on a very challenging part of our data migration and bring it through to completion. We came to depend on Nyla and regarded her as a valuable member of the team. In just under a year’s time, Nyla volunteered almost 200 hours with Senior Services and provided invaluable support. We're sad to see her go and yet so excited for her as she starts her new job. Thank you Nyla!
Mary Howie is an Ombudsman volunteer and has been for the past 8 years. During these eight years she has touches the lives of many residents and family members in the long-term care facility she visits. She regularly exceeds the requested four-hour commitment we ask of her, to spend more time with the residents in the nursing home. She provides information and assistance not only to the residents but to the facility staff as well! She has dedicated her visits to assisting with solving problems as well as providing some socialization for those that tend to be without family support. On the rare times she misses visits, we receive calls from the residents asking about her and when they will see her again. It's this kind of caring for others that makes Mary stand out and makes such a difference in the lives of residents in long term care facilities. Her feedback on issues that she encounters helps to effect change at the local, state, and national levels to improve the quality of life and care for our seniors. We're proud to work alongside Mary and her presence makes a positive difference in the lives of many people. We appreciate you Mary!
Jessica Johns served as the Benefits Team Administrative Assistant for eight months and did an outstanding job. Though she was mostly behind the scenes with clients, she was front and center with staff. Jessica pulled calls from our hot-line, up-dated spreadsheets, created spreadsheets, data entry, kept all our client paperwork up to date and did a training for pulling reports from our STARS program. This was a big deal as it took quite some time to learn it. Jessica worked 20 to 30 hours a week and was a great asset to our program. Unfortunately for us she has moved to be closer to family. Thank you to Jessica for volunteering with us and good luck with your next adventure!
Portsmouth Sherriff's Office volunteer in a variety of ways. This year alone, the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office volunteered by delivering Emergency Meals to our homebound Portsmouth clients, making monthly Comfort Calls to our clients who receive Home Delivered Meal service through Senior Services, and have also served as an immeasurable resource in performing welfare checks on clients who we have either have not heard from, or who have a history of falls or wandering. When time is of the essence in assisting seniors that are homebound or ill, the PSO has served as our backbone for achieving the common goal of keeping seniors in our communities safe and allowing them to live with dignity and respect. When we think of the Portsmouth Sherriff's Office, we think of this quote by Andrew Carnegie: “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results”. Thank you!
Gary Zalas is the Coordinator of Outreach Program for Seniors with the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Department, has been with a SSSEVA Comfort Caller since March 2017. He is personally responsible for calling over 30 Meals on Wheels clients every two weeks to check on their wellbeing and the status of their meals. Gary ensures a personal connection with every client we serve, sometimes logging 15 to 20 minute phone conversations with the seniors who need it the most. Some of our clients are homebound, ill, or just lonely; and Gary is always the positive and friendly personality on the other end of the phone. In June, he individually delivered over 56 boxes of Hurricane Delivery Meals to 28 of our clients in Virginia Beach. He spent over 10 hours completing this task for us, and went back to our client’s homes 2 or 3 times to ensure they received their emergency meals. SSSEVA is in his debt for the contribution he makes to our organization, and we are grateful for his time and consistent work ethic to seniors in our community.
Valerie Smith has been with SSSEVA since June 1st 2017 as a Wellness Center Aide at Cambridge Square Apartments. Valerie has been tremendously instrumental in greeting newcomers to the complex and making them feel welcome. Not only is she helping with the nutrition program, but also in assisting others outside of the program. She assists her neighbors in their homes, checking on their wellbeing, and helping to complete chores that her neighbors are not able to complete due to illness and age. Valerie plays an integral role in managing the complex’s community garden; she is out in the rain and hot sun to ensure the garden is taken care of for the people that live in the complex. The residents and staff at Cambridge Square, as well as SSSEVA, thanks Valerie for the dedicated time and care she shows those around her.
Sandra Pierce is an Ombudsman Volunteer. In selecting her for this award, we reached out to the administrators at the long term care facilities where the ombudsman volunteers visit on a regular basis. Irvin Land, Administrator of Portsmouth Health and Rehab Center says, “I want to share with you how appreciative we are to have your Ombudsman Volunteer as a part of our family. She has shown genuine interest in the lives of the residents and can often be found in a bedbound resident’s room offering works of comfort, assisting them in getting the help needed, and making sure that the personal needs are met. She provides valuable insight to me about what she observes during her visits. She even came in on July 4th to spend time with the residents and she assisted in helping to make the event an enjoyable one for the residents and their families. I value her opinion, and as a part of our circle of care, she is helping us to continue to go forward on our journey of excellent care. Thanks for sharing this volunteer with us”.
Ty Anderson is a full-time student at ECPI working towards her bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration. She plans to work as an executive director in a facility specializing in emergency management. She truly exhibits the quote, "Volunteers don't necessarily have the time, they just have the heart"! She graciously volunteered her time with the Senior Companion Program serving as a Volunteer Office Associate. She was instrumental helping with data management of a major project. Ty jumped right in and became a part of the team. She was available to help as needed and stepped in when the department needed help. SSSEVA is grateful to her for choosing us and the Senior Companion Program to donate her precious time.
Jen VanDavier is the Community Integration Specialists at the Albero Home at St. Mary’s. Jen and the young adults at the Albero home were looking for volunteer opportunities for our young adults to give back to the community. Since Jen had volunteered with Senior Services in the past delivering liquid nutrition, she thought of SSSEVA.
She said, "We were wanting to give back to our community and hopefully over time build friendships."
Jen and one individual from the Albero House deliver Meals on Wheels to the Williams Farm Recreation Center each Monday. After delivering the meals, they stay awhile and join the seniors. Not only does this time spent encourage the seniors, it also encourages the young adult who is a regular volunteer with Jen. Jen shared with us that "Many of the seniors now greet him by name, and he smiles. There is also a lady who takes classes at the rec center. She often waits after her class in order to see him. When she talks to him he smiles. This opportunity to serve others is helping him to become an active member of the community. It helps him feel good about himself, and he is making a difference in the lives of Seniors." Thank you Jen for all you do to volunteer and on top of that, making this an accessible opportunity for others to get involved in!
Sharon Frazier received her MBA from William and Mary and Retied from Cox Media. She previously volunteered with the Tidewater Literacy Council program and help a gentleman over 30 years old learn to read. Sharon is very excited to be a Volunteer Benefits Counselor, she has said in the past “ I love doing this and the clients are so appreciative”. Being a Volunteer Benefits Counselor takes study, patience, and stamina. There is quite a bit of studying and on the job learning. It takes time, several weeks or months to learn the program and become independent. Sharon diligently studied on her own and in the office, as well as shadowed other benefits counselors. Within a few months she was ready to proceed on her own. We are so grateful to have Sharon as part of our volunteer team and are very appreciative of the initiative and investment she contributes.