Angelo’s & Vinci’s Ristorante in Fullerton, Calif. was the scene for the Crittenton Services for Children and Families (CSCF) Volunteer Appreciation and Awards Ceremony on October 26, 2013.
Volunteers, loved ones, and award recipients gathered to enjoy a day of celebration, good food, and the spirit of volunteerism.
“Whether they have been volunteers for forty years or four months, our volunteers are always filled with enthusiasm,” said Marilyn Salzman, Director of Development, CSCF and added, ”Our volunteers take the time to get to know our kids, really care about the kids, and truly enjoy being with them. The volunteers are amazing members of the Crittenton team – and we are so grateful to each one of them.”
Year after year CSCF Auxiliaries, Connection Crews, Cookie Moms, Cookie Couples, and Baby Cuddlers, throw parties, organize crafts, laugh, cook, read, study and talk to the children in Crittenton’s care. Yes, they raise money for their activities, but the real gift is raising the spirits of some very vulnerable children.
“I have been a part of Crittenton for almost 40 years and it has been through Joyce (Crittenton’s CEO) and Marilyn (Crittenton’s Director of Development) that Crittenton and its volunteer program have evolved to what you see today. I send well wishes to all volunteers and my congratulations to those recognized today,” said JoAnne Olson, CSCF Volunteer and National Presidential Volunteer Lifetime Service Award recipient.
The annual awards ceremony serves as a platform to honor the many contributions Crittenton volunteers collectively accomplish 365 days a year.
This year’s award recipients include volunteers that serve in the CSCF Youth Shelter Program, CSCF Residential Services Program, and of course at an agency wide level. The volunteers recognized at the appreciation and awards ceremony included:
Youth Shelter Program Volunteers
- Behind The Scenes Award – Erin Pifer
- Extra Mile Award – Liz Elsenpeter
- Outstanding Volunteer Group Award – Placentia United Methodist Church
Residential Services Program Volunteers
- Cuddler Award (CSCF Infant & Toddler Center) – Pat Paavola
- Behind The Scenes Award – Trisha Ladd
- Extra Mile Award – Sybella Patten
- Outstanding Volunteer Group Award – Cooking Bingo Mom’s
CSCF Agency Awards
- Crittenton Volunteer of the Year – Kimberly Ostrowski via the National Charity League of Yorba Linda
The National Presidential Volunteer Lifetime Service Awards
- Jolene Munson
- JoAnne Olson
“What we really enjoy and feel blessed about is our volunteer program and the dedication Crittenton volunteers show the children in our care,” said Winston Miller, Chair of the Board of Directors, CSCF, and added, “On behalf of the entire agency I’d like to humbly extend our gratitude for all that you do. You make accomplishing our mission so much easier.”
To all CSCF volunteers we thank you for your continued service, and look forward on continuing to work together to make impactful solutions in the communities we serve.
Short bio’s of the 2013 Crittenton Volunteer Award Recipients are listed below (Photo Courtesy – Jason Bauerly):
Youth Shelter Program Volunteer Award Recipients
Behind the Scenes Award – Erin Pifer
The Behind the Scenes award goes to someone who has been volunteering faithfully for the last two and a half years. Erin has served at one of our home’s within the Youth Shelter Program providing creative crafts, delicious snacks and most importantly a warm caring attitude. She has built a tremendous rapport with the girls in the Youth Shelter Program, the staff and her fellow volunteers. She was chosen as the recipient of the Behind the Scenes Award because she humbly and quietly gives her time, resources, energy and heart, never complaining, never asking for recognition. She is one of those leaders that we don’t have to worry about. We know she will show up and she will find something wonderful to do with the girls. We are sad to also announce that we will be losing her as a volunteer very soon as she is moving to Australia to be trained in Midwifery so she can deliver babies for some of the most impoverished communities around the world. Erin will surely be missed and those who she will be serving in the future are very lucky to have Erin by their side.
Extra Mile Award – Liz Elsenpeter
The Extra Mile Award goes to someone who truly embodies what it means to go above and beyond. She has been a Crittenton Volunteer for more than 10 years. She currently serves in our Youth Shelter Program and coordinates her group of Cookie Moms. She also volunteers with her husband and other Crittenton Couples as well. She is a natural born leader and makes sure everyone she knows is aware of Crittenton and how they can also help the wonderful kids Crittenton serves. She is a true champion of Crittenton, also serving as an officer in the Felicia Auxiliary which raises funds for Crittenton. She was awarded the Silver Presidential Volunteer Service Award for more than 250 hours of service in 2012. She single handedly plans and implements the Christmas party for the girls in one of our home’s within the Youth Shelter Program and makes sure it is a memorable evening filled with love. She is constantly going above and beyond to make the lives of our clients a little brighter. Liz is an irreplaceable cornerstone of the volunteer program and we are so grateful to have her as a part of the Crittenton family.
Volunteer Group of the Year Award – Placentia United Methodist Church
The group who we have chosen as the Group of the Year is one of the favorite groups serving at Crittenton. As a group they visit three houses within our Youth Shelter Program. They are constantly thinking of ways to get more people involved and are always concerned about what they can do to enhance the lives of our clients. They have been regularly volunteering for two and a half years and have built quite the positive reputation with the staff and clients. They are fun, creative and committed. The Placentia United Methodist Church have organized special events for the clients off campus, work hard to make sure each activity is something specifically designed to benefit the clients, and most importantly, they demonstrate a deep commitment to the children they serve. A few months ago, some of our clients in the Youth Shelter Program unfortunately contracted chicken pox, forcing us to cancel all volunteer groups for a few weeks. Members of this group decided they would drop off little care packages for every single client, just so they would know that they weren’t forgotten. There is no question that the Placentia United Methodist Group is deserving of this award, and so much more.
Residential Services Program Volunteer Award Recipients
Cuddler Award (CSCF Infant and Toddler Center) – Pat Paavola
Pat, a relatively new volunteer, started out by volunteering in the CSCF Parent and Child Education Center (PACE) two times a month. It didn’t take long, in fact just one month, for Pat to consistently come every week. She is both liked and respected by the staff to the extent that they asked if she would be even more flexible and switch days and come whenever needed. She was definitely needed. So far Pat has volunteered a total of 105 hours in the PACE Center in 2013 alone! She will be receiving the National Presidential Bronze Service Award next year for her commitment to public service. Pat has gone above and beyond feeling the joy of cuddling and taking care of the infants and toddlers in our care. She has made the babies and toddlers happy, made the staff grateful for her flexibility, and made us life-long admirers of her dedication.
Behind The Scenes – Trisha Ladd
As the Coordinator of the Snackin’ Spoon Playing Mom’s group that serves in one of the home’s within the Residential Services Program, Trisha, has set a very high standard of excellence. Her coordination with the other members of her group to consistently share a variety of snacks while enjoying a lively game of “Spoons” with our clients has led to an activity our children can both count on and truly enjoy. She and her group have also organized and recruited donations for the welcome table at the annual “Crittenton Day of Beauty Event” where our volunteer’s are treated to a wonderful breakfast of quiches, muffins, coffee, etc. before they begin their day of service pampering our clients with beauty. Trisha is always willing to help train future volunteers as she accepts them in her group. Usually these volunteers go on to become active members of different teams and Trisha’s influence in training them has helped to raise the bar for volunteer participation and leadership at Crittenton.
Extra Mile Award – Sybella Patten
Sybella Patten is a wonder to behold. Active, enthusiastic, committed, Sybella is an example of the saying if you have a big job to do, give it to a busy person. She will get it done better and faster than someone with loads of time on their hands. She is the volunteer coordinator of her group via the Orange County-National Council of Negro Women, of which she was a founding member. Sybella has set a tone for the girls in the home within the Residential Services Program she volunteers in by showing grace, good judgment, and sincerity that would be impossible to exceed. Over the years she has thought of incredibly creative ways to introduce “healthy” snacks to our clients when all they wanted was Hot Cheetos along with games and crafts. She, herself, cooked nearly 20 Cornish Game Hens for a holiday celebration this year, because of her desire to teach good eating habits. She thoroughly understands who our clients are and unerringly sees the potential in their lives. And if that is not enough, she with others from the Friendship Baptist Church, consistently coordinate a monthly Bible study for some of our girls should they choose to participate.
Volunteer Group of the Year Award – Cooking Bingo Mom’s
For more than four years the Cooking Bingo Mom’s, have been practicing their creative flair with both food and recreational activities. They have been teaching our girls in the Residential Services Program how to cook with as few as five simple and low-cost ingredients in the hopes our clients learn a new skill set. Cooking simple dishes are skills our clients need, but they also have fun cooking with our volunteers. No matter the conditions, cooking in an electric skillet in our recreation room, or on a stove in one of our home’s, they have shown the girls that good food is easy, delicious and within their reach. And having a game of Bingo is an added treat! Low cost family entertainment is another skill our girls pick up from the Bingo Moms. The members of the Cooking Bingo Moms have made learning life skills easy, fun, and worthwhile. It is because of these many reasons they receive the Outstanding Volunteer Group Award.
CSCF Agency Awards
Crittenton Volunteer of the Year – Kimberly Ostrowski via the National Charity League of Yorba Linda
Kimberly Ostrowski is the recipient of Crittenton’s Volunteer of the Year Award for 2013. She started her Crittenton volunteer service in 2012 as the Philanthropy Liaison for the Yorba Linda chapter of the National Charity League (NCL). Kimberly has consistently gone above and beyond the scope of volunteering with her endless enthusiasm, creative contributions, and optimal organizational skills. She has opened her home to Crittenton for volunteer orientations and trainings. In addition to the regular task of organizing the Mother/Daughter Nursery Crews throughout the summer months, she decided to expand the program and add both the Easter and Christmas breaks to the schedule. As a result more than 100 mothers and daughters volunteered in the Crittenton PACE Center helping with our toddlers and babies. But for Kimberly, that wasn’t enough. She continually calls and asks what NCL can do for Crittenton. Making sure that our baby showers are all they can be, she arranged for the provisional class to donate diaper bags for our “mom’s to be”, and donated many Christmas gifts for our clients. She has been an immense help with our 2012 and 2013 Crittenton Community for Kids Golf Tournaments and our 2013 Mystery Night Dinner Fundraiser by signing up NCL moms and daughters to serve as auction and raffle monitors for each of the events. In addition to their volunteer services, they have donated gifts for the events, and purchased gifts that were up for auction at the events they staffed. Throughout the year she has found ways to include NCL in our children’s activities. They have participated in numerous parties by baking cookies, and donated “Crittenton Day of Beauty Event” gift bags to our residents. Through Kimberly’s leadership, she has raised the bar of volunteers for the benefit of Crittenton and the clients we serve. We thank Kimberly for her commitment, public service and are eternally grateful to have her as part of the Crittenton family and to her contribution to the national Crittenton legacy.
Jolene Munson and JoAnne Olson
For nearly 25 years Jolene Munson has been the perfect example of a person in perpetual motion for the benefit of others. She helps her family, relatives, friends, and strangers alike who are in need of help and compassion. Jolene is the type of person who strives to always make the world around her a better and more compassionate place.
Likewise, for nearly 40 years, JoAnne Olson has been the perfect example of a person who has dedicated her life to serving those around her who need help, whether known or unknown. Whether the need is spiritual, physical, emotional, or financial, JoAnne is there to help and make a difference.
Both Jolene and JoAnne make friends wherever they go, break down barriers of skepticism, and build bonds of understanding with all those they meet.
Amazingly these two different Crittenton volunteers are also so alike in the unconscious, inborn sense of philanthropy. Both started their journeys as Crittenton volunteers through our Felicia Auxiliary. Both have served on our Board of Directors, JoAnne as Chair. Both have given their time to provide direct service to our clients. They have separately taken on projects such as providing a music room and instruments for our clients, planning special events, chairing committees, and working as event volunteers.
No project was too big or too small for these remarkable women. They have done so much for so many. They are both truly deserving of the Presidential Volunteer Lifetime Service Awards and we thank them for their combined service.
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive counseling, medical, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array of residential, in-home, community based, wraparound, foster care, and adoption services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties.