Monday, October 26, 2009
By Rose S. Prinzi
Yesterday, the nation’s largest annual community service event was observed. Make a Difference Day, created by USA WEEKEND Magazine, connects hundreds of local volunteers to a national movement to positively impact their communities. Make a Difference Day is a one day event that celebrates neighbors helping neighbors. However, in Chautauqua County we encounter hundreds of volunteers who selflessly give of themselves in an effort to help their neighbors every day.
Since 1986, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation annually pays tribute to an “unsung hero” who epitomizes the spirit of volunteerism. The
Axel W. Carlson Award was established to recognize individuals who make significant contributions to our community “neither receiving nor expecting reward or recognition.”
This year, Lorri Huckelbery was our 2009 Axel W. Carlson Award Recipient. Lorri is a Board of Director and Secretary of the Falconer Rotary Club. As Literacy Chairperson of the Rotary Club, she arranges for every needy elementary school child and their families in the Falconer School District to receive new Scholastic books at Christmas time.
With these activities, funds need to be raised; and Lorri is right there raising the necessary money to accommodate the purchase of these books.
Lorri is also very active with the Sinclairville Library as their Board Vice-President. Additionally, she conducts two weekly story hours for preschoolers, teaches at its summer reading program, and helps with its fundraising activities.
In 2008, Hazel Porter was the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation’s
Axel W. Carlson Award Recipient. As an active participant in both the Foster Grandparent and the Retired Senior Volunteer Programs (RSVP), Hazel was recognized for her dedication to the second grade students at C.C. Ring School. For 20 hours a week, through good weather and bad, you will find Hazel in Mrs. Centi’s classroom surrounded by students, encouraging them and helping them with their school work.
In addition, Hazel was involved in the “Social Integration Program,” which is a collaborative effort between RSVP and the Chautauqua Blind Association. This program matches community volunteers with visually-impaired clients, enabling them to live independently.
Locally, hundreds of volunteers give back to our community, just like Lorri and Hazel, not just for a day but all year long. They are just two shining examples of how people are making a difference in our community.
Philanthropy and volunteerism create a basis of strength that melds the fabric of our society together. Everyday individuals are making a difference in giving of their time, talent and financial support in helping their neighbors, our community.
Every day, the Community Foundation witnesses the generosity of our neighbors through the hundreds of volunteers who annually donate their time and money to our organization. They give freely of themselves to insure that our students are assisted with college expenses, that our non-profit agencies are able to provide much needed services, and that our community is given the support to develop and grow.
Every day, through our volunteers and donations received, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation is making a difference in our region, not only for one day but for generations to come. Become involved in your Community Foundation through your monetary contributions or your donation of time. You can also make a difference in our community and in the lives of those around us.
For more information, call 661-3390 or go to Chautauqua Region Community Foundation’s website at www.crcfonline.org.