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Industry featured this week: Volunteerism


Local Jefferson Awards for Public Service, which celebrate volunteerism, were given to Donald A. Bair of Adams County, Ginny Jones of Cumberland County, Evita V. Vidot-Cotta of Dauphin County, Melodie Dearolf of Lancaster County, Grace B. Bachman of Lebanon County and Madison Carr of York County. Bair coaches multiple sports with the Special Olympics and assists athletes in writing and presenting speeches. He also is active in his church, created a Sunday school for the Special Olympic athletes, and helps tend to a church garden that provides food for local food banks. He is a member of the Biglerville Lions Club. Altogether, he volunteers about 30 hours a week. In 2007, Jones started collecting used furniture on her porch to help her daughter and others living in a group home furnish their apartments. The project grew into nonprofit New Digs, whose volunteers gather, disburse and manage the growing inventory of household items. Jones donates an average of 120 hours a month to New Digs, and under her direction more than 20 regular volunteers contribute another 450 hours a month. Vidot-Cotta is employed full time with the Community Action Commission as a parent educator. In addition, she volunteers as a firefighter with Steelton Fire Department, as a Zumba instructor for children living in Harrisburg housing projects and with Estamos Unidos de Pennsylvania, the Police Athletic League and Harrisburg Parks and Recreation. For the past two years, Dearolf has been a party coordinator with the You're Invited program through Who Cares PA and has helped more than 80 volunteers give birthday parties to more than 100 children staying in a local homeless shelter. She also is a board member and public relations manager with Holiday Hope, which last year provided Christmas to more than 50 families and seniors who would otherwise have gone without. On average, she volunteers more than 15 hours per month, in addition to working full time. Bachman, 95, has been volunteering at the Lebanon VA Medical Center's information desk since 2002. In addition, she has been a volunteer every Friday at Columbia Cottage in Campbelltown for 14 years and volunteers as an elected minority inspector at the voting poles in Annville. Carr began volunteering in 2007 as a 15-year-old high-school student. Later, she started the Do Something Club at York College that provides numerous volunteer opportunities for club members, including the Autism Walk, the Do Something About Bullying Project, local Habitat for Humanity projects, YCP's Relay for Life and the Hope Street Garden in York. She also has organized car washes to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House and is active in her church. Altogether, she volunteers about 10 hours a month.

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