Volunteers hailed for playing a vital role in community

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As we all know, volunteers are Chandler’s and Tempe’s unsung—and sometimes underappreciated— heroes, without whom many vital human services wouldn’t get done.

Chandler will correct any such omissions again this year with the running of the 2018 Volunteer Recognition program and its accompanying People’s Choice Award, the only one in which votes from the community helping to determine the winner.

Voting for People’s Choice nominees at chandleraz.gov/volunteer100 will be available until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Now in its eighth year, the event represents a partnership between the city of Chandler and For Our City Chandler to recognize outstanding volunteers for the time, talents and energy they contributed to the betterment of the community.

Nominations were accepted through last December, with winners to be announced at an awards breakfast from 8-9:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, at Chandler Center for the Arts.

Nominees and their affiliations include: Carolyn Arnpriester, Environmental Education Center — Carolyn has been volunteering at the EEC since 2013, and in this short time she has become one of the most reliable and consistent leaders that staff can always count on.

This year alone, she has volunteered for more than 50 hours. Her background as a teacher helped refine Carolyn’s skill set, making her the perfect candidate to help run the Environmental Explorations field trip opportunities for schools and groups that allow students to explore the adventures of learning science, social studies and other subjects.

Helen Gonzales, About Care — Helen is an energetic volunteer who assists five ladies each week by taking them to their medical appointments, helping with Saving money is important.

She has taken these ladies on emergency matters to the hospital and waits all night, if needed, to take them back home.

Helen also helps staff with their Spanish-speaking clients as well as brainstorming to provide better services overall. She is the first to volunteer for a difficult situation or a last-minute request.

Monica Martorano, Chandler Public Library (including West Chandler Sunset Branch) — Monica began volunteering in 2016, right as the Friends of the Library were launching their new online bookstore.

As with most new endeavors, things were hectic; processes needed to be identified and best practices put into place.

Bringing in her intellect and calm, thoughtful approach to problem solving, most likely honed from her years as an air traffic controller, Monica was instrumental in the creation of a streamlined assessment of each and every book donated (hundreds per week).

This “quick scan” became the key that allowed the online store to grow and progress, bringing in an additional $10,000 in the first year, all going to support library programs and services.

Fernando Zavala, Sí Se Puede Foundation — For the past three years, Fernando has volunteered with SSPF as a mentor and coach to elementary and junior high school robotics teams.

A junior at Chandler High School, Fernando has provided SSPF with more than 3,500 hours of community service.

As a mentor and coach, he teaches kids how to successfully fabricate land, air and underwater robots. Last year, Fernando coached a high school robotics team that qualified in their region and earned a berth in the state championships. He also facilitated a summer STEM program for Chandler Unified School District’s Destination College and helped teach Chandler and Phoenix educators how to build a LEGO robot and an underwater robot.
About For Our City Chandler — For Our City Chandler is
led by Chandler City Councilmember Kevin Hartke and
coordinates service needs for the city and various nonprofit
organizations, with the resources made available
by churches, employers, business groups and others in the
Chandler area. Information: forourcitychandler.org.

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