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Volunteer Center honors individuals, organizations for community service

The Volunteer Center, a placement agency in San Francisco, recently recognized two local individuals and two organizations for their services to the community. They will be presented with awards at a ceremony on May 11.

“We give all of these awards so we can really hold these organizations and these people up as examples for others to model (themselves) after,” said John Power, executive director of The Volunteer Center.

This year, the Center has given its Community Spirit Award — for an individual nominated by a nonprofit — to Dr. John Ngai, a surgeon. He has been providing free medical services to more than 250 individuals and surgeries to 90 patients at Kaiser Permanente in Redwood City through Operation Access, a San Francisco nonprofit that connects uninsured patients with medical professionals.

The other awards were given to a nonprofit board member, a nonprofit that has a robust volunteer program, and a corporation that encourages employees to get involved in the community.

Phil Estes, who is a board member at Larkin Street Youth Services, a local nonprofit that provides services for homeless youngsters, received the Nonprofit Board Leader Award for helping grow the organization from a budget of $4 million with four programs to $13 million with 25 programs.

The Excellence in Nonprofit Volunteer Management Award went to Community Alliance For Learning, an organization that trains volunteers to be English writing tutors for children in schools in Oakland, Berkeley, Albany and El Cerrito.

This year’s Corporate Community Involvement Award was given to United Business Media Limited, a media company with offices around the world.

The economic slump of the past few years has encouraged people in the Bay Area to volunteer at various nonprofits.

“There has been some very incremental growth in the rate of volunteering particularly here in the Bay Area,” said Power. “We definitely saw it during the economic downturn. We saw a significant increase in the number of people that were looking to volunteer.”

He added that people volunteered for a variety for reasons in addition to having the time to do so: they wanted to stay active and to meet new people to network for potential job opportunities.

The Center is soliciting nominations online from volunteers to honor a nonprofit with the Volunteer Choice Award. The organization with the most number of votes will be announced at the awards ceremony.


Volunteers make a differente

Editor, The UK based Fluent Future Ltd., through its free language exchange newtworking website has launched its Volunteer Programme.  It aims to provide youths from  poor families with a second language as a tool to improve future employability.Our pilot project - Project Teresopolis - in collaboration with a Brazilian charity organisation offers free online tuition to 7 to 12 years old schoolchildren.Currently, we have volunteers from Brazil, UK, Russia, Germany, India, Portugal, Costa Rica, Poland, USA, Italy, Netherlands and Greece, who are donating 1-2 hours a week to teach English as a second language to small groups.The volunteers generous contribution has been outstanding.. As a first impact we´ve realised the improvement of the pupils´  English ratings at school as well as their motivation towards learning a second language. We do believe that the volunteers cooperation will surely make a difference in the lives of many enthusiastic youngsters. The language exchange social networking members participation have been implemented thus far in the project, but our long-term goal is to further incorporate global volunteers. Thus,  we would be delighted if you could let your readers know about this volunteering opportunity. Kindest regardsMaria Thereza SoutoFluentfuture Volunteer Programme Co-ordinator Fluentfuture Volunteer Programme is on Facebook.  Phone: 55 21 98236550