VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR CELEBRATION INCLUDING SENIOR KING AND QUEEN AND HIGH SCHOOL AWARD WINNERS
Congratulations to Kevin Hunt and Barbara Dowd our 2017 Yankee Homecoming Sr Volunteer Award Winners, and Quinn Campbell and Annaliese Keller our Youth Volunteer Award Winners.
A time honored tradition recognizing two seniors and two high school volunteers who make a difference in their communities. This late afternoon celebration will celebrate two sr volunteers who have given a good portion of their lives to helping others. We are pleased to also celebrate two high school students, who have started on the path of volunteerism and have begun to give back to their communities. Atria Merrimack Place hosts this late afternoon celebration with food a plenty for everyone.
Both the senior and the youth volunteers will be honored at a Generations of Giving celebration at the Newburyport Senior Community Center on August 2nd at 4:00pm during Yankee Homecoming week. This is the first year that both the youth and senior volunteer will be celebrated together.
It is so important to acknowledge a lifetime of volunteerism and inspire future generations. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. Any questions please contact Jill Ramsdell through the Yankee Homecoming website or call 978-462-7324
Kevin is a man with a wide and varied past filled with many interests and experiences. He has reinvented himself a few times.
Originally born in Manhattan, Kevin spent his early years in Larchmont, NY. After graduation from Notre Dame and one year at law school, Kevin joined the Navy. As the Legal Officer on an aircraft carrier, he qualified to replace the Captain on the Carrier’s bridge, and qualified for the same privilege on a destroyer.
After the Navy, Kevin went from Xerox to work with industry giants like EDS, ADP, and early on IBM, mostly as a Regional Sales Manager. He was involved in the early development of plain paper copiers, fax machines, on-line ATM’s, home banking and Home Theaters. A friend introduced him to Plum Island, and he has lived there for forty-three years.
In 2007, Kevin accepted a position as Veteran Services Officer for the City of Newburyport, a position he continues to occupy.
“It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I’m meeting people. I’m helping people. I love it.” That position has grown to a regional position encompassing Amesbury, Salisbury and Merrimac.
His outside interests include woodworking, collecting “too many things,” and anything creative. He has rebuilt two houses, grows a lot of his own food, and enjoys a good beach-walk. He says he’d rather be a hermit. We are grateful that he is not a hermit, and our local veterans are the better for it.
Barbara is feminist, who is way ahead of the curve. She doesn’t talk about herself in those terms, but that’s exactly who she is. She has a multitude of life experiences that all wrap around helping people young and old. Her resume is varied and impressive.
Born in Georgia and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, she still carries a bit of her southern accent with her. She’s a proud graduate of Agnes Scott College, which is still an all-women’s college in Atlanta that now focuses on international leadership. During the 60’s, just out of school, Barbara worked for the Boston Redevelopment Authority helping to relocate families in Roxbury and Dorchester. From there she went to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania earning her Master’s in Education. Returning to Roxbury she taught at an alternative elementary school.
In 1974 Barbara met her husband, Michael Prendergast, an artist from Somerville. Love was in the air and so was a change. A move was in order to the artist-friendly community of Newburyport. Barbara was asked to start a daycare at the YMCA Civic Center. For $25.00 a week Barbara founded My School, developing the curriculum and programming for 30 children. When the daycare was well underway it was time to move on.
In the 80s Barbara worked locally for a couple of years feeding her creative side until she was drawn to working in Boston for the Mass State Energy Office as the Director of Renewable Energy. She coordinated grants for cities and towns willing to invest on the cutting edge of wind, solar and hydroelectric energy. From there Barbara went to work as a marketing specialist. She honed her skills writing, directing, developing and producing Health and Safety Training Films for air and water technology companies to comply with OSHA standards.
It was time to take her talents and work with students again. Working with women entrepreneurs, Barbara got involved in Camp $tart -Up. She was a one woman show getting funding, promoting, writing and developing the curriculum for a two week summer camp for girls, from all walks of life, who wanted to learn to be entrepreneurs. Camp $tart-Up has spread from Mass and CA to states all across the country.
Capping off a varied and brilliant career, Barbara was offered a job -at Girls Inc., a national nonprofit organization dedicated to “inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold”. There she helped to start new chapters across the country. As a board member of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, she helped the organization start the local Girls Inc. of the Seacoast Area.
Although Barbara officially retired nine years ago, she still sits on the Board of Trustees for the Newburyport Library and is involved in The Greater Newburyport Village , a neighbor to neighbor program helping older adults stay in their homes. She and Michael also teach an ESL conversation course at Pathways in Lynn.
Barbara has boundless energy and enthusiasm for life. When she isn’t hiking or biking, she is indulging her passion for photography. In the winter she and Michael zigzag across the country towing a popup trailer to Bears Ears National Monument in Utah where they serve as volunteer rangers for 4 weeks.
Quinn Campbell Newburyport High School Grade 12
Quinn has been a member of Best Buddies at Newburyport High School for 4 years. The club plans field trips and events for students with special needs. Quinn has been a prom date for a number of special needs students. In addition she has volunteered for other organizations throughout the community, including Anna Jaques Hospital, the Newburyport Human Rights Commission, Friends of Peace Wet Paint Auction, and the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center Walk Against Domestic Violence, and as a frequent fundraiser for the Newburyport Educational Foundation. She works at Newburyport Youth Service (NYS).
“Kids love her and parents appreciate her commitment to their children,” says Margot Petler, NYS Assistant Director, who nominated Quinn for this award. “I can’t wait to see what Quinn does with the rest of her life…nothing short of amazing I’m sure!”
Annaliese Keller Newburyport High School Grade 12
Annaliese has been a mentor at the Newburyport Learning Enrichment Center (NLEC) since 2015, where she offers academic, social, and emotional support to at-risk children living in public and low-income housing. In addition to volunteering at the Newburyport High School Environmental Club and Girls, Inc., she is also the founder and president of Girls Forward Club at Newburyport High School, whose activities include supporting the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center Walk Against Domestic Violence and raising awareness for women’s involvement in Science Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
“Annaliese leads by example how to stand tall, strong and proud and has helped our students build confidence in their ability to control their own future,” says Nancy Earls, Director of the Newburyport Learning Enrichment Center, who nominated Annaliese for this award. “She is a strong example of a member of the community who has worked to build self esteem in our youth, while still dedicating herself to her family, education and hobbies.”