VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR CELEBRATION INCLUDING SENIOR KING AND QUEEN AND HIGH SCHOOL AWARD WINNERS
Every year Yankee Homecoming celebrates and acknowledges both the senior and youth volunteers,who exemplify the best of the best in our community. It is that time of year again and we are looking for senior men and women who have made a difference in the lives of the residents of Newburyport and the surrounding towns by unselfishly giving of themselves donating their time, efforts and energy. We need your help to nominate that volunteer that personifies the meaning of the word. If you know of such a worthy man or woman aged 60 or over who has, please take a moment to fill out the nomination papers and mail them to:
Jill Ramsdell, Chair Generations of Giving
Atria Merrimack Place
85 Storey Ave.
Newburyport, MA 01950
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call Jill at 978-462- 7324
Generations of Giving will be held on Wednesday, August 1 st at 4:00pm at the Newburyport Senior Community Center on High Street celebrating both the youth and senior volunteers. We hope you can join us for this very special afternoon.
Below is information on this years winners
Carol Larocque’s disarming smile and warm, firm handshake tells you this is a very special woman. She has spent most of her adult life in service to others. It is her passion and her mission to help humans and animals alike. Through her work, as the Animal Control Officer (ACO) for Newbury and Topsfield, and her volunteerism at her church, and causes of her own making, Carol is a very busy woman.
As an ACO, she is on call 24/7 – 365 and has been for the past 38 years. Her knowledge, experience and compassion, are unmatched. Carol can be called out at any time to deal with any type of animal in any state. She has always loved animals. Riding ponies at age two, starting her own animal cemetery, working as a Vet Tech, taking care of horses, her path always led her to her current occupation, but it wasn’t a straight line.
Carol points to several defining moments in her life that inspired her. In 1982 she was thrown from a horse and broke her neck. She recovered with excellent care and help from friends. Years later when she needed help getting back on her feet friends reached out to help her. Carol always remembers the feeling and the unsolicited help she received. In 2004 a presence of a tumor almost ended and simultaneously saved her life. Her faith in God has served her well. “God has saved me so many times, from so many things. I have devoted my life to helping other people because he helped me. “
Through the church Carol has done just that. A very active member Carol serves as a Deacon, treasurer of Women’s Fellowship and on several other committees. On Fridays she picks up donations for the First Parish Food Bank. Carol started Saturday morning breakfasts at the Central Congregational Church, which regularly serves over 60 people in the surrounding communities.
“I have always had a passion for the elderly.” Taking action, recognizing the benefits of pet ownership for the elderly Carol established the Greater Newbury Elder Pet Fund in 2013. This program assists these at risk seniors and their pets. It has grown tremendously with the help of local supporters.
When Carol sees a need she finds thoughtful ways to help. Operation Christmas Child, started because she wanted to help out homeless children. She still fills pocketbooks and backpacks to assist families of abuse. Much of this is done with her own money.
Carol is a woman with abounding energy and a smile that lights up a room. Her devotion and passion for helping others is contagious. A lover of doing things, she asks only for your help to help others.
Volunteering is natural as breathing to Diane Hawkins-Clark. It is a part of her being, it gives her much joy – to help others is to help yourself. Diane is a LICSW, as a Child and Family Therapist in Newburyport, in a very busy private practice. With her husband Kevin, they raised twins, Ryan and Meghan. Her very supportive husband a former Navy pilot, their son Ryan is a Marine pilot and Meghan a former Army Intelligence officer, now in the reserves, have all served/serving our country with honor.
Diane has always found a way to give back to the communities where she serves and lives. Starting in high school she assisted the Activities Coordinator in a Nursing Home to her time in the 90s at Boston at Children’s Hospital, through a Catholic Charities Fellowship, and her present involvement in the Seacoast Area communities, Diane’s energy and ideas are boundless.
For 20 years Diane has been involved with the Pettengill House organizing volunteers to deliver up to 350 meals every Saturday. No easy task. For 10 year she has served in a leadership position as a Deacon and Outreach Coordinator of the Central Congregational Church.
After 9/11 Diane has volunteered as a member of the Red Cross Disaster Team Services, serving the wherever she is needed. Often, first on the scene, whether it is locally, regionally or nationally, she has served on the Disaster Assessment Team after Hurricane Katrina and in Houston. She has been the co-leader of the New England Mental Health Team for the past five years.
Count among her other numerous volunteer positions, Diane serves as the Chairperson for the Chocolate Tour, which she took over from the Red Cross 15 years ago. Raising as much as 13 thousand each year the fundraiser donates to 4 different and diverse charities each year. Diane also saw a need to a support group for military families. Once a month they meet at the church for coffee and companionship. Then there is the Prince Hawkins Fund established in memory of her father. On her dad’s birthday the fund donates to smaller charities in need that might be overlooked. Diane also travels where ever needed for 2 weeks as a Global Volunteer, with her twin sister Kit. She has also been a longtime volunteer with Yankee Homecoming helping out at Family Day and during the parade.
Her latest idea was to start Lunch for Three. Visiting seniors on the weekend, Diane packs a lunch for herself, the home alone elder needing companionship, and for either of her dogs, Benny or Charlie. It’s a very informal and much appreciated visit.
Diane’s connection and deep respect for people drives her to continue her work as a therapist and volunteer. “It’s what you do when nobody’s watching.” Her dream is to have her own team of therapy dogs to travel to disaster sites.
Newburyport High School – Grade 12
Caroline Bel has been a volunteer tutor and mentor at the Newburyport Learning Enrichment Center for the past four years where she provides academic support and friendship to at-risk children living in public and low-income housing. Caroline led an effort to makeover the center, raising more the $5,000 for new furniture and painted the walls herself. She has also been a member of the National Honor Society for two years, volunteered at Girls Forward and participated in the Walk Against Domestic Violence.
“Over the years I have observed Caroline sharing encouraging words, speaking to the kids, not at the kids” says Nancy Earls, Director of the Newburyport Learning Enrichment Center, who nominated Caroline for this award. “She has demonstrated seemingly unlimited amounts of energy, kindness and patience”
Newburyport High School – Grade 12
Hannah has been volunteering with Girls Inc. of the Seacoast Area (GISA) for more then 3 years, where she has helped with the organization’s summer programs, events and been a peer leader in the Girls Advisory Group. Hannah has helped develop new curriculum to inspire young girls to pursue science and she will be running the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) portion of this year’s summer program. She has also volunteered with the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, Walk Against Domestic Violence, and Girls Forward. She has been a member of the National Arts Honors Society for four years and the National Honor Society for two years.
“Our summer programs have been very successful and we know that a huge part of that is because of Hannah” says Danielle Littles, Program Director at Girls Inc., who nominated Hannah for this award. “Girls enjoy her presence and look up to her as a mentor”.