The United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWCT) hosted their 4th Annual Hometown Heroes Benefit Dinner on Saturday, December 2nd. This event celebrates those in the community who lead by example, give back to others and demonstrate a strong commitment to making an impact on the lives of others. Each honoree was nominated by someone in their community and then reviewed against other exceptional people in their town. The following criteria are taken into consideration in selecting an honoree:
- Achievement – the nominee’s actual accomplishment produced significant results
- Action – the involvement of the nominee is active and hands-on
- Caring – as demonstrated by the nominee’s interaction with others
- Commitment – the nominee has a sincere belief in their community
- Impact – the nominee’s activity or program produced positive changes, provided examples for other groups
- Initiative – the nominee recognizes a need in their local community and initiates new programs or activities to meet that need
- Leadership – the nominee demonstrates singular leadership to contribute to their community
- Time – the nominee dedicates considerable time and energy to making a difference in their community
Youth Volunteer Corps of Danbury was honored to have four out of the total nine youth receive the Emerging Hero Award this year. The Emerging Hero Award was new to the event and was awarded to high school-aged youth who demonstrate strong leadership in volunteerism and community service.
“We are thrilled to include a new category of award for youth volunteers who have made service to others a priority and distinguished themselves by making a positive impact in their community,” said UWWCT CEO, Kim Morgan.
UWWCT named four Emerging Heroes from YVC of Danbury. They are; Alexandra Schulman, Avery Putnam, Kendra Dascano and Lucia Gorman.
“These four young ladies are truly exceptional,” said Morgan Greening, YVC of Danbury program director. “They have each served on our Youth Advisory Board and they have shown they are true role models at every YVC project they participate in through hard work, compassion and leadership. We are incredibly proud of them and can’t wait to see what the accomplish next.”
When asked why these young women volunteer and why they believe volunteerism is important, they responded as follows:
“One of the reasons I volunteer is to make connections outside of my small school and my small, rural town. Connections with new friends who have the same volunteer spirit as me. Connections with the individuals, families and groups that can benefit from the resources of time and energy that teenagers can give. And connections with the non-profit organizations that have made service their mission. Volunteering is important to the community because it reminds us how fortunate we are that we can give help and hope to others. For those who are receiving aid, it lets them know that they are not alone. It also shows how we are strong when we work together.” – Lucia Gorman
“Helping people in my community is a way for me to give back to society and is also a positive way to channel my love and compassion for others. One of the best aspects of volunteering is knowing that I am involved in something that is bigger than myself and that I am making a difference in my community. Engaging myself in my community has given me a sense of happiness and reward, and I know that it is something that I will always be part of. I think it is always important to be kind to others because you never know what someone might be going through. A simple smile can brighten someone’s day. Volunteering at organizations that help the homeless, elderly, and children has not only allowed me to understand different groups of people and their needs but also bring about change. There are so many causes in need of our help and I would encourage anyone to give even a few hours of their time to benefit their community.” -Kendra Dascano
“I volunteer to meet new people while simultaneously making a difference and being productive. I feel that volunteering has given me the opportunity to better myself as well as my community, and I love improving the lives of other people. I personally value kindness and compassion above all other traits in my life. I have made countless friends through my volunteer work, some of which I consider to be my best friends. I not only volunteer for the people that have fewer opportunities than myself, but I also volunteer to give me opportunities to expand my horizons and grow as an individual. Volunteer work creates tolerance and peace within a community, and it educates everyone involved. If the volunteer work is interpersonal, both the volunteer and the recipient are able to learn about each other and develop a relationship. Any person who is impacted by an act of volunteerism has the opportunity to grow and become more tolerant. A greater prevalence of volunteer work in the world will ultimately lead to a happier, more positive idea of humanity!” -Avery Putnam
“I volunteer because I enjoy helping other people and the community. Volunteers are a critical asset to a community to help it thrive. I know that when I serve, whether during a large project or a small, one-on-one interaction with some less fortunate than my self, I am changing someone’s life for the better. I’m happy to know that I have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others and that through my work I bring about a positive change. It’s not always an immediate change but little by little, volunteers are making a better world.” -Alexandra Schulman
To read more about these honorees and to see pictures and videos, click here!
This guest blog post was submitted by Morgan Greening, program director of YVC of Danbury.
YVC of Danbury was awarded the 2017 Affiliate of the Year award in recognition of their exceptional youth service program.