Editor's Note: This is the first article in a four-part series highlighting volunteers for United Way agencies. Volunteers will be honored April 30 at the Boys and Girls Club at 5 p.m.
Each April, the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County joins with its community partners to recognize the contributions volunteers have made over the course of the year. These dedicated individuals and families make it possible for nonprofits to accomplish their mission by magnifying the impact of paid staff with hundreds of hours of uncompensated volunteer time. Independent Sector placed a value of $22.55 on one hour of volunteering in 2013. That means the individuals highlighted here have donated thousands of dollars to our local community this year in the form of their time and expertise. To learn more about volunteering visit www.uwayscc.org.
For almost nine years, Lin Baylis has served the American Red Cross of Southwestern New York as a trained disaster responder to help local families impacted by disasters. She serves as a team captain, receiving calls for assistance at all hours of the day and night and managing other volunteers responding to the disaster event. Baylis provides extensive administrative support to maintain the chapter's computer-based Client Assistance System, properly documenting all responses and aid. Executive Director Bill Tucker said, "Lin is an energetic and caring member of the Disaster Action Team. She makes things happen, always thinks of her peers and makes sure everyone is working together."
Pictured, clockwise from top, are the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 106; American Red Cross of Southwestern New York volunteer Lin Baylis, pictured at center; and CASA volunteer Mary Ann Zimmer.
When the Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown initially looked into replacing its light fixtures with more energy efficient models, the cost and logistics seemed overwhelming. Thanks to the involvement of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 106, 25 electricians upgraded more than 250 fixtures in the course of a Saturday morning.
According to Executive Director Jeff Kroon, "This was a truly collaborative effort and most importantly it saved the club $20,000." One of the best parts of the project was having a former "Club Kid" volunteer as one of the electricians. He felt it was a great opportunity to give back to a place that did so much for him.
Mary Ann Zimmer is a retired school librarian and is the wife and mother of a very supportive family, including: husband Philip and two adult children - Jeanine and David. Zimmer has advocated for nine children contributing over 940 hours and driven over 1,500 miles in the four and half years of service to CASA of Chautauqua County.
Zimmer exemplifies all the qualities you'd expect to find in an extraordinary Court Appointed Special Advocate. She approaches each case with objectivity and tenacity, never wavers in her efforts to ensure the needs of a child takes priority over systemic policies. In her work with children and families, she is perceptive and patient, balancing a deep sense of compassion with good judgment and common sense. She focuses on what's best for her CASA children and makes powerful and insightful recommendations to the judge.
Zimmer, however, doesn't stop there, she goes above and beyond assuring that the children she advocates for are afforded every opportunity possible. Kathy Park, CASA director, said, "We are very fortunate to have Mary Ann as a powerful voice for her CASA children. She truly believes they should be given the opportunity to grow up and flourish despite their circumstances."