April 19, 2021
Commissioners Recognize Boulder County Volunteers During National Volunteer Week
$6,300 total awarded to seven Boulder County volunteer programs
Boulder County, Colo. - In celebration of National Volunteer Week (April 18-24), Boulder County commissioners recognized seven volunteers who made noteworthy contributions during COVID-19 and awarded each of the seven programs $900. Volunteer managers countywide were invited to nominate volunteers, and a selection committee chose the following seven to be recognized for their contributions and awarded funding:
- Maria ‘Betsy’ Ames: Community Services Department – Area Agency on Aging (AAA). Betsy is a volunteer with AAA’s Lyons Senior Lunch Program. She prepares hot and nutritious meals for delivery to the Lyons Senior Center, where she distributes them to program participants. When COVID-19 restrictions required her to do meal distributions outdoors, she didn’t skip a beat – continuing to deliver her warm greetings and warm meals to participants outside.
- Arly Kamholtz: Community Services Department - Community Justice Services (CJS). Arly is a mentor with CJS’s Youth Mentoring Program. He has been working with his mentee for over four years. During the pandemic, he stayed in contact with his mentee by phone and video, providing support, stability, and friendship. As soon as they were able, they resumed outdoor in-person, distanced, get-togethers. Arly’s mentee says that Arly is always able to cheer him up and make him smile, even during the challenges and isolation of the pandemic.
- Laura Roberts: District Attorney’s Office – Center for Prevention and Restorative Justice. Laura is a Restorative Justice Facilitator who co-facilitates conferences between offenders and victims in the DA’s Restorative Diversion Program. She creates a space where victims can experience accountability and repair from the person who caused them harm, and offenders can understand the impact of their actions and work toward making things right. When COVID-19 required operations to go online, Laura ensured seamless continuity. She met new facilitation, confidentiality, access, and documentation requirements, and made sure that clients continued to receive the respect, support, and connection they needed to feel comfortable during video conferences.
- Erin Angel: Housing & Human Services Department – Casa de la Esperanza. Casa de la Esperanza is a 32-unit residential community for agricultural workers. Its programs focus on providing opportunities for youth of color who are low income and whose parents work in agriculture. As a volunteer with the Explore Outside Program, Erin educates youth about the outdoors and environmental stewardship through various outdoor group activities and projects. When the program was required to close its doors during the summer of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, Erin found a way to keep the program alive. She created a virtual program that allowed students to join online and explore the outdoors near their homes and surrounding areas.
- Ruth Dombrowski: Housing & Human Services Department – Kestrel Community Gardens. Ruth is a volunteer with the children’s garden at Kestrel Housing, a Boulder County affordable housing community located in Louisville, CO. While the restrictions of COVID-19 have prevented Ruth from bringing many of her ideas and projects to life, she has continued to maintain the garden and create a sense of community and support for Kestrel residents. When she’s not working hard in the garden, Ruth can be found painting rocks to place around the community to spread cheer or distributing handmade cards to residents who are struggling.
- Liz Kellogg: Parks & Open Space (POS) Department – Plant Ecology Monitoring Program. Liz has contributed over 1,590 volunteer service hours to Boulder County programs since 2012. 1,200 of those have been in service to POS’s plant ecology monitoring programs. Liz is an extremely detail-oriented, patient, and methodical scientist who is committed to sound science and data collection – skills well-suited to seed collection, processing, weeding, and monitoring. The restrictions of COVID have not deterred her. In the last year, Liz has contributed 40 service hours to the Peck Native Seed Garden, and she is signed up to participate in 24 plant ecology episodic events. Additionally, Liz has made over 500 beautiful, masterfully crafted masks for donation countywide and at POS episodic volunteer events. Liz has also been named “POS Volunteer of the Year” – a well-deserved honor.
- Anne Janicki: Parks & Open Space Department, Extension - Boulder County 4-H Dog Program. Anne volunteers with the 4-H Dog Program providing positive youth development and dog training leadership. During the pandemic, Anne quickly adapted programming to virtual platforms and small group meetings. She found a way to safely move programming to Instagram and social media, keeping participants engaged and connected. Participants reported having great fun sharing videos of their dogs online for a 4-H Dog Fun Show. Anne has continued to strengthen the program by recruiting other volunteers and teen leaders, spearheading an online fundraising auction, and creating countless manuals and training references on dog health, safety, and training.
For more information about Boulder County’s Volunteer program, please visit www.BoulderCountyVolunteers.org. Boulder County government has a range of one-time and ongoing volunteer opportunities depending on the area of interest.