VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARDS:
Celebrating the Spirit & Practice of Volunteerism
RIF proudly presents the 2011 Anne Richardson RIF Volunteer of the Year Awards (VOYA) program, presented by Macy's, in celebration of the dedication and service of truly outstanding volunteers. It recognizes the inspiring work of RIF coordinators, parent volunteers, and community volunteers who donate their time, talents, and energy to motivate children to read. These individuals share a common goal of fostering children's literacy through their efforts at over 17,000 RIF sites across the country. Congratulations to our 2011 winners!
Suzanne Fillmore -- Chubbuck, Idaho
Suzanne is a parent volunteer at the Pocatello Head Start program and serves as a classroom RIF representative. Together, with other classroom parents and teachers, Suzanne has planned exciting thematic and motivational activities and invited community guest readers to participate in their projects. Through Suzanne’s creative leadership and energy, the parents and the community have been tremendously engaged in the RIF distribution program at Pocatello Head Start.
Patricia Gillespie -- Council Bluffs, Iowa Patricia (Patty) did not learn to read until she was 19 years old when she taught herself to read. She has since dedicated her life to helping others to read. Patty began the RIF program at Thomas Jefferson High School nine years ago, and has been responsible for running the program since its inception. As a reading specialist for 30 years, Patty orders all of the books for the distributions, along with performing all of the necessary duties to execute the RIF program at the school. Prior to each distribution, she creates activities and materials to motivate the students to read and enlighten the students. The activities oftentimes feature specific themes and include videos, community leaders reading to students, writing and art contests, book contests, treasure hunts throughout the school, read/think aloud projects, posters, school bulletin boards, etc.
Mary Comfort Stevens -- Nashville, Tennessee
Mary has been a volunteer for RIF for 15 years. An avid reader, Mary belongs to several book clubs, one of which is devoted to reading children’s literature. Mary began selecting books for distribution eight years ago and has continued to order the books, unpack shipments and organize them by grade level to make it easier for the volunteers to distribute them to students. The Book ‘em RIF Nashville program distributes five books to each of the nearly 1,500 elementary school children each year, totaling 7,300 free books given to students. The schools in the program have at least 65% of their students qualifying for free or reduced lunch programs. Mary recruits new volunteers each year, raises money for RIF, and serves on the Board of Directors for Book’em to represent children impacted by the program.