Celebration of Hands recognizes volunteers making a difference

From left: States Wing, Lisa Hawk, Suellen Daniels, Jayme Iglesias, and Ron Kraynick. SPECIAL

CUMMING, Ga. — Eighteen community volunteers and a special volunteer were honored at the 2012 Celebration of Hands.

The honorees included 13 community partner volunteers, who were selected from nominations from Community Connection’s partner agencies, and five people in action volunteers, a new category this year recognizing volunteers not affiliated with a specific partner agency. Also new for this year, gentle giant Marley, a Great Pyrenees dog was recognized for visiting nursing homes and other facilities.

The annual event is sponsored by Forsyth County’s Community Connection, a nonprofit organization that refers volunteers to community and charity groups.

“This special event gives us the opportunity to recognize and honor the volunteers that make our community great,” said John Clark, 2012 president of the Community Connection. “Every year, volunteers spend hundreds, sometimes thousands, of hours mentoring young people who need role models, organizing food pantries, responding to vulnerable seniors and helping families in need, just to name a few of the many they serve.”

More than 150 people attended to celebrate community volunteerism at the awards program, held recently at Windermere Golf Club.

Three special awards were presented. Megan Geren received the Adult Volunteer of the Year Award. She volunteers for Next Generation Focus, a group that helps disadvantaged children with academic opportunities.

Brett Jordan, a 2012 graduate of Lambert High School, was honored as Youth Volunteer of the Year. He has volunteered for three years with Mentor Me, an organization that matches adults and high school students with younger children who need mentors in their lives.

Suellen Daniels was the People in Action Volunteer of the Year. She founded Meals by Grace, which provides meals to needy families.

Virgilio Perez-Pascoe and Kristin Morrissey were recognized as outgoing members of the Community Connection Board of Directors.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Forsyth received the Community Partner of the Year award.

Nicole Morgan, executive director of Forsyth County Community Connection, thanked the volunteers and those in attendance to honor them.

“On behalf of the Community Connection and our partner agencies, we are grateful for all the volunteers who make our community a better place to live,” she said. “And a special thank you to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Forsyth as our Community Partner of the Year.”

Perez-Pascoe, who is also Mentor Me’s president, presented the awards to Brett Jordan and Jayne Iglesias.

“Congratulations to Brett, Jayne and all the award recipients for their volunteer work,” Perez-Pascoe said. “Volunteers make our community a better place to live, and we couldn’t help so many of our neighbors without their personal involvement.”

For more information, visit www.handsonforsyth.org.

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