Awards Given at AM's Volunteer Luncheon

Keeping dreams alive.  How do we do that at AM?  Through the generosity of the hundreds of volunteers who walk alongside us.  On May 9th, we were honored to have many of the volunteers and partners who help us build stronger communities join us for our first Keeping Dreams Alive luncheon.

AM Board President Rev. Dr. Eric Jackson and Michele Cotton, AM’s Development Coordinator

The purpose of the luncheon, graciously hosted by Temple Beth El, was to award a few of the many nominated individuals and organizations that have helped us make a difference in our community.

Award winners were:

Community Partner: Gray Lumber
Gray Lumber is a company who, since 1903, has been helping people in need throughout Pierce County.  Their commitment to the community is the same today as it was four generations ago.  Thanks to their on-going support, and dedication of thousands of volunteer, over 2,200 low-income homeowners have homes that have been painted through our program, Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful.

Faith Partner: Bethlehem Baptist Church
As a faith community that exemplifies what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself”, Bethlehem Baptist Church has been a strong presence in our community. Through their work to give safe shelter to those in need, hosting interfaith events, encouraging others to come alongside the most vulnerable among us, they have continually showed how to unite people of faith to build stronger communities and are truly, keeping dreams alive for all members of Pierce County.

Melinda Huish & Karin Van Vlack

Group of the Year: Melinda Huish and Karin Van Vlack

“It won’t take too much time”…the words that brought our Group of the Year recipients, a duo, together as they co-created the inaugural Interfaith Women’s Conference, a first of its kind in Pierce County.  This gathering enabled hundreds of women from many different faith backgrounds to come together to learn about one another, come together in community, and hopefully come away with a new perspective and open heart to people of all faiths.  It is through their selfless dedication (to the tune of a couple of thousand volunteer hours) that this event was a success and has created a movement to engage more women of different faiths to come together. 

Individual of the Year: Tony Lewis
Over one thousand, seven hundred hours; that is the gift of time Tony has given in service to our community. Coming to us first as a temp at the front desk, then as an intern, he has been giving 8 hours a day, 5 days a week to help in a number of different program areas, including data services and the new Landlord Liaison Program. Through his selfless volunteer service, many more people are easily helped, finding their way to stability. 

We are grateful to these volunteers, and the hundreds of other people who give of their time and talent.  People like Jim who has been with the program since its beginning in 1985, Riki, Marty, Roy, John and many others who have donated hundreds of hours each for Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful.  Volunteers are the backbone of the program, helping with assessing homes, training new volunteers, and of course, painting themselves.  Each year it takes hundreds of volunteers to ensure that the people in need of the program can be served.

We are also grateful to our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers including Sherri who has been a site coordinator for 20 years, Michelle, Dawn, Monyneath, and Norman who have made a difference by helping people prepare their taxes.  Through the VITA volunteers’ dedication, including the hours of training and certification by the IRS, millions of dollars that might have gone unclaimed, is helping stabilize households throughout Pierce County.

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of individuals, groups and organizations who are heroes in our eyes.  By giving of their time and talent, and following their passion for helping others, they are deeply engaged in transforming our community, and are definitely keeping dreams alive for people in need. 

Make sure to mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 8, 2019 to join us for our second annual Keeping Dreams Alive luncheon. 


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