Meet The Hand Raisers Volunteer Award Finalists!

April 16, 2020 | United Way Team

We fight for education, financial stability, and health. Meet three outstanding volunteers who are committed to doing the same.

Congratulations to all our finalists! The winner of the Hand Raisers Volunteer Award is...

Because celebrating volunteers is so important, we just couldn’t want to wait to announce our finalists. So, we are going virtual!  Winners in this category will be announced during National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 19-25. Winners will be presented with their award plaque and a $500 donation to a nonprofit of their choice at a later time when social distance recommendations are lifted.
The Hand Raisers Volunteer Award honors a volunteer who shows commitment to helping impact a program in one of United Way’s focus areas of Education, Financial Stability, or Health. Thanks to your votes, the following individuals have been selected as finalists in this category:

Name: Deb Frank
Organization where nominee volunteers: Catherine McAuley Center
Deb FrankA dedicated, behind-the-scenes worker, Deb has volunteered more than 1,000 hours since she started working with the Catherine McAuley Center in 2016. Deb helps the administrative team at CMC whenever needed so staff members can focus on efforts to move the mission forward.
Deb keeps a detailed record of recurring record-keeping tasks, and her positive attitude and willingness to go the extra mile provides inspiration throughout the organization. Because of her support and dedication to the organization, case managers were able to focus on providing quality service to the 217 refugee clients resettled in 2019.
In 2019, Deb volunteered a total of 425 hours.
Name: Jodi Hoke
Organization where nominee volunteers: Waypoint
Jodi HokeJodi is a former Waypoint staff member who decided to continue supporting the Domestic Violence Victim Services Program in a volunteer role. Because Jodi served as a Victim Advocate in her staff role, she makes for an extremely knowledgeable and reliable volunteer. Jodi provides medical advocacy for victims of domestic violence, typically on a weekly basis. This involves being on-call during overnight hours. Even if the call comes in in the middle of the night, Jodi is always eager to help.
Jodi’s support is critical in making sure survivors are aware of the services Waypoint offers and can get help from an advocate if needed. For most of 2019, Jodi dedicated her free time to supporting survivors who were incarcerated at the Linn County Correctional Center. Those survivors often feel like giving up, and many have little to no support. Jodi provided encouragement, information about our services, and education about the impact of trauma. She also connected clients to various community resources to ensure a smooth transition once they leave the correctional center. Her support continues to change lives and assists survivors in moving forward.
Over the course of 2019, Jodi donated 450 hours to Waypoint.
Name: Dick Lenth
Organization where nominee volunteers: Cedar Rapids Public Library
Dick LenthFor most of the last 15 years, you have been able to find Dick Lenth volunteering at a different organization in town almost every day of the week. He’s volunteered with the Cedar Rapids Public Library, United Way of East Central Iowa’s 55+ Initiative and VITA, UnityPoint Health, Collins Retiree Volunteers of Iowa, Grant Wood AEA, Aging Services/Witwer Center, Mississippi Regional Valley Blood Center, and many others. Since his retirement, Dick has made volunteering his new part-time job.
Dick has brought a wide range of skills to local agencies. A retired engineer, Dick is always looking for new ways to solve problems and increase efficiency. Administratively, he builds spreadsheets, enters data, and prepares mailings, Dick helps staff working directly with volunteers to increase organizational capacity. Dick has also built dozens adaptive devices that allow students with physical disabilities to participate fully in the classroom. When Grant Wood AEA has needed a new assistive device, Dick has not determined requirements based on a student’s ability, but also built and documented how to make the device so his plans can help kids across the nation.
Dick is a shining example of how the many small acts of service performed by one individual can have a foundational, lasting impact on a community. He has donated 515 hours during 2019.          

Congratulations to all our finalists! The winner of the Hand Raisers Volunteer Award will be announced next Thursday, April 23 on our blog and social media channel. Stay tuned to see who the winner will be!