The City of Oakland Park has a corps of volunteers that help the City with a number of different programs. This past Wednesday, December 4th, the Bruce Garrison, the Volunteer Services Manager, organized a dinner in honor of these selfless Citizens of Oakland Park. Mayor Sparks and Vice Mayor Bolin were also present and thanked the volunteers for their service to the community.
According to Garrison, volunteers helped with the Hurricane Dorian preparedness, checking in with the Vulnerable Population Registry, they distributed close to 7,000 sandbags, the Young Counselors In Training performed 2,533 hours of service in our Summer Recreation Programs, they repainted the concession building at Northeast High School, they became Big Brothers and Big Sisters and they helped increase programming at our Library among some of the things they did.
They were also instrumental in the Volunteer Leadership Academy, special City events, Adopt-a-Street and Waterways Clean-up, Feral Friends, City Hall, Parks Cleanups, Bark Park and Our Neighbor program.
This year there was 50% increase in active participants with over 15,000 hours of volunteer service this year. That is 4,000 hour increase over last year’s figures.
These programs and services to the community would simply not be possible without these individuals and “we’re here to celebrate and honor you all” Garrison announced at the beginning of the dinner.
After the volunteers enjoyed dinner it was on to the awards.
Garrison first honored volunteers that had performed 250 or more hours of service. Those volunteers were
Next Garrison announced the Team of the Year volunteer award. This group truly brought the idea of “service to others to a new level” according to Garrison. This team was instrumental in helping chefs serve up their delicious and unique dishes at the Culinary Arts Showcase. Together they have served thousands with a smile. These culinary cooperators were:
Next Garrison recognized the Volunteer Corps business partner of the year, Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has helped the city in many different ways. They have donated equipment supplies, donated lunch for event participants, and offered skilled professional services to hours of labor at projects that have benefitted the community as a whole. They were especially instrumental in helping the City with two projects geared toward enhancement and beautification of the Stunson Nature Trail, contributing 170 hours of were
Following the presentation of the 2019 Business Partner of Year Award, Garrison recognized Tatiana Johnson for her outstanding service with the Counselor in Training Program. She amassed over 450 hours of service despite also holding a summer job. Johnson was awarded 2019 Youth Volunteer of the Year Award.
Finally, Garrison recognized one person as 2019 Volunteer of the Year. Linda Macfarland, the Feral Friends Program leader described this person as a saint and a hero. She was passionate and dedicated and had put in over 2400 volunteer hours fostering kittens and their mothers. This saint and 2019 Volunteer of the Year is none other than my mother, Dulce Avila.
I am suspect to opine, but I am going to do it anyways! My Mom is the most selfless person I know. I have always seen her help people and animals in any way she can. She gets it from her mother, who has also been described as a saint in her own right. She is a tireless humanitarian and champion of animals and I have no doubt she will put in as many hours next year too.
When I asked her how she felt about receiving this award she said:
“I was humbled by the experience. I never expected that my work with kitties was going to bring me such an honor….meow meow meowwww”.
So a big congratulations to my Mom, Dulce Avila, the City of Oakland Park’s 2019 Volunteer of the Year!
Click here for more information about the City’s different volunteering opportunities. Helping each other is one of the greatest things we can do for one another. The helping spirit in Oakland Park is what makes this community great and that is why #TogetherWereOP!
EDITOR, PUBLISHER, WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER, REALTOR®
Désirée Ávila has called Oakland Park her home for over 33 years. In addition to publishing LivingInOaklandPark.com, Désirée has been featured in print publications, locally and abroad. Désirée was an award winning teacher for 10 years and has a doctoral level education in Educational Technology. She is currently a licensed Florida Realtor® and is committed to a high-level of professionalism.
Désirée consistently professionally develops herself and has earned several different professional designations and certifications in real estate including the PSA, e-Pro, AHWD, SRS, ABR, and SFR. She was also awarded the C2EX, Commitment to Excellence award by the National Association for Realtors (NAR). This award is given to Realtors® that distinguish themselves for their commitment to excellence in the real estate industry.
She is esteemed by her real estate colleagues and has consistently received 5 star reviews from her clients. Her philosophy about real estate is that being a Realtor® is a way of teaching and helping people, and in the process a real estate transaction may occur, that is to say her foremost priority is and has always been about helping others.
She is dedicated to her hometown of Oakland Park and works consistently on building and fostering a strong community. She is passionate about photography and loves to read books about history ; the more detail the better! In addition to English, Désirée is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian.
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When the country shutdown in March of 2020 because of the pandemic, there was much speculation about what would happen to the real estate market. Millions of homeowners went into