2018 Volunteers are the Heart of Alexandria Awardees

Register today & attend Volunteers are the Heart of Alexandria!  Congratuations to all the amazing volunteers.

The 2018 Marian Van Landingham Lifetime Achievement Award goes to....James (Jim) Durham

Jim, a West End resident, is the President Durham, LLC. Prior to his job at Strategic Analysis, Inc. and Systems Planning and Analysis, Inc (SPA)., he served 26 years in the U.S. Navy in submarine command and intelligence operations. He brought an in-depth knowledge of undersea systems and extensive submarine experience. From the ground up, Jim built an undersea systems capability at SPA which has supported major programs. Along with his impressive career, his volunteer experience truly stands out.

Jim is very passionate about bicycling and wants to see more women and children on the road, improved bicycling access to destinations such as work or the grocery store and, when feasible, more bike lanes. As Jim told the Patch in 2013, He would really like to see both long- and mid-term plans with immediate steps that will facilitate more riding. For Jim, ensuring bicycling is safe for everyone is the most important issue, closely followed by making bicycling a transportation choice available for everyone.   Jim has been the chair of the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) since 2014. This committee promotes walking and bicycling in Alexandria through partnership building, education and outreach, leading rides and walks and advocacy for safe walking and biking infrastructure and other initiatives. 

In addition to advocating for bike lanes in Alexandria, Jim also works towards Alexandria becoming a healthier place and serves as a Steering Committee member on the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria (PHA) since 2014. PHA is a citizen-led coalition of several groups who come together to promote and preserve a healthy Alexandria. In the PHA, Jim is a Co-Champion for the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Workgroup since 2015 working to promote physical activity, particularly among youth, and access to healthy foods for all.

The 2018 Joan White Grassroots Volunteer Service Award goes to...Jane Powell

For the past 3.5 years, Jane Powell has served as the Vice Chair of the Dream Project Board of Directors and chairs the Fundraising and the Technology Committee. The Dream Project's mission is to empower students whose immigration status creates barriers to their education by working with them to access and succeed in college through scholarships, mentoring, family engagement and advocacy. This past year, the Dream Project awarded 95 renewable college scholarships to high achieving 'Dreamers' and served 40 high school seniors through the Mentoring Program. 

As a small organization with 1.5 staff members, the board must step in to accomplish operational tasks. Jane is an expert project manager and organizes the workflow for fellow board members and staff. Her outstanding writing and editing skills helped to steadily increase foundational funding received each year. Her emphasis on stewardship of individual donors helped to increase funding from individual donors.  When the former Executive Director stepped down, Jane’s service and dedication to the organization’s mission allowed for a smooth transition. 

In addition, Jane connects with the Dream Project students by sponsoring five current college students, and keeps in regular contact with them to make sure they have what they need to succeed in college. This is not standard practice of scholarship sponsors, but is an aspirational ideal.

Jane’s passion for helping children to prosper and receiving the assistance they need is amazing. Besides being a tutor and mentor, Jane has served on many boards including Educare DC, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Steven Greenwood Childhood Cancer Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages USA. 

In the true meaning of “Grassroots”, Jane enables the Dream Project to mobilize its forces to advocate for education equity, and to ensure that all children, regardless of their immigration status, are afforded the right to a quality education.

The 2018 Youth Volunteer Service Award goes to...Odalis del Cid
For the last two years, Odalis has volunteered in many capacities with The Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP), contributing 100+ hours each year. ACAP works to prevent teen pregnancy through culturally and age appropriate education, advocacy, technical assistance, direct service prevention programs and public awareness. Currently, she serves on the ACAP Leadership Council and has been instrumental in helping to develop initiatives and activities to educate her peers on the importance of healthy decision-making. She is particularly passionate about adolescent pregnancy in the Latino Community and has contributed significantly in this area by sharing her own experiences and providing input on ACAP’s strategic plan for Latino Outreach. 

Odalis volunteers with ACAP’s numerous outreach activities, such as health fairs, farmers markets or Community Days, going directly into the community to share information with other youth and adults. She served as a host during several Titan Takeover Teen Night events and has taken on a leadership role with ACAP’s Keep it 360 club. 

Over the past two summers, Odalis created and delivered a workshop about mental health for ACAP’s Youth Leadership Conference and inspired participants with her own story of overcoming mental health challenges. During each day of the conference, she also arrived early and stayed late to ensure everything was ready for the next day. Recently, she served on a youth panel for the Children and Youth Master Plan (CYMP) Youth Empowerment committee and volunteered to serve as a chair of the work group going forward. 

Odalis provides an authentic and powerful voice to ACAP.  Because she shares her knowledge, experiences and recommendations honestly and thoughtfully, she makes their work better. Additionally, Odalis has a leadership role in the Youth Leadership Conference and the Keep It 360 Club at T.C. Williams, making the club’s work more vibrant and expanding its reach in the T.C. Williams student community. As Helen Morris says:  “Odalis’s leadership and volunteer work come from her heart, and that makes her powerful and effective. She is a rising star in our community.”

The 2018 RSVP Northern Virginia Award goes to...Celia Boertlein

Celia, an Alexandria resident, joined the RSVP-Northern Virginia in June 2016. RSVP is a federal program, managed through a local partnership between Volunteer Alexandria, Volunteer Arlington, and Volunteer Fairfax and responds to community needs in and around Northern Virginia. The program provides individualized support to connect adults 55+ with service opportunities that impact local needs and result in healthy and vibrant communities. Individuals choose how, where, and how often they want to serve, with commitments ranging from a few hours a couple of times a year to 40 hours per week.

Since joining, Celia volunteered for several different organizations including Huntley Meadows Park, Farmer’s Markets and Martha Washington Library. Huntley Meadow’s staff described Celia as a dedicated, hardworking, and positive volunteer who ensures excellent nature experiences for visiting children. Celia’s impact is felt by many beyond program attendees. She trouble shoots in the Visitor Center, keeps other volunteer groups busy, and ensures materials are ready. Celia’s contribution is priceless as she creates the community at Huntley Meadows.

Since 2014, Celia volunteers for the Martha Washington Library, assisting the Circulation Department with daily operations including processing patron holds, retrieving items from the stacks to be sent to other libraries, shelving books, and generally helping to keep the library tidy and organized. Celia, who is known to be always cheerful, energetic and willing to pitch in with just about any project or task that needs attention, has contributed over 500 hours total. Celia goes above and beyond and steps in to keep the department running. 

Emergency Preparedness Volunteer Service Award 2018 goes to...Marjorie Windelberg

Marjorie, an Alexandria resident has an extensive background in information technology, cyber security management, and teaching graduate courses covering topics in information assurance, homeland security, and resilience / disaster response and recovery.  She is an active volunteer for the Alexandria Citizen Corps Council (CCC) and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The CCC was established under the City Code in 2005 to advise and support the City Council of Alexandria to help Alexandria minimize the impact of disaster through prevention, preparation, and effective response measures. CERT educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.

CERT is an important component to assist the City in disaster situation and Marjorie keeps the program running.  Her professional expertise, academic expertise, and her passion for emergency preparedness are vital for this program. She teaches CERT classes to new volunteers and keeps current members engaged. 

In addition, Marjorie creates the preparedness newsletter, reaches out to neighbors to share tips, and offers her experience and knowledge to further the mission of both programs.