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Volunteers honored for contributions to Minneapolis parks


Minneapolis Park Board Honors its volunteers

By Angela Schneider

If it wasn’t for the thousands of volunteers who selflessly donate their time and talents, the Minneapolis Park System would not be as successful as it is. Their contributions range from gardening and coaching to starting a neighborhood festival and playing vital roles in the creation of a new recreation center.

To recognize the essential role volunteers play in the parks, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) presented the Volunteer of the Year Awards at special ceremonies held Wednesday, April 20. Remarkable Volunteer Service Awards were presented to five adults and one group. The Rising Star Award was given to four youth.

All honoree contributions embody one or more of the themes set forth in the Park Board’s Comprehensive Plan including, Environmental Stewardship, Community Engagement, Recreation that Inspires, Safe Places, and Vision and Leadership.

REMARKABLE VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD

Each recipient of the Remarkable Volunteer Service Award received an art piece created by a local artist, and a donation of $500 to the park program where they serve as a volunteer. Funds will be used to enhance programming, purchase needed materials or supplies and launch innovative ideas. The award recipients are Amos Deinard in Kenwood, Brad Pass in Phillips, Jessica Hill at Lake Hiawatha Center, Rodney Lossow in Longfellow, Steve Young in Fulton Neighborhood and Pershing/Linden Hills. and the Youthline Gang Prevention Program mentors in Folwell, Hawthorne, Jordan, and McKinley Neighborhoods.

RISING STAR AWARD

The Rising Star Award recognizes teen volunteers that bring creative vision, enthusiasm and leadership to the parks they serve. Each of these honorees received an award certificate for their contributions to the system.

The Rising Star Award recipients are Ashton Robinson at Powderhorn Park Community Center, Birra Hussein at Windom South Community Center, Donnie Lawson at Whittier Park’s Youthline Program, and James Williams at Green Central Gym.

Volunteering with the MPRB

Approximately 7,000 people volunteer over 58,000 hours annually, which is the equivalent of 28 full-time staff members. Volunteers are valued assets for city-wide events such as the Minneapolis Bike Tour and Earth Day Watershed Cleanup. They also benefit their neighborhoods through assistance with recreation center programs and community festivals.

The MPRB has opportunities for volunteers of all ages, ranging from teens to senior citizens, individuals to businesses. Projects are one-time, short-term or on-going. For more information on volunteering in Minneapolis Parks, call Michelle Kellogg at 612-230-6439 or e-mail. Volunteer opportunities are also listed on the MPRB Web site. – Volunteers.

CONTACT:
Michelle Kellogg
Volunteer Coordinator
612-313-7778, mkellogg@minneapolisparks.org
Angela Schneider
Temporary Writer & Multimedia Reporter
612-230-6410, aschneider@minneapolisparks.org

Profiles of Volunteers with ties to Phillips:

Amos Deinard

Amos Deinard, a pediatrician, University of Minnesota professor, and the former, longtime Director of Community University Health Care Center at the corner of Bloomington Avenue and Franklin Avenue is no stranger to linking what seems improbable to all that is possible. Phillips Community has been the place and recipient of several of his passionate, professional pursuits for decades. One of his personal interests has earned him this award for tending an island garden at the intersection of Kenwood Parkway, Mount Curve and Morgan Avenue for the past 20 years. He turned what was a bunch of weeds into a beautiful garden of flowering annuals and perennials. His dedication is evidenced by a beautifully designed and maintained floriferous display of annuals and perennials. This small garden fosters a safer environment by calming traffic at a busy three- way intersection. It promotes sustainability by decreasing mowing needs and increasing green space. The garden provides a sense of community by connecting the island intersection to adjacent Kenwood Park and the surrounding neighborhood. Amos’ initiative indeed shows what can be done when one person sees a need and volunteers his time and talent. In 2011, Amos plans to take on an additional task-creating and caring for a shade garden on the east side of Kenwood Park.

Ashton Robinson

Ashton Robinson has volunteered at Powderhorn Park for the past three years, assisting with special events such as the Powderhorn Art Fair, Peace Games, the May Day Parade and Powderhorn Park’s Martin Luther King Jr. event. Ashton demonstates exceptional customer service skills as he assists people who visit the park for meetings by unloading cars, holding doors, and setting up meeting rooms. Staff report that Ashton takes pride in his community and has the drive to accomplish any task that he sets his mind to. Through volunteering, Ashton has learned that he likes working with kids and hopes to pursue a profession in which he can continue to work with young children.

Brad Pass, East Phillips resident, retired airline pilot, snowplower and apartment’s owner/caretaker served as Chair of the East Phillips Park Community Design Team (EPPCDT), working tirelessly to lead the East Phillips community in realizing the dream of having a recreation center in East Phillips Park. With the help of some phenomenal grassroots organizing, the doors of the East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center opened in February 2011, serving as a hub to meet the cultural, recreational, and social needs of area residents. For six years, Brad led a diverse community team in lobby efforts to fund the center, resulting in a 2006 State bonding bill of $3.5 million. An additional $1.2 million was leveraged, making it a $4.7 million project.

Brad Pass

Brad says “the gift of your time and skill is the greatest gift you can give to your community. You may never know the extent of the positive impact your volunteering has, but it can and does change lives. It has been a privilege to serve as chair of the EPPCDT. It is said that, ‘if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together’. By going together, the wonderful people of this diverse community have gone further than any of us could have imagined.”

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