The Outstanding Youth Volunteer and Volunteer Coordinator nominees at DOVIA’s awards reception: (left to right) Casey McCommell, Tara Cormier, Meisha Jackson, Sierra Bird, Suzi Lawton, Mia Bersola-Isaguirre, Nicolas Barry, Gloria Torres (accepting on behalf of Alex Stamas).
 Photo by Jennifer Trovato.

DOVIA Celebrates Sacramento’s Volunteers


Representatives of Sacramento’s volunteer community gathered Thursday, July 18th to acknowledge the dedication, hard work and value of Sacramento’s volunteers. This marked the Directors of Volunteers in Agencies (DOVIA) annual awards reception, which was held at the Wellspring Women’s Center in Sacramento.

Youth volunteers and volunteer coordinators were nominated for the Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year Award and Outstanding Volunteer Coordinator of the Year Award. All present this evening were either active in the volunteer community or there to support those who were, and the positive energy was a palpable presence in the room.

Cole Forstedt, director of volunteerism and community engagement for the United Way California Capital Region, was the awards presenter. Assemblyman Roger Dickinson spoke, and Steven Stenzler represented Assemblyman Ken Cooley. Forstedt honored all of the nominees for their dedication and special talents, and by the end of the evening, the winners were announced.

The winner of the Outstanding Volunteer Coordinator of the Year was Suzi Lawton of Project R.I.D.E. Inc. Being recognized for her dedication to and passion for the work she loves and excels at was a moving experience for Lawton. A $100 donation will be awarded to Project R.I.D.E. on her behalf.

Also nominated for Outstanding Volunteer Coordinator of the Year was Nicolas Barry, volunteer coordinator for the office of Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

The winner of the Youth award was Alex Stamas, who volunteers with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Gloria Torres, an LLS volunteer and outreach and education coordinator at La Familia Counseling Center, Inc., accepted the award on Alex’s behalf as he could not be present at the awards ceremony. Among Alex’s accomplishments was that he won the LLS Man of the Year award by raising over $125,000 on his own, more funds than any other team in the competition. As the winner of the Outstanding Youth Volunteer award, Alex will receive the Margaret Einspahr $500 scholarship.

The other youth volunteers, all impressive in their own right, were: Syndee Bender (American Cancer Society), Mia Bersola-Isaguirre (Ronald McDonald House) Sierra Bird (Effie Yeaw Nature Center), Walker Durant (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society), Kloey Helms (Habitat for Humanity), Alyssa Hinds (Girl Scouts), Meisha jackson (Folsom Cordova Community Partnership), and Casey McConnell (Ronald McDonald House).

They and their families should be proud of their accomplishments and of the caring, dedication and effort given by each of these impressive young people.

The winners were selected by a panel of three judges: Tina Reynolds, founder, principle and owner of Uptown Studios; Tricia Rosenbaum, executive director of the Nonprofit Resource Center; and Dr. Bill Wittich, speaker, author, coach and consultant.

This was a gathering of people who strive daily to make the world a better place. For information on how to join or support DOVIA, visit Other volunteer and support opportunities are available with many local organizations, including: City of Sacramento,; United Way,; Project R.I.D.E.,; First Call Hospice,; and Ronald McDonald House Charities,

Source: DOVIA
These awards began with the support and efforts of Margaret Einspahr, one of the founders of DOVIA. In her honor, DOVIA created the Margaret Einspahr Memorial Fund which is the source of the scholarship awarded to the youth recipient.


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