TR Robertson- A full house of Lifeline staff members, volunteers, community members and dignitaries filled the large hall at the Lifeline Vista Campus on Wednesday morning to honor both the volunteer nominees and the winners for various service categories who have dedicated hours and hours of volunteer service to the people Lifeline assists. This took place during National Volunteer Week, “a time to celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service.” Lifeline Community Service offers programs focusing on youth development, behavioral health, child abuse and domestic violence prevention & intervention, housing & self-sufficiency, and human trafficking prevention & intervention. Their mission is to build self-reliance among youth, adults, and families through high-quality community-based services. The Volunteer Program at Lifeline Community Services, being recognized today, offers interested, qualified individuals the opportunity to be part of Lifeline’s many services through volunteer roles. This year’s theme was “Our Volunteers are Out of This World.”
After a light lunch Volunteer Coordinator Emily Jones began the proceedings by reading out names of several luck raffle prize winners. Volunteer Program Manager Anabel Melo welcomed those in attendance, introduced dignitaries from the city and from the Lifeline Board of Directors and explained the volunteer program and the importance of assisting programs like Lifeline. She said their 125 volunteers had volunteered over 22,000 hours of services in the areas of clinical, mentorships and tutoring, administration, and tax preparation. Lifeline currently employees 162 people at their campuses. Anabel introduced Chief Executive Officer Don Stump.
Don has worked for 16 years at Lifeline and for 39 years in non-profit organizations. He will soon be retiring and said he plans to take it easy for a while, possibly traveling a little and doing some consulting as well as supporting the transition for the newly selected Chief Executive Officer. He said he is most proud of the fact that Lifeline has grown over the years, increased an operating budget from $5.2 million to over $15 million a year and added programs like assisting victims of human trafficking and assisting former foster youth. He also said they now have a homeless youth drop-in center. Don said the volunteer program is a key piece to the non-profit organization. He alluded to the beginnings of Lifeline in 1969 when a small group of people came together to help kids. In 1973 Lifeline became incorporated and they will celebrate their 50th anniversary on October 21, 2023, at the Seabird Resort in Oceanside.
Vista Mayor John Franklin read a Proclamation from the City of Vista, proclaiming April 17-23 Lifeline Community Services Week. Anabel Melo went over the awards and format for the presentation of winners, then she introduced the first presenter, Lifeline Board Member Taylor Hindle. On a power point presentation, Hindle read the three nominees – Cheryl Brigham, Nolan Nguyen, and Hayden Simonson – then announced the winner – Cheryl Brigham from Club Crown Heights at La Casita. A short description of the information concerning Cheryl was then shared. This format followed for the remaining volunteer categories as well as pictures with the Board Member and Don Stump.
Board member Dr. Patricia Prado-Olmos presented the Outstanding New Intern nominees – Rachel Smith, Kat Tessero, Gracie Luis, Isabelle Marquez, Kelly Bentrott and Kirstin Uncur. The winner was Kelly Bentrott from Life Spring.
Board Member Paul Garza presented the Happy Lifeliner Award nominees – Regan Richards and Violet Alvarez. The winner was Violet Alvarez of Here Now.
Board Member Jaime Gonzales Vallejo presented the Team Spirit Award nominees – Carlsbad Rotary International and New Community Church. The winner was New Community Church, accepted by Lisa Morales who helped with Adopt-a-Family.
Board Member Judie Nocera presented the Mission in Motion nominees – Alex Marshall, Jaime Gonzales Vallejo, Sara Heller, Kirstin Uncur and Victoria Leon. The winner was Kirstin Uncur of Youth Development.
Board Member Melissa Navarro presented the Attitude of Gratitude nominees – Laura Beasley, Tatiana Hernandez, Ariana Nieves, Natasha Jha and Kat Tessero. The winner was Kat Tessero of Youth Development.
Board Member Jim Mickelson presented the Mike Cavataio Award Volunteer of the Year nominees – Carly Clark and Pilar Gross. The winner was Pilar Gross of VLTA – tax services.
Some of the sponsors of Lifeline include Chipotle Mexican Grill, Moonlight Stage Productions, The Wave Waterpark, Wilson Creeks Winery, Sonic, Six Flags Magic Mountain, LA Galaxy, and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. For more information about Lifeline Community Services or volunteering for this organization, go to www.lifelinecs.org.