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Vista’s Lifeline Community Services Presents 2024 Annual Volunteer Awards

By   /  April 5, 2024  /  No Comments


TR Robertson – On Wednesday morning Vista’s Lifeline Community Services organization hosted their annual Volunteer Awards program at their center on Michigan Street in Downtown Historic Vista. This year marks the 50th anniversary for Lifeline, their Mission remaining “to build self-reliance among youth, adults, and families through high-quality, community-based services. Lifeline serves over 1,250 clients annually using 154 passionate, committed volunteers, dedicating 19,256 hours of services to help members of the community. All of these Lifeliner volunteers have the same characteristics of C.A.R.E.S. – Connected, Authentic, Responsive, Equitable and Steadfast. The volunteers work in a variety of areas, including Youth Development, Child Abuse Prevention, Behavioral Health, Housing & Self-Sufficiency and Anti-Human Trafficking.

This year’s Volunteer Awards program had a carnival theme as their community room was decorated in red & white with balloons and other festive decorations. Lining the walls were tables with volunteers handing out popcorn, snow cones, mini pancakes (complete with a variety of toppings), along with fruit platters and pretzels to entice those attending. Guests could also drop raffle tickets in jars with donated prizes like Moonlight tickets, Wilson Creek Wine tasting, a Round of golf at Emerald Isle, a Chipotle dinner and USS Midway Museum tickets. Several small games were available for early arrivals such as Coke bottle ring toss and Dunk a Duck.

The Ceremony began with Volunteer Program Manager Anabel Melo welcoming those in attendance, thanking the Community Engagement Team and the Planning Committee for their hard work and thanking the corporate assistance Lifeline has received over the years. She introduced the new Lifeline Chief Executive Officer Lisette Islas who also thanked those in attendance, especially all of the volunteers for Lifeline. Lisette pointed out this is the 50th year Lifeline has helped youth, adults, and families with their community-based programs.

Lisette introduced Past Board President Rick Martinez who spoke about the organization, planning and commitment of the volunteers as they worked with the mission of Lifeline. He alluded to the importance of the Youth Development Program. The next introduction was of Katie Melendez, Vista City Council Member and Deputy Mayor for the City of Vista. Katie spoke about her connection with Lifeline and the importance it has in the community to transform and change lives. She then read a proclamation from the City Council of Vista declaring April 21-27 Lifeline Community Service Volunteer Week. A representative for State Senator Catherine Blakespear’s Office also a proclamation for Lifeline.

Anabel Melo then explained that the volunteers nominated for the five separate awards would be announced and then winners announced. There were a range of 4-8 nominees for each of the categories, except for the Mike Cavataio Volunteer of the Year. Each category had a Lifeline Board member discuss the award, announce the winner, and read information about the winner. Each winner in the categories also had a chance to talk about their experience with Lifeline.

The first Volunteer Award was for Outstanding New Volunteer. The presenter was Jim Hagar and the winner was Jeri Suzuki, VITA Tax Preparer. The next award was for Happy Lifeliner, presented by Barbara Levine, going to Jorge Nava, Respect Project Mentor. The third award was for Team Spirit, presented by Yameeka Williams, won by North Coast Church, accepted by Don Fields. The fourth award was for Mission in Motion, presented by Dr. Darjene Graham-Perez. Winning this award was Rachel Finch, Youth Development PCC Clinical Trainee. The final award was for the Mike Cavataio Volunteer of the Year, presented by Megan Provost, going to Derek Smith, Youth Development MSW, Clinical Intern.

With the announcement of the Volunteer of the Year, the 2024 Lifeline Volunteer Awards Program ended and those in attendance used the parting time to visit, network and congratulate the winners.


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