Top row, from left: Leslie Alden, Marie Gaines, Florence Williams, Lois Riddick. Second row, from left: Brother Earl Gadsden, the Wise Girls – Ayana Morgan, Lea Mixon, Paul Austin, Jr. Photos by Godfrey Lee.
By Godfrey Lee
It is hard to do anything in Marin City without the help of volunteers. About 50 were honored last Sunday at a luncheon for outstanding senior volunteers and outstanding intergenerational volunteers.
The Dec. 8 event was held at the Manzanita Recreation Center. The theme was: “Thank you for sharing and caring,” recognizing all the volunteers in the Marin City Community Service District.
“There are so many wonderful things happening in Marin City because the people in this community gave so much, are connected to each other, and care so much for each other. This makes Marin City special… And I salute all of you,” said Leslie Alden, aide to Supervisor Kate Sears.
Florence Williams was Mistress of Ceremonies. Lois Riddick sang, “The Lord’s Prayer.” Ayana Morgan and Lea Mixon of The Wise Girls, recited two poems. And Brother Earl Gadsden performed, “This Little Light of Mine.”
Two girls performed Christmas carols for the audience.
“Volunteering is important to my heart,” said Paul Austin, Jr., director of the Recreation Program.
“I started off early on in my life as a volunteer,” he said. “And volunteering just kind of grew in the things in my life.
“Being a volunteer helps build your personality. And it lets people know that you are a ‘can-do’ person. Volunteering makes a difference in who you are and what you become in the future. The younger you start, the greater the chance you will become a great well-rounded person.
“Marin City is an intergenerational community. And the volunteers, especially the seniors, are valuable role models here in the community.”
An award was given to Shirley Gray, who is blind.
She was recognized for serving seven years facilitating the Blind and Vision Impaired Support Group.
Group volunteer recognition was given to Alice Gardner, James Gardner, Moira Kogut, and William “Bill” Whereat, who have served lunch at the Senior Center every Wednesday afternoon.
Lorenzo Bynum was recognized for his continued and dedicated support of the Manzanita Recreation Center and for working with Marin City youth as a coach.
Alexis Wise and The Wise Girls were selected as the volunteer group that has supported youth programs in coordination with the Recreation Center.
Wise strives to inspire her girls to bring out their best, to respect themselves and others. She said she hopes volunteerism will help young people overcome the social and economic obstacles that impact low-income areas of Marin.