Park district gives credit where it's due
By Jason Sweeney, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/19/2009 10:34:38 AM PST
Copied from the Hayward Daily Review, January 21, 2009
HAYWARD - The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District board of directors gave big kudos Friday to a few of the local volunteers who chip in with their time and effort to help out their communities.
At its annual board of directors Awards held at the Mt. Eden Mansion at Kennedy Park, the district recognized Castro Valley resident Fred Stafford with an individual award, and the 34 student members of the San Lorenzo High School Associated Student Body/Leadership Class with an organizational award.
Stafford, 41, said he was surprised to receive the recognition. He started volunteering at the Sulphur Creek Nature Center in Hayward 15 years ago after being laid off. His wife was a volunteer there and he had extra time on his hands to help clean out the animals' cages, bedding and feeding dishes.
After going back to work, he continued to volunteer and has racked up more than 6,000 hours of volunteer time. It's just fun, Stafford said. I love doing it. He and his 10-year-old daughter, Sabrina, visit local businesses and ask for donations for the nature center. They have pulled in dog and cat food, bird feed, cages, bedding, food bowls and computers, as well as monetary donations.
The board of directors said Stafford has an amazing talent and uncanny ability to connect with local merchants, corporations and various organizations, and HARD is sincerely grateful for the time, energy and dedication he has given to support the park district.
Chade Bills, 17, a senior at San Lorenzo High School and the student body president, said she and her classmates were proud to be recognized with the organizational award for their volunteer work at the Ashland Community Center.
It means a lot to us because we give up so much of our personal time to make sure that the kids in our area are taken care of, she said.
The Leadership Class at San Lorenzo High School adopted the Ashland Community Center in 2003. For the past five years, the class has organized the center's Halloween Party and its holiday toy drive, and have wrapped presents and volunteered at the center's Holiday Party and Gift Giveaway.
The students in the Leadership Class volunteer on their own time after class, on weekends and during school breaks to serve children 10 years old and younger at the center.
Hayward Area Recreation and Park District recreation supervisor Jean Clark nominated the San Lorenzo High students for the organizational award.
We can offer more programs and more events because of their volunteering, Clark said. They are role models that stay in school and give back to the community that they live in. They are mentors for the kids of the community, and that's huge.
Reach Jason Sweeney at 510-293-2469 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.