Blog Archive

Blog Archive

Daily Point of Light #4365, Maria Precht

Maria Precht has dedicated 900 hours to the Junior League of Annapolis, a non-profit organization comprised of women committed to promoting civic action. Maria’s service is largely spent with children and homeless families. She recently distributed 1,000 bags of school supplies to children at local schools through the League’s Book Bag program. To raise awareness about childhood obesity, Maria taught healthy eating choices to kids in her community.

Daily Point of Light #4364, Joe & Elaine Griswold

Joe and Elaine Griswold were inspired to help the children of Uganda, Africa, on an unexpected tour of a government-sponsored village school. Since the tour, the couple has co-founded two non-profit organizations: Tree of Life Ministries in Uganda and Real Partners Uganda in the United States. The Griswolds, two retired teachers, have now devoted their lives to Ugandan children and have brought hope to the community through the Mustard Seed Academy in Lukaya, Uganda, which serves 300 children from age 3 to 13.

Daily Point of Light #4362, Debbie Reid

Debbie Reid co-founded the Bikes for Kids of Utah non-profit organization. Each year the organization gives 1,000 underprivileged kids each a bike to promote exercise, give them a mode of transportation, and teach them safety. Service has always been important to Debbie. Many volunteers and sponsors step forward to help provide kids with a bike they will remember forever. Bike rides and silent auctions also raise money for the event.  The fundraising efforts are very successful and have brought in enough money to provide children with helmets, locks, and water bottles.

Daily Point of Light #4361, Rich Smith

Rich Smith is a dedicated volunteer of the Tonto National Forest. For nearly six years, he has served the public by reducing the natural resource impact from off-highway vehicles (OHV), while improving recreational opportunities for Tonto National Forest visitors. From March 2005 to 2008, Rich formed and led the Friends of Sycamore, a group of individuals and volunteers who helped address concerns in high-use OHV sites that were negatively impacting the Tonto National Forest.

Daily Point of Light #4360, Cindy Baczewski

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix had a plan to combat the increases in juvenile crime, gang activity and drug trafficking that was plaguing the West Valley.   Together with several community partners, they were preparing to tackle these challenges by expanding programs and building three new Clubhouses in these needy areas. However, to be successful in these efforts, the Boys & Girls Clubs needed to increase the fundraising and volunteer efforts of its auxiliary groups.

Daily Point of Light #4359, Renee Van Heel

When wildfires devastated her community in 2007 and burned her home, Renee van Heel did not wallow in despair, instead she got “fired up.” Renee founded a support group to help the women of the San Diego community who had lost their homes.  The organization, Fired Up Sisters, works to get fire victims back into their homes and help fire victims to become fire survivors.  The group has grown to include six hundred women in the last two and a half years and continues with its efforts until all of its members are back in their homes.

Daily Point of Light #4358, Cindy Brenneman

Sometimes it is not one action or cause that distinguishes an individual, but rather their instrumental role in establishing the groundwork where community can flourish.  Cindy Brenneman’s continuous efforts to strengthen her community of Costa Mesa follow that pattern. In 2008 Cindy received the Mayor’s Award for her work as president of the board of the Costa Mesa Community Foundation. During her tenure Cindy directed several ambitious projects.

Daily Point of Light #4357, Dr. Ken Johnson

Dr. Ken Johnson creates smiles that will last a lifetime through the free dental work he provides to children in need. "My father was a generous, giving man who instilled in me a core value of giving back & helping out,” recalls Ken. “He raised funds for needy community members even while not having much money to support his own family.” Ken has been giving back through providing volunteer dental services throughout his entire 44 year career. As a young dentist Ken made 25 international trips to provide volunteer dental care in impoverished countries throughout the world.

Daily Point of Light #4356, Colleen Belcher & South Shore YMCA

Sometimes a seemingly small decision has a big impact. At the South Shore YMCA it all started with the idea for a t-shirt – a shirt that would help others distinguish the volunteers from the staff. Two years ago the YMCA’s volunteer program was in shambles. It had only 15 volunteers. “We began our endeavor with nothing more than a blessing that we could run with this and nothing more than the determination that this was something that needed to be done,” recalls Colleen Belcher, who was part of the team charged with reinvigorating the YMCA’s volunteer program.

Daily Point of Light #4355, Jackie Knowles & The Women’s Room

For the founders of the Women’s Room 1,200 was the magic number. They had to do something for the 1,200 people sleeping on the streets each night in Pasadena, California. After a survey revealed a gap in available services for homeless women with no drug, alcohol or mental issues, the Women’s Issues Committee (WIC) of All Saints established The Women’s Room, a daytime refuge for women who are alone and homeless.

Daily Point of Light #4354, Dr. Naomi Mangatu

It started as a simple proposal. Dr. Naomi Mangatu’s employer was holding a contest. Employees could submit a proposal for a community service project and the winning entry would be funded. Naomi’s idea “Women and Safe Water” won. With that, a trickle of hope arrived in the Kathivo Village in Kenya. In collaboration with the Catholic Diocese of Kitui, Naomi was able to start a rain harvesting project in the Kathivo Village of Kitui District in Kenya.

Daily Point of Light #4353, Rita Pinard

Every dollar counts and Rita Pinard makes sure that the people of western Oregon get to hang on to as much of their hard earned income as possible. “I know taxes can be complicated and frustrating, especially as people get older and rules become increasingly complex,” says Rita Pinard. “We help working people that may be paying taxes that they shouldn’t pay, helping those that might miss opportunities to save money.”

Daily Point of Light #4352, Christopher Fought

Sometimes heading out of town provides prospective. In January 2007 a team of volunteers from the small community of Ligonier, Indiana went to the Gulf Coast to assist with the rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina. The problem was Ligonier needed some help too.  For the past 30 years Ligonier had been in decline. Like many small towns Ligonier’s population was dwindling, historic buildings in downtown were crumbling and cultural rifts were dividing the community of 5,000.

Daily Point of Light #4351, Lou Maas

For nearly twenty years Lou Mass has been a constant presence at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Craig Street Clubhouse. Forgoing a retirement of rest and leisure Lou instead gives his time to the children who frequent the Clubhouse. Located in Hamilton Hill, the Clubhouse serves at-risk youth in one of the most impoverished areas of Schenectady County. As a new retiree, Lou Maas relocated to Schenectady, New York in 1991.  He quickly made the Boys & Girls Clubs the focus of his new found free time working directly with the children. He was a regular volunteer in the homework help program.