That first spark of amazement in a child’s face is what drives Lori Morton’s volunteerism, day after day. “When a kid looks into a microscope for the first time, and sees an ant or a bumblebee at high magnification, and realizes there’s this other world complexity … being a part of that moment is wonderful,” said Lori. By day, the 47-year-old scientist from Chappaqua, New York, is vice president of research at a biotechnology company, but her free time is dedicated to providing STEM discovery for kids. Through many community-based organizations and projects, Lori is providing new opportunities for kids to have fun and engage in STEM activities, in addition to underscoring the importance of science with the leaders of tomorrow.
“It doesn’t matter what your skills are. There are always opportunities for all of us to give back,” says John Gemma, who has volunteered in some capacity for as long as he can remember. The 71-year-old has always given back to his church, but since retiring from his job at the Pentagon, he began looking for new ways to get involved. He is a team leader with Habitat for Humanity and volunteers with Voices for CASA Children, an organization dedicated to being a voice for abused and neglected children.
Growing up in rural Alabama, Martina Edwards says helping your neighbor was a part of the community culture. Passionate about economic growth and empowerment for under-represented population, today she is dedicated to helping families and individuals reach financial peace and security. Martina, who is vice president of corporate partnerships at Points of Light, is a volunteer financial coach, inspiring, equipping and mobilizing others to live their best lives, free of monetary worry and debt.
“We rarely have the luxury of spending time on the business with a group of highly skilled professionals,” said Mariana McNeill, executive director of CareerCatchers. Dedicated to empowering the community’s most vulnerable populations through career counseling, mentorship and training programs, Mariana and CareerCatchers participate in the D.C. Regional Project Management Day of Service each year, taking advantage of the unique opportunity to work with project management professionals to solve tough challenges – at no cost. Hosted by Project Management for Change, the marathon-style event falls annually on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and is designed to help nonprofits find innovative solutions to their most pressing challenges. This year’s event will include 130 project management volunteers who will contribute hours of direct service to more than 30 projects for 25 area nonprofits