Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
April 23, 2015

Contact Russ Reno, Communications and Legislative Services, (office) 402-471-8287 or (cell) 402-450-7318, or russ.reno@nebraska.gov; Anita Haumont, Volunteer Coordinator & Recreational Specialist, (office) 402-759-3164

YRTC-G Recognizes Volunteers for Years of Service

Geneva – More than 90 people recently attended the “Groovy 60s” Volunteer Recognition Banquet at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Geneva.

Guests, staff and YRTC-G youth dressed in 1960s attire for the event, and enjoyed entertainment by Linda McRae, a Canadian folk-roots-Americana musician who has earned two platinum and three gold records as a member of Spirit of the West and she has released four critically acclaimed solo recordings.

“While we are justifiably proud of the work of staff in meeting the needs of our youth, the contributions of the community and the many volunteers are invaluable to our success,” said Facility Administrator Dan Scarborough. “We rely on our volunteers to provide the community connections that help to establish the link that our youth will carry with them long after they have left our care.”

Volunteer Coordinator Anita Haumont said in acknowledging the time commitment of volunteers that during the past year volunteers gave 2,027 hours to the youth, an average of 169 hours a month. “You all have the potential to turn a life around. Thank you for helping the young people at YRTC through their daily struggles and time of uncertainty,” she said.

“Over the years, one thing I can attest to is consistently hearing, time and time again, how meaningful your involvement is and the deep appreciation for all that you do,” she said. “I have been told by these young people how it holds extra meaning that you choose to do this and expect nothing in return. This is a hard concept for many to grasp.”

Facility Operating Officer Mary Stofer presented awards, including the following for five years of volunteering:

  • Sara Gerber (Compassion in Action, chapel services);
  • John and Nancy Power (mentors and Nancy is a YRTC substitute teacher);
  • Pastor Doris White (Youth Fellowship, religious counseling and chapel services); and
  • Jacki Wilkins (mentor who along with husband, Jim, and son, Jaeden, provide family role-models, and operate an equine program for the youth).
In addition, the following were recognized:
  • New volunteers - Steve & Becky Mohling, Bible study; Wanda Saum, mentor; Yolanda Singletary, mentor; Pat Vauck, mentor; Janet Wilkins, Youth Fellowship.
  • 10 years or more - Jeanne Girmus and Linda Nunns, Off Campus Work Program; Glen Loontjer, Chapel Board; and Pastor Patricia Massie, Chapel services.
  • 15 years or more - Jack & Sharon Jacobs, Community Advisory Board, Chapel Board and mentors; Jeanette Stengel, Catholic services; and Donna Wilkins, Youth Fellowship.
  • 20 years or more - Donna Best – Chapel Board (29 years); Ruth Erb, Youth Fellowship (29); Teela Mickles, Chapel services (31); Sharon Kennel, Community Advisory Board, Chapel Board (33); Frank Heinisch, Community Advisory Board, Chapel Board (34); and Mary Ann Najmon, Catholic services (43).
  • Others – University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska-Kearney volunteers in the Student Mentor Program and Big Brother’s/Big Sister’s Program.
  • Special friends - Christian Heritage, Lancaster County Transitional Specialists, Federated Women’s Club, Church Women United of Omaha, City Union Ushers Ministry, Ricky Simmons of Simmons & Associates, Heritage Crossings, Rialto II Theatre, and Geneva United Methodist Church.
“You are making a difference in the lives of our youth,” Haumont said. “You never know when a mere smile, kind words, a little praise or simply listening can turn someone’s life around, and we have seen it happen here. Thank you for the contribution of your time to these youth.”
- 30 -
 
A high-resolution (5MG) photograph of volunteers who were recognized is available athttp://dhhs.ne.gov/PublishingImages/YRTCGVolunteerAwards.JPG
 
The caption for the photo:  Among those recognized for years of volunteer service to the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Geneva were (left) Ruth Erb, Frank Heinisch, Sharon Kennel, Donna Best, Sharon Jacobs, Jack Jacobs and Will Swartzendruber. Second row (left) Jacki Wilkins, YRTC volunteer coordinator Anita Haumont, Mina Nutter, Pat Vauck, Breanna Johnson and Holly Ahmann.