Sandy Gurian has been a volunteer for 2 years at Green Cay Nature Center. She helps set the tone of the visit for patrons, as she is usually the first person seen by visitors. She greets visitors, assists with basic questions, helps with program reservations and answers the phone. She is very knowledgeable about all operations of the nature center.
Green Cay is one of the most popular places to visit, where the nature center itself can be bustling and busy on any given day! Volunteers highly contribute to their successful engagement with the public on those busy days! Sandy contributes her positive energy, enthusiasm, and attention to detail as well as keeping the front desk clean and neat, making sure safety concerns are addressed, and takes initiative when she sees something needs attention.
Sandy has a great energy and was awarded the engagement champion this year during their volunteer appreciation week. She truly loves welcoming visitors, offering assistance or answering questions. She is always on her feet and wants to learn something new everyday. In addition, she is a great team player and is very flexible with her schedule – always willing to help out when needed. All around, that enthusiasm and teamwork is what makes her a wonderful volunteer at Green Cay.
The biggest personal benefit she’s received as a volunteer with our department? “I’m glad I can give back before I get old. It fulfills me to volunteer my time”. Sandy loves engaging with all visitors at Green Cay Nature Center.
Sandy worked as a secretary for the Allentown School District and retired in 2013. She moved to Florida in 2018 from the Poconos. Sandy loves nature and being outdoors and has many childhood memories of going to the park every day as a kid. She said her family went out for picnics every Sunday to the lake. Sandy loves birds, likes to run, swim and play pickleball. When Sandy is not volunteering at Green Cay Nature Center, she ushers at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton.
Edward “Eddie” Ott has been a volunteer for 11 years at John Prince Golf Learning Center. He picks up golf balls on the range and helps keep the fire ants under control by surveying the property in the hunt for anthills, so they can extinguish them before they cause patrons harm. He also helps keep the golf greens, green aprons (collars) and fairways in tiptop shape by fixing ball markers and filling divots, keeping them as some of the best in South Florida.
Fellow staff, volunteers and patrons have always said that he has been a pleasure to talk to due to his wealth of experiences and knowledge.
Eddie has always been a very diligent working volunteer. He is kind, optimistic and very cordial to all and a role model to the whole facility.
The biggest personal benefit he’s received as a volunteer with our department? “I get to play golf and work with Geoff!”
Eddie started playing golf at the age of 42 and moved down to Florida from Ohio when he was 50. His previous occupation was an auto mechanic. What’s most interesting is he is 97 years old, who calls 85 year olds ‘kids’.
Lorraine DiFrancisco has been a volunteer at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens for the past four years. She serves as a general volunteer and is currently a docent-in-training at the facility.
According to DiFrancisco, being in the docent program with her fellow docents means she can give tours to school groups, clubs, and organizations. She has also been a greeter at the Yamato-kan and main museum, as well as a volunteer at annual festivals, like Oshogatsu and the Lantern Festival.
DiFrancisco’s favorite thing about volunteering at the Morikami is that it allows her “to meet and interact with people from all over the world,” she said. She loves sharing the things she has learned with others so that they can better understand and appreciate all that the Morikami has to offer.
Carole Rapport has been a volunteer at Daggerwing Nature Center for over seven years. She serves as the volunteer gift shop manager and is also the treasurer for Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center. Her involvement with the site ranges from the gift shop to volunteer management as well as working with the animals.
Carole started in 2012 working in the butterfly garden and evolved to share her talents in various ways, especially with the Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center. “Carole is a brilliant person with great skills that are valuable to any organization – she is organized, professional, and one of the best friends I know,” said Sean Mallee, Daggerwing Nature Center Manager.
According to Carole, her favorite thing about volunteering at Daggerwing Nature Center, “is all the friendships I’ve made here… all the volunteers come from such diverse backgrounds and experiences but we are friends because our our common goals.”
Barry Drucker has been a dedicated volunteer for one year now at John Prince Golf Learning Center (JPGLC). Staff at JPGLC can always depend on Barry to help out whenever they need him and he always stays busy with light duties such as trash and debris, filling divots with sand, etc. In addition to those light duties, Barry does the range picking and maintains the mat and rope line.
What is his favorite part about volunteering here? “John Prince Park is a nice place to be at; it’s a great natural habitat to observe.”
What stands out most about Barry is his dependability and work ethic.
Welcome to Power of Parks, a podcast produced by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, where we share inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks and recreation.
Episode 2 features guest Noah Kraft, a 13-year old volunteer at Okeeheelee Golf Course. Noah has been volunteering at the golf course for almost a year. Volunteering has helped him in a few ways, including learning how to do different tasks and improving his game. Noah agrees volunteering has provided him with many opportunities to better himself, and much of this has come from interacting with golf employees at the course. This opportunity is providing him not only with a way to serve his community, but also valuable experience he needs to work his way up to becoming a professional golf player!
PBC Parks’ Volunteer Spotlight highlights our talented and dedicated volunteers! Meet DuBois Pioneer Home volunteer, Kim Ryan, one of the four “original” Dubois Pioneer Home historical docents. Watch the video to learn about Ryan – including why she volunteers and what reactions she gets from visitors! Docents provide guests with quality, educational, and enriching experiences by giving educational tours throughout the DuBois House exhibit. Consider becoming a docent at the DuBois House located at DuBois Park in Jupiter! Call PBC Parks Volunteer Services at 561-966-6609 for more information.