Tag Archives: Volunteer

Daggerwing Nature Center Volunteer awarded Annual Scott Cowan Memorial Scholarship

Megan Mui, recipient of 2020 Scott Cowan Memorial Scholarship.

Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center, Inc. (FOD) announced the 2020 Scott Cowan Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Megan Mui.

 Megan has been a volunteer in the nature center’s gift shop since 2017 and has just graduated from North Broward Preparatory School, an AP Scholar with Distinction. She is also a 2020 National Merit winner. Megan will pursue a premed program at the University of South Florida. She plans a career in medical research in virology.

Initiated in 2017 by the Cowan family, FOD established this annual $500 scholarship to recognize outstanding student volunteers at Daggerwing Nature Center and promote their future educational goals. “We hope to both continue and expand our volunteer scholarship program to recognize and celebrate these young volunteers who make a valued contribution to our nature center”, said Edith Cowan, President of FOD, and mother of Scott Cowan for whom the scholarship is named.

Scholarship contributions to the Scott Cowan Memorial Fund can be donated to Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center, Inc.

West Boynton Recreation Staff Helps Students Gain Employment Experience

A group of Park Vista High School student volunteers gain valuable work experience at WBRC

Since 2018, staff at West Boynton Recreation Center have been welcoming students from Park Vista High School to the facility to provide valuable job training experience. It began in August 2018 with an off-campus job training program, and has since transitioned to include ESE students from the school. The students range from ages 18 to 22 years old. The program currently has up to three students per day, everyday.

“The purpose of the program is for our students to have another ‘boss’ outside of the classroom… they get to experience employer expectations, interact with the community, and learn skills that cannot be taught on a high school campus,” said Melia Videtta, Park Vista High School ESE teacher. The goal is to not only help students get a feel for what it’s like to go to work, but also to raise their self-esteem and create a sense of excitement for the tasks.

“The students are excited to go to work,” said Ogden Powell, Job Trainer for the Palm Beach County School District. He recalled, “some students have mastered some tasks and are able to work without supervision.” The tasks include window cleaning, sweeping, mopping, and setting up rooms with tables and chairs.

West Boynton Recreation Center Maintenance Worker Carlos Jerez headed up the initiative. He trained the students, supervised, and assigned tasks when the program was at it’s initial stages at the recreation center. Powell recalled, “Mr. Carlos is great with the students.”

Overall, the experience has been welcoming and productive for all the participants. “Everyone is so nice, helpful, and patient with our students… the people at the Rec center are flexible and open-minded,” said Videtto. Travis McPheeters, manager of WBRC, expressed his gratitude for working with the students and faculty at Park Vista High School. “We are thrilled with this partnership we have forged with PVHS,” he said.

Volunteer Spotlight: Lorraine DiFrancisco

Volunteer Lorraine DiFrancisco

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.

Local Students Help Increase Tree Canopy in Palm Beach County at Florida Arbor Day Event

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and National Garden Clubs, Inc., Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. (FFGC) District X, and Plant America with Trees, together with more than 70 student volunteers from Latinos in Action, planted 27 native trees in John Prince Park on Saturday, January 18, in celebration of Florida Arbor Day.

The event was part of a national effort to encourage community engagement for the purpose of offsetting tree loss and promoting carbon sequestration in the atmosphere. $1,500 in native trees were donated by FFGC District X for the event; 60 trees were previously planted by local Boy Scout Troop 199 on January 4 in John Prince Park, which allowed the boys to earn badges and help promote environmental sustainability.

The event began with a small ceremony, followed by the tree planting at Custard Apple Trail.

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Okeeheelee Golf Course

Rick Ward, Arcade Duguay, and Tom Furmer are long-time, dedicated volunteers at Okeeheelee Golf Course. Ward has been a volunteer for three years, Furmer, for three and a half, and Duguay, for nine years.

The men serve as player assistants and assistant starters for the golf course, meaning they monitor the flow of the game, fill sand bottles, assist with water and trash, and provide customer service to visitors.

The “Allstars,” as noted by Assistant Manager Juan Calderon, are “willing to go above and beyond for the facility and its visitors.” The three volunteers each have different answers when it comes to their favorite part of volunteering, though they all appreciate the ability to assist their fellow golfers; for Ward, it’s being with and helping people, for Duguay, it’s meeting people and making friends, and for Furmer, it’s helping everyone and meeting people.

Volunteer spotlight: Carole Rapport

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.”

Volunteer Spotlight: BARRY DRUCKER

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.

Volunteer Spotlight: Dorothy Cunningham

Dorothy Cunningham has been a volunteer docent at the DuBois Pioneer Home for almost one year.

As a docent at the DuBois Pioneer Home, Dorothy gives tours of the home and shares its historical information, including its connection with pioneer history and Indian artifacts. Her willingness to engage with anyone as well as her incredible depth of knowledge is what makes Dorothy stand out as a volunteer.

Her favorite thing about volunteering with our department is that DuBois Park and Jupiter Inlet are her favorite places. She loves showing the house and sharing stories on the history of the park and the DuBois family. For her, it is a wonderful experience sharing and enjoying the parks.

Dorothy’s passion for Jupiter, Florida history has been a well-received compliment to the tours. She has made herself available for all different types of tours and tour dates. She is an exemplary park volunteer. Her willingness to engage with anyone as well as her incredible depth of knowledge is what makes Dorothy stand out as a volunteer.

Power of Parks: Ed McClure

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 3 features guest Ed McClure, a volunteer at Okeeheelee Nature Center who worked 30 years in the corporate world and after searching for a productive and exciting way to spend his retired life, found a new passion at the nature center. Now, he greets and feeds animals, cleans their areas, and works on special projects like the butterfly garden.

Volunteer Spotlight: Debbie DeLucco & Donna Adair

PBC Parks’ ‘Volunteer Spotlight’ highlights our talented and dedicated volunteers! Meet DuBois Pioneer Home volunteers, Debbie DeLucco and Donna Adair, two of the “original” Dubois Pioneer Home historical docents. Watch the video to learn about the dedicated volunteers – including what they enjoy most about being docents!

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.