For the past 22 years, United Way has had the privilege of honoring outstanding volunteers in Adams County with the “With Heart in Hand” awards, presented during our annual Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Awards and Campaign Celebration held in April. It’s an inspirational evening. “With Heart In Hand” recipients embody the spirit of service that is vital to the quality of life in our community. Today, and in future columns, I will share their good works and hopefully inspire you to expand your volunteering horizons.
We had two recipients in the Adult category, Erica Bollinger and Dr. Lisa C. Wolkind, DVM. Erica, nominated by Linda McMullen, Fairfield Elementary School, has been an active participant in the Fairfield Elementary PTO for the last eight years. Erica has been a PTO officer serving as the Treasurer from 2013 to 2015, and President from 2015 to present. Erica’s dynamic personality, enthusiasm, and organizational skills get people involved and goals accomplished. With Erica’s guidance, the PTO has raised and given back more than $105,000 to the students, families, teachers, and staff at Fairfield Elementary School. Projects that the PTO has supported include $61,500 to update two playgrounds; $20,000 for student tablets; $13,000 for every homeroom teacher to spend up to $650 to support classroom needs; and, $1,500 towards field trips. The PTO also provides events for families to connect with one another, including Winter Wonderland, Family Movie Night, and Family Fun Night. Erica has broadened the impact of the PTO to reach beyond the elementary school and into the community, including setting up a Christmas “Giving Tree” to help families and collecting food for Ruth’s Harvest and the Fairfield Food Pantry. Despite working, having a husband and raising three daughters, Erica still looks beyond herself and family to give back to her community.
Lisa Wolkind, nominated by Betsy Meyer, founded and leads the Adams County Community Cats group, a group of volunteers who advocate for TNR (Trap Neuter Return) as a humane way to stabilize the feral cat population. They endeavor to create a more harmonious world for community cats. Her involvement began in 2014 with Bendersville Borough by helping them successfully TNR over 50 cats. She then moved on to help Carroll Valley, where over a 3-year span more than 200 cats were TNR’d. From there she moved to Fairfield and now has begun to work in Mt. Pleasant. Twice a year she organizes volunteer groups to clean out the shelters and make sure there is plenty of straw for the winter. She collects donations of food and delivers it to the caretakers. She organizes one large trapping a month. Lisa is also involved in finding foster homes, and eventually rescue homes, for cats who may be friendly enough to be re-homed, or those who are sick and require additional medical attention. She plans several fundraising events each year to help cover the costs of surgeries and supplies. TNR improves the lives of feral cats, controls the population and prevents local shelters from being over-crowded, and lowering euthanasia rates. Lisa is well on her way to reaching her goal of having a kitten-less Adams County.
Stay tuned to learn about the other 2019 With Heart In Hand recipients. Great things happen when we Live United. Give. Advocate. VOLUNTEER!