On Monday, April 18th, CitySquare held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Day event at the CitySquare Opportunity Center on Malcolm X Blvd. CitySquare relies heavily on individuals, organizations and businesses to fulfill its volunteer needs for numerous programs designed to lift neighbors out of poverty and to alter the trajectory of lives in distress.
“Everyone can be a poverty fighter, and our loyal volunteers are some of the best,” said CitySquare President and CEO John Siburt. “They help provide necessities and ease the stress and uncertainty for people living in poverty. We are incredibly grateful for our volunteers, the talents they bring, and their generosity of time and spirit.”
CitySquare is built on four pillars: Hunger, Health, Housing and Hope and has programs that support all four. Volunteers are essential in their success. The following were honored for their dedication and loyalty to CitySquare's mission and work:
Housing: National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) Greater Dallas
These ladies have been laser-focused on helping those in need. Caring, efficient, diligent, resourceful, and generous are just a few words that come to mind. Moving into a new home is exciting and stressful all in one particularly for the youth that CitySquare helps. Most have never lived on their own. NCJW helps provide a “first home” kit to make sure they have what they need. From a laundry basket to a broom and everything in between, CitySquare’s youth are more prepared and supported thanks to these phenomenal women.
Hunger: Lewise Crockett
Longtime volunteer, Lewise Crockett always comes to CitySquare with a smile, and almost always brings friends to help out and to learn about CitySquare. She has a kind word for everyone she meets. Lewise is constantly thinking about ways to improve CitySquare’s food pantry, paying attention to the smallest details. She is always willing to pitch in and help, and never fails to treat neighbors with dignity and respect. Lewise is an important and appreciated addition to the CitySquare family.
Health: Park Cities Young Men’s Service League (YMSL)
After the intense weather and a global pandemic, the community garden at the CitySquare Community Clinic was in need of assistance. Park Cities YMSL along with some incredible Eagle Scouts made it their mission to put in the time, work, energy, love, commitment, and money it took to get it back up and growing. They even included CitySquare neighbors by offering sandwiches and drinks during the work process and engaging with them about the purpose of the garden.
Hope: Highland Park Highschool CitySquare Club
Kennedy Foy and Lawler Carpenter are two young ladies who have taken their passion for serving others and made it fun and cool for their peers to join in. From cleaning out dusty and dirty storage units to creating Easter, Valentine’s, and Christmas goodies for CitySquare neighbors, the two have created and led the HPHS CS Club and engaged students who might not have otherwise known about CitySquare’s mission and neighbors. The Club has been a great asset and vehicle for introducing young people to CitySquare.
Advocacy: TC Alexander
The Advocacy award honors one of CitySquare’s incredible board members and recognizes continued commitment to CitySquare and the community. This year’s award went to a newer board member. Being new, has not prevented TC Alexander in extending his time and skills. From serving on CitySquare’s finance committee to volunteering in the food pantry, he has already invested many hours to CitySquare’s poverty fighting mission. Additionally, TC works for Bank of America that has been a community partner for many years through philanthropy and volunteerism.
Service: Frito-Lay Women’s Inclusion Network
The CitySquare Service award honors an individual or group with a genuine heart for serving neighbors.
During the pandemic, the service and hospitality industry took a real hit and the workforce struggled. CitySquare has had to rethink and find creative ways to help people find jobs and new opportunities. PepsiCo stepped up. In partnership with PepsiCo and Dallas Community Colleges, new pathways for employment and opportunities for our neighbors in Dallas were created to change their career trajectories. PepsiCo-Frito-Lay never does anything halfway. In addition to helping CitySquare create the Women's Workforce Readiness Initiative, a new program for women reentering the workforce, PepsiCo wanted to provide additional support through volunteerism and mentorship. CitySquare had the honor to get to know and work with a special group of women at PepsiCo who are passionate about making a difference. Hours went into designing and implementing a brand new mentorship program. CitySquare is celebrating matching 37 mentors with 37 mentees in the first cohort. Even more so, lasting friendships were created through this mentorship program. CitySquare proudly honored the Frito-Lay Inclusion Network for this amazing effort
Friendship: Dallas Stars Foundation
The CitySquare Friendship Award is dedicated to honor a community partner. This year’s honoree has been a longtime partner in the fight against poverty. In addition to supporting CitySquare’s work through volunteering, the Dallas Stars Foundation always finds other ways to spread awareness about CitySquare’s work through their network, encouraging others to donate and volunteer. They can always be relied upon to show up and help whenever and with whatever is needed. The Dallas Stars Foundation is a beloved and trusted group of volunteers for CitySquare’s annual Turkey giveaway, bringing with them lots of energy and smiles.
Rising Star: Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet
These amazing young men and ladies have become a big part of CitySquare’s daily function in the food pantry. For the past 2 years, JBS Law Magnet students have endured the heat, freezing cold, the pouring rain, and the pandemic to make sure all neighbors have been served. They have been a driving force behind CitySquare’s pantry staying open during these hard times, and helping to see that the pantry has been fully stocked. These students chose CitySquare when they saw the opportunity to complete an unpaid internship by giving back to the community.
President’s Award : Patty Raggio
Patty is amazing. She is a volunteer who can be trusted to do special roles that require more training or where it’s essential that a volunteer is a good fit. Patty always comes to CitySquare with a smile on her face. She loves all of CitySquare’s neighbors, and it is most apparent when she is in the food pantry. CitySquare partners her with new volunteers because she doesn’t just show them the volunteer role, she exemplifies the CitySquare way and how everyone is treated when they come to the CitySquare campus. Patty doesn’t stop working when she’s away from the Food Pantry. She has engaged her church, First Unitarian of Dallas, to become involved at CitySquare, as well. For the past two years they have donated thousands of boxes of stuffing for the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway, and continue to donate grocery bags for our daily pantry distributions. Following the pandemic and once volunteer opportunities re-opened fully, Patty was one of the first people to bring friends back to volunteer with her. She is a great asset and a true friend.
To learn more about CitySquare, go to: www.citysquare.org