The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania recently held its fifth Fred Rogers Good Neighbor Awards to celebrate corporate partners and individuals who have made an outstanding commitment to helping those in need through volunteerism. This year, United Way recognized individuals who have made a strong commitment to some of United Way’s signature volunteer opportunities.
Dolores Jurges, 90, of Etna was honored for her nearly 20 years of volunteer work through United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior initiative, which helps local seniors live healthy and safe in their homes with dignity. Dolores serves lunches three times each week at Etna Senior Center, which is operated by Northern Area Multi Service Center, and also serves as the president of the center’s advisory board. Through her volunteer work, Dolores has served more than 78,000 lunches to about 1,400 individuals. She was given a rousing standing ovation upon receiving her award at the event.
Other individual awardees were Art Blackwell of Duquesne, who volunteers with United Way’s Be a Middle School Mentor, and Barbara Campbell of Edgewood, who lends her time to United Way’s Free Tax Prep program.
At the awards ceremony, two young adults who are making a difference in the community were also honored: Annie Yonas and Griffin Burke were each recipients of the “I Do What I Can” award. Annie and Griffin work with United Way to make quilts for hundreds of homeless families.
Volunteerism is at the heart of United Way’s work. The awarded companies and their employees have devoted countless hours, resources and efforts to help local seniors stay safe in their homes; mentor children, provide resources to improve literacy, and help develop healthy habits and inspire hope for the future; help financially struggling families make ends meet; and improve community spaces.
In total, nine companies received awards at the event: Grant Thornton, Ernst & Young, Uber, PPG, PNC, First National Bank, Highmark Health Caring Corps, University of Pittsburgh and UPMC.
To volunteer for United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior program, visit uwswpa.org/open-your-heart-to-a-senior or call 2-1-1. To connect an older adult to a volunteer, dial 2-1-1 and ask for volunteer help through United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior program.