Assisting at events, mentoring at schools, funding local charities, they always seem to have a smile on their faces. Their giving goes on continuously, every day of the year, propelling positive growth in the areas of education, the arts, social services and government.
Focusing on volunteers, we highlight some special people, each of them helping in different ways, with a cumulative effect that is overwhelming. They all believe volunteerism is important to further the mission of an organization, and to make a difference in the community. They give back because they are blessed and they want to share those blessings. The group includes a couple who have made helping a family affair, a mother and daughter duo and several individuals, all supporting their special causes.
Laneta volunteers for the joy of helping others! Changing lives and influencing people fosters a sense of being and purpose. “As a child, it was instilled in me that it is, ‘More Blessed to Give than to Receive.’”
She reviews each organization’s goals to identify a need and to determine what she can offer. Laneta has provided leadership in a variety of nonprofit and social and civic organizations including; The Toledo Zoological Society; YWCA, Ohio Supreme Court, Client’s Security Fund, Vice Chair; The Toledo Chapter of The Links, Incorporated (past president); U.S.S. Selective Service; Fair Housing, 40th St. Vincent Women’s Advisory Committee; Sherman Elementary School and others.
The one project she is most proud of is Books 4 Buddies (B4B) founded in 2012 by Toure’ McCord, her grandson. Laneta is co-founder and president. B4B is a grassroots organization that encourages literacy and provides leisure reading material, free of charge, to disadvantaged youth, especially boys, in Northwest Ohio. It is led by a diverse group of 25 teenage ‘Ambassadors’ from area high schools. New and gently used books are collected and distributed to kids in underserved communities. Since its inception, more than 31,000 books have reached kids locally, and by collaborating with Rotary Club International, in Belize, Jamaica and Guatemala. B4B acts on the firm belief that education IS our global responsibility.
The Szuch’s embrace volunteerism because they feel that giving, whether in time or financially, lifts their spirit and makes this community a better place for your efforts.
As a couple, they support many of Toledo’s treasures – the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, the Toledo Zoo, the Toledo Symphony, the Toledo Museum of Art, and most recently the National Museum of the Great Lakes. They assist the good work of Little Sisters of the Poor, United Way, the Toledo Northwest Ohio Food Bank, CASA-Court Appointed Special Advocates, Toledo Day Nursery, their local parish, the Hungarian Club and Junior Achievement.
Valuing education their support of the University of Toledo and its Alumni Association, Lourdes University, and area high schools like St. John’s Jesuit and St. Ursula, is strong and consistent.
John is proud of his service as a Trustee of the University of Toledo and University of Toledo’s Real Estate Corporation, the Port Authority Board, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Toledo Symphony Board, and the St. Ursula and the St. John’s Jesuit Foundation Boards.
They have funded scholarships at several schools and are proud to assist the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library Foundation’s Early Literacy Campaign.
Yolanda serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ohioana Library Association (which connects readers to Ohio writers). In addition to being a screener and judge for the book awards,she chaired the reorganization of the Ohioana Awards process and is a founder of the University of Toledo’s Women & Philanthropy. She is most proud of writing The History of St. Stephen’s Church, collecting data about the history of the parish which will live on for decades.
Norene feels her volunteer efforts provide her with more than she gives. For the last thirty years she has helped Lourdes University (where she received her education), Mobile Meals, The Marathon LPGA Classic, the Flower Hospital (where medical professionals saved her life after a stroke) Auxiliary, Make-A-Wish, WGTE/Channel 30, and other organizations. She has helped over 30 organizations with funding, donated hundred of hours on committee projects and has served as chairman for many events.
Her motto is ‘there is a need for people in this world to be kind and nice to each other’. It is important to do things for others because it makes you feel good about yourself and that you are accomplishing something.
The Campbell’s volunteer because their faith tells them to take care of their neighbor. Believing that creed, they live it by, encouraging others to help where and how they can as it makes the world a better, gentler place. Giving is a lasting gift to their children and those who follow them.
Currently, they are involved with the St. Vincent DePaul Society, taking communion to those who are homebound. They help with activities at their church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Sometimes just being a listener to a person who needs to talk is a great assistance. Mary is an alumna and cherishes her involvement with Lourdes University, serving on the Associate Advisory Board for the Sisters of St. Francis. She works in the garden at the Toledo Botanical Gardens helping with the MVHS herb area. John is most proud that he has organized the building of 3 homes for Habitat for Humanity.
They find satisfaction in helping the poor and disadvantaged who do not have a strong voice in this world. They have been volunterring together since their marriage 53 years ago. It was a volunteer fund raiser that brought them together and the desire to give to others continues to be a strong part of their marriage.
It doesn’t take money to be a volunteer— it can be as little as giving a few hours at a soup kitchen or helping as a literacy coach. Without the cadre of people wanting to give, help, and make a difference our efforts will fall short. So take a moment to discover where your passion lies and volunteer today.
Karen has a long history as a volunteer, serving on numerous boards. She has been a volunteer for the YMCA for nearly 25 years, serving on the Board of Trustees and as their first female Board chair. As the University of Toledo changed her life, providing her with an education which lead to a successful career, she is very supportive of the Alumni Association and every year volunteers for Art on the Mall.
She was also involved in career-oriented organizations—The Press Club of Toledo and the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Public Relations Society, She spent 9 years on Mercy Health Partner’s Board of Trustees and 6 years on the Toledo Botanical Garden board. She currently works with the sponsors of 20 Under 40 which just celebrated its 20th Anniversary, bringing back previous recipients who shared their thoughts the program. With 500 people in attendance, it was a very successful evening which she was proud to be part of it.
Her belief is that you have to have an interest in the mission of the organization because volunteering requires your time and your treasure. The side benefits include working with other community leaders and learning from them by expanding your exposure. It is a perfect networking opportunity which she always recommends to young people. It rewarding to see young leaders succeeding in their careers by working hard to make the community a better place.
Judith and Susan, a mother/daughter duo, have been blessed financially and feel that each of us has a bit of time, a personal strength or talent, or a measure of monetary capacity, that can be shared with some group or organization.
Susan explains “Everyone has a passion in life, something that touches their hearts. Follow that passion. My very wise grandmother used to tell me, ‘The more you give, the more you get.’ She was not talking about financial matters. She was talking about the gifts of the heart. I take her words and try to live by them.”
Susan concentrates her efforts in three areas: the arts, animal welfare, and mental health— her passions. The project she is most proud of is the founding of the Hope and Recovery Pets (HARP) Fund at the Toledo Area Humane Society. HARP provides low income individuals who suffer chronic mental illness with an opportunity to have a pet. The fund covers the cost of the pet’s care, while the pet owner is monitored by mental health professionals and the TAHS.
Judith’s primary interest is education and she intertwines this passion with many local non-profit entities. At the Toledo Zoo she supports educating visitors about the health and welfare of animals, as well as conservation. With the Wood Lane Community in Wood County and Sunshine Communities in Lucas County, she champions for the developmentally handicapped—spreading the word about the amazing individuals whose lives can be enhanced by understanding, caring, and engagement.
At the Toledo School for the Arts, Susan is involved in their supporting policies and programs. She is honored to serve on the Leadership Council of the College of Education at B.G.S.U. She is particularly proud of being able to initiate collaborations; when two or more non-profits share their gifts and strengths for the good of the community, each of them become more meaningful.