CHD Celebrates 40 Years: "Good People, Good Work, Great Volunteers"
Honoring today’s volunteers and recalling our committed founders, the Center for Human Development (CHD) kicked off the celebration of its 40th anniversary year with a dinner event in November at the Storrowton Carriage House in West Springfield.
In keeping with the slogan, “Good people good work,” the successes of the many programs under the CHD banner were also highlighted.
“CHD’s founders established the principles of serving the needs of clients, valuing staff, and creating a participatory system of management,” said President and CEO Jim Goodwin. “These principles form the foundation of the organization today, and we will continue to build on them well into the future.”
Three recipients were honored with the annual Rick Moriarty Volunteer of the Year Award:
Doris Chrzanowski of Agawam was recognized for her work with CHD’s Disability Resources program. For the past seven years, Doris has coached various wheelchair sports and has participated in various fundraisers and activities.
Nancy Evans from Springfield is involved with CHD’s A New Leaf Flower Shop and helps produce woven and knitted items that are sold at the shop, where she has given her time for the past five years.
Jan Morin of Westfield has volunteered at CHD’s Cancer House of Hope for nearly 15 years. She has served as a volunteer coordinator and for many years organized the Annual Jewelry Sale, which has earned nearly $10,000 for the Cancer House of Hope.
Bob Fazzi of Fazzi Associates and Bill Seretta of American International College, two organization founders, spoke of the many challenges and victories involved in developing CHD. The original name of the organization was the Center for Study of Institutional Alternatives, and its original mission was to support educational opportunities for juvenile offenders.
Today CHD provides a wide array of services in nearly 70 different programs that affect the youngest members of our communities to the oldest. Even with all the growth, however, CHD has remained dedicated to its first goal of providing educational opportunities for juvenile offenders along with the many new services added over the years.
Just ask Rachel Condry from CHD’s Not Bread Alone meal program in Amherst. “Volunteers are the sole reason Not Bread Alone produces three weekly meals,” Rachel said. “Between organizing the dining area and all the work they do in the kitchen, these helpers are essential to the program. I really appreciate our volunteers because without them we wouldn’t be able to feed the hundreds of people we do every month.”
Cheryl Gorski describes volunteers as a critical component at CHD’s Cancer House of Hope (CHH) in Springfield and Westfield. “A volunteer is very often the first person a potential new CHH member meets,” Cheryl said. “So their role is crucial to providing effective services to everyone who comes through our doors.”
According to the Independent Sector, a network for nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs, the estimated value of volunteer time is $21.79 per hour on average across the U.S. In Massachusetts, the number is slightly higher, at $26.84. This means that CHD’s 300 volunteers save roughly $268,400 a year.
That number only tells part of the story, though, as volunteers save more than an hourly wage. They also contribute resources and supplies. “We have one volunteer who takes care of our recycling and laundry, which is time, detergent, and gas money that we don’t have to reimburse,” said Rachel.
According to the three winners of the 2011 CHD Volunteer of the Year award, what motivates a person to volunteer is as varied as the types of opportunities to help. Jan Morin first contacted the CHH 15 years ago when her father was diagnosed with cancer. “It gave me an opportunity to help others. I met a lot of people who got better, and we shed tears for those who we lost,” said Jan. Nancy Evans got involved with CHD’s A New Leaf flower and gift shop because it was looking for someone who could weave. “I’m not the best weaver in the world, but I was able to help out and teach others how to weave,” said Nancy. “I was brought up to help out, so it was a natural thing for me,” said Doris Chrzanowski, who helps with many of the sports activities in CHD’s Disability Resources program.
These volunteers encourage other community members to get involved. “Try it a couple times; if it doesn’t work, try something else. There’s something out there for everyone,” said Nancy. Doris added, “Find something that you’re passionate about. “
Cheryl offered this advice to potential volunteers, “Make sure the program, volunteer responsibilities, and expectations are a good fit for you and vice versa. Set realistic goals for yourself in terms of the time you have each week or each month to dedicate to volunteering.”
Rachel said, “There is no harm in potential volunteers asking where help is needed and responding accordingly. Ask, ask, ask! Just call the program, and see where they can use help.”
Board Profile: Theresa Przybylowicz
Theresa Przybylowicz believes in giving back.
“I love people, and I enjoy helping people,” she says. “I have been very blessed with health, employment, and a wonderful family.”
So, Terry, as she’s known to friends, gives to CHD and to other community organizations as a way of saying thanks for her good fortune.
She became involved with CHD through its merger with the former Hawthorn Services nearly two years ago. Now known as CHD’s Hawthorn Elder Care, the program serves the frail elder population in the Springfield area. Terry served on Hawthorn’s Board of Directors for nearly 12 years before its 2010 merger with CHD.
A Professor of Nursing at Springfield Technical Community College, Terry teaches students in the skills lab, in the classroom, and in the clinical area. Terry is in her second year as a board member with CHD and said she’s still learning about the organization’s involvement in the community. “I’m amazed at how large it is and how many people it serves,” she said. “What I like best about CHD is that it reaches out to children, adolescents, adults, and now seniors.”
In addition to her work with the CHD board, Terry is an advisory board member for Belchertown High School, a union representative at work, and a foster case reviewer for the Department of Social Services.
Terry also enjoys gardening and quilting, but her top priority is her family. Her daughter will soon earn an associate’s degree in nursing and will continue her education at the University of Massachusetts in June. Terry describes her as “the most important part of my life.”
Terry’s mother is “84 years young” and regularly leads a gentle exercise group at the Chicopee Senior Center. Terry has three sisters and two brothers.
“Whenever we need each other, we are all there,” Terry said. “I guess that is the reason I connect with CHD. It is like a family.”
National Endowment for the Arts Award Expands Elder Program's Reach
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded CHD’s Hawthorn Elder Care program a $10,000 grant to fund performances of “Talking with Dolores,” a one-act play that takes a serious look at depression and suicide among the elderly.
The December 2011 award is part of the NEA’s Challenge America Fast-Track program, which supports extending the arts to underserved audiences. The funding targets elder Latino audiences in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. CHD is one of only 162 organizations nationwide to receive this award.
The grant allows CHD to take the successful play to a larger audience, expanding its influence. “Talking with Dolores” tells the story of Mo, an 85-year-old widower, who considers his life while talking to the portrait of his late wife. At the end of the performance, the audience is engaged in thoughtful discussion
Dee O’Connor, a public policy consultant on aging and long-term care, wrote the one-act play to bring attention to elder isolation, depression, and suicide. “We’re thrilled about the grant award because we will be able to reach more people with an important message,“ said Jim Callahan, vice president of Hawthorn Elder Care. “The play tackles serious issues, but it does so in a creative way. It’s an effective way to get the community at large to talk about issues that are oftentimes uncomfortable to discuss.”
An earlier grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health provided funds for taping a performance at WGBY, the public broadcasting station in Springfield. The play is available on DVD for councils on aging, visiting nurse associations, and other groups that work with elders. To order your “Talking with Dolores” DVD, call (413) 439-2165.