BREVARD COUNTY — Volunteering for a cause you believe in shows an altruistic spirit not many carry. There are those that work tirelessly for a cause because they believe in making a change in the world, no matter how big of an impact.
In an effort to recognize these silent heroes, P.E.A.C.E.C.O.R.E. Inc. and La Bella Spa hosted an event on March 28 to honor the dedication of volunteers from 10 charities from around Brevard County.
The “2019 b The Change Awards” took place at La Bella Spa in Merritt Island, and volunteers mingled among themselves in a high-spirited atmosphere.
“I think it began with a heartfelt desire to do something different than mainly a fundraiser, but something that actually honors people in our community who deserve to be honored and to be recognized,” said Joe Mandato, owner of La Bella Spa.
Mary Brotherton, founder of P.E.A.C.E.C.O.R.E. Inc., added, “We asked charities to tell us what their volunteer did that went above and beyond other volunteers. It had to be unique and something this person does that nobody else in their group does.”
Charitable organizations from around the county were encouraged to nominate a volunteer it felt deserved to be honored, and nominations were open for one international volunteer category.
Winners from each category took home a gift basket worth more than $2,000 in prizes.
Recipients of the “2019 b the Change Awards” were Dean Worden, Canaveral Port Ministry; Robin Curry, Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbred; Ja’maal Eveillard, MotivateMe The Movement; Shawn Bath, Clean Harbours Initiative; Lou Ann Hawes, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren of Brevard County; Louise McLean, Brevard’s Children in Need; Robert Ford, Air Force Security Forces Association Space Coast Chapter; Virginia Hamilton, Canine Commandos, Inc.; Don Winn, The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project; and Kathy Shaffer, Serene Harbor.
Canaveral Port Ministry Development Director Carolyn Bowers said of her nominee, Dean Worden, “We have about a hundred volunteers on a regular basis and they asked for one that went above and beyond, and Dean consistently does that. He’s just amazing and has a good attitude.”
Kathy Shaffer, a volunteer of Serene Harbor since 2007, said she couldn’t believe Beverly DeMeyer nominated her.
“I was trained for the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, that’s the state certification where I could answer the hotlines for [Serene Harbor],” Mrs. Shaffer said.
Her daughter, Wendy, added, “She also transports victims to the women’s shelter, and she volunteers every Wednesday night for Palm Bay Police Department for domestic violence calls, and to help those victims as soon as an instance happens. In the middle of the night she’ll get a page at 3 a.m. and she’ll jump out of bed, go meet with them, let them know all of their services and transport them to the shelter to get them out of that situation.”
All of these volunteers have a little bit of something that makes them special, and during this event smiles were shared all around.
Next year, Mrs. Brotherton said she hopes to make the “b The Change Awards” bigger and better, perhaps even over a three-day period.
P.E.A.C.E.C.O.R.E. Inc. is a nonprofit which aims to inspire others to make a difference in the world through philanthropy, education, action, compassion, evolution, charity, optimism, responsibility and enthusiasm.
bUneke Magazine was created as a tool to share the stories of people around the world who embody these elements surrounding P.E.A.C.E.C.O.R.E.’s philanthropy, and writers from all over the world contribute to monthly issues that are free online.
“A lot of our writers are columnists and they write about their particular passion, whether its veganism or sustainability or anti-single use plastic,” Mrs. Brotherton said.
Through these acts of dedication and support, it’s no small feat what these volunteers do. It just takes one person to be the change that can make tomorrow a better world.
For more information, visit www.buneke.org.