Each year, thousands of volunteers contribute their time to help others. They volunteer in hospitals, schools, museums and nursing homes.

Many work day after day and month after month with no recognition for their efforts. Their deeds often go unnoticed, except by those who are directly affected by their work.

Do you know an outstanding volunteer, someone who is making a difference in our neighborhoods? Now is the time for you to recognize these extraordinary people. The Volunteer Center is accepting nominations for its 12th annual volunteer recognition event. The deadline for submitting nominations is Jan. 31.

Awards are given in the categories of Adult and Youth Individual, Large and Small Business, Adult and Youth Group, Volunteer Coordinator, Disabled Volunteer and Education Volunteer.

For the first time, an individual or group will be presented with the Lifetime Service Award. Volunteers who have shown dedication to the community for at least 10 years are eligible.

Winners are selected by a panel of community leaders and will be announced at the awards banquet April 20 at noon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The luncheon is open to the public. Tickets are $35.

Many area organizations use the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Awards luncheon as an opportunity to recognize their dedicated volunteers. Last year, more than 200 individuals and groups were nominated for the awards. Each one was recognized at the event.

“For many of the volunteers in attendance at the luncheon, it is an honor just to be nominated for the award,” says Julie Thomas, executive director of the Volunteer Center.

“People don’t volunteer to win these awards, but it sure is touching to see them recognized for their outstanding efforts.”

Last year’s winners included the Lake Highlands High School Girls’ Service League. This 300-member volunteer organization raised $20,000 and constructed a home for a family through Dallas Habitat for Humanity. They also contributed hundreds of hours for organizations such as Ronald McDonald House, Lake Highlands Community Project and the Dare to Dream Foundation.

“It was a tremendous effort by high school students to raise the funds and do the actual construction,” says Wink Dickey, executive director of Dallas Habitat for Humanity.

“The quality of their work and the quantity of volunteers was unbelievable.”

More than 25 percent of Associates Corporation’s local employees participated in company-sponsored volunteer activities in 1992. Ninety percent participated in mass projects such as toy or food drives and the United Way campaign. For their efforts, the Associates was recognized as a 1993 winner in the Large Business category.

Your co-worker, family member, company or civic organization could be honored as the 1994 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year, but only if you nominate them. Nomination forms are available at the Volunteer Center and may be obtained by calling 826-6767, ext. 242.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Volunteer Center is a United Way agency that serves as a clearinghouse to recruit and refer volunteers for more than 750 agencies in Dallas. Thousands of volunteer positions are waiting to be filled. Call the Volunteer Center at 826-6767 for more information about these and other volunteer opportunities.

HELP STUDENTS READ: Volunteers are needed for the HOSTS tutoring program in 19 DISD schools. Each volunteer is matched with a student who is below his or her grade level. The mentor and student meet for one hour once a week during the school day to work on reading. Training is provided.

HELP THE ELDERLY: Volunteers can serve as benefits counselors and advocates for senior citizens, providing them with information about health insurance, income maintenance, community-based services and protective measures. Training is provided by the Visiting Nurses Association ElderCare program.