Park and Recreation volunteer coordinator wins statewide honor

CHARLOTTE – Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department’s volunteer services coordinator recently received the Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service for 2010.
Lori Saylor was one of only 20 people in the state recognized with this honor. She will receive her award at the Governor’s Mansion on Nov. 16.

“With so many deserving volunteers in competition for this award, the process for selecting the top 20 volunteers in the state was challenging,” Faye Stone of the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service said in a news release.

Selection was based on the nominee’s volunteer efforts, accomplishments and impact in the community, and reflects a meaningful commitment of time and service.

Saylor began the Park and Recreation volunteer effort in 2004 with just 100 residents willing to pick up trash in local parks. The volunteer program has grown to more than 16,000 people doing work ranging from planting flowers to serving at special Park and Rec events to being recreation center ambassadors. The volunteer work is meant to supplement the efforts of full-time Park and Recreation employees.

“With the significant budget and staff reductions Park and Recreation is facing this year, our volunteers are more important than ever,” Park and Recreation Director Jim Garges, said in the release. “Lori has brought our volunteer program to a level that is the envy of other park and recreation organizations around the country.”

Volunteers spent 100,000 hours doing county projects last year. That time is valued at more than $2 million, according to the Points of Light Foundation. The newest programs are:

• Rec Buddies: Support Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department staff in providing recreation and leisure services to the community, including after school programs, grounds maintenance and special events.

• Park Partners: Support staff with the implementation of a broad range of beautification and maintenance projects in parks and greenways.

• Park Ambassadors: Volunteers in this position act as a department’s ambassador to the patrons in the parks and on greenways.

For more information on Park and Recreation’s volunteer opportunities, visit www.charmeck.org/mecklenburg/county/ParkandRec.

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