The Community Fund of Darien has shared a list of their ‘Unsung heroes’ volunteer appreciation volunteers for 2020. The Darien Times will share their individual profiles. Here is the first group of volunteer profiles in the outstanding adult volunteer (age 19 to 64 years).

Read the full list here.

Julie Best, Tokeneke PTO

Julie Best has three children who have gone through the Tokeneke Elementary School system, with her youngest one graduating this year. Throughout these years she has proven to be a devoted, willing and committed volunteer to the school community and PTO board. She has served numerous positions that include: co-chairman of the PTO Board, vice-chairman of the PTO Board, nominating chairman and Pumpkin Carnival co-chairman.

For the past two years Julie has served as co-chairman of the Council of Darien School Parents (CDSP) and will continue co-chairing the CDSP for 2020-21 school year. In her role as PTO co-chairman, which she held from 2016-2017, she led a board of seven parent volunteers to steer the organization along with Principal Mary Michelson. She led numerous committees to ensure fundraising events and community events ran smoothly, oversaw the budget and worked closely with the principal and Tokeneke staff to continue to enrich the education of the children. She vice-chaired the same board from 2015-2016.

Before then, she organized the entire board slate and co-chaired Tokeneke’s annual Pumpkin Carnival fair in 2013 and 2014, the largest fundraising effort at Tokeneke, which takes diligent coordination and strong communication. In all of Julie’s volunteer positions, she has led with a clear vision and calm demeanor with the ability to work easily with all volunteers. Principal Mary Michelson states, “Julie is an authentic, caring person who was and still is able to work with all different individuals to best build our Tokeneke community for the children. She does so with a big smile on her face.” Tokeneke is forever grateful for Julie’s time and efforts for the good of our children

Cathy Butcher, Building One Community

Cathy Butcher is one of Building One Community’s most dedicated legal volunteers, having volunteered over 800 hours since November of 2017. Cathy is always willing to do whatever task is asked of her, no matter how small or big, from making photocopies to holding bilingual legal consultations for complex immigration cases.

Cathy is able to connect with B1C’s diverse community by demonstrating compassion with her kindness, inspiring confidence in her legal clients and using her Spanish skills to ensure people feel like they are in a supportive and safe environment. Her volunteering has helped provide the much needed service of providing low cost and high quality legal counsel to immigrants in Stamford and surrounding areas. Even in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cathy continues to hold online legal consultations with her clients and even recently came in to B1C while observing all social distancing protocols, along with wearing gloves and a face mask, to ensure one of her legal clients did not miss an important legal deadline.

She constantly goes above and beyond what is expected of a volunteer, even in these difficult times. Cathy is a pleasure to have as a volunteer and Building One Community is honored to nominate her as outstanding adult volunteer.

Sean Calvillo, The Darien Foundation

Sean Calvillo has completely revamped, upgraded, and streamlined our technology, accounting, and operational systems. Despite working at an intense day job, Sean has shown immense dedication and generosity by volunteering 10-15 hours a week plus many weekends. With meticulous attention to detail, Sean seamlessly updated our accounting system, improving our workflow and making the process smoother for our grant recipients.

Sean crafted proprietary solutions for online fundraising so that The Darien Foundation no longer has to pay a third-party platform, and moved all of our folders to a cloud-based system that allows our Executive Director and our volunteers to work remotely. This proved incredibly prescient and invaluable during the Covid19 crisis, when The Darien Foundation was able to make payments, fast-track an emergency relief grant, and operate at an enhanced pace, all while sheltering-in-place. Last Memorial Day, Sean moved our website to a much more cost-effective hosting solution and set up all new Darien Foundation email accounts but still made it to the beach with his family.

As chairman of the Darien Foundation’s technology committee, Sean has been instrumental in the evaluation and implementation of several recent grants to the Darien Police Department, Person-to-Person, STAR Inc, and TV79. He maintains a humble, positive, solution-oriented demeanor and manages to share his great sense of humor. Whether at a laser demo in the police firing range or at a meeting at the Darien Nature Center, Sean’s passion and dedication benefit not only The Darien Foundation but also the community of Darien.