South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

South Pittsburgh volunteers honored at annual NAP recognition dinner


December 1, 2003

Eleven outstanding volunteers were honored last week at the South Side Volunteer Recognition Dinner.

At the dinner, the volunteers were recognized for their exceptional commitment to the South Side community. Each volunteer received an appreciation award and an official proclamation issued by the Allegheny County Council. County Council representatives Rich Fitzgerald and Brenda Frazier handed out the proclamations, which recognized the volunteers' contribution to the community.

“The Volunteer Recognition Dinner is my favorite event. It is an opportunity to express our gratitude to some very special people in an elegant yet comfortable setting. It is also a time to tell the stories of why the winners are being honored,” says PNC Bank's Cathy Niederberger, who was the emcee for the evening.

“This year, as always, our winners were a diverse lot; they included some life-long South Siders, some transplants from Mount Lebanon who have embraced the community, a mother of four who has been blind since childhood, the young and the less young.”

Together, these 11 individuals have made a lasting impact on the South Side and its quality of life. They volunteer at local food pantries, lead educational and historic tours, help plan special events, participate in neighborhood clean ups, mentor the visually impaired, and serve on non-profit boards of directors, tenants councils, and volunteer committees. They are South Side's community champions.

Held on November 25 at One PNC Plaza, this fifth annual recognition dinner is part of South Side's Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP), a partnership between South Side Local Development Company, PNC Bank, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

The volunteers recognized at the dinner were:

Beverly Bagosi. As a founding member of the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association and current president of the organization, Bev was nominated for the Volunteer Recognition Award in the Leadership Development program area.

In nominating Bev, Joe Balaban from the SSSNA highlighted some of the work she has done with the with the organization. Just a few of the things she has volunteered here time included:

Appling for and winning a $20,000 state grant for safety lighting of pedestrian bridges; Co-chaired the Pittsburgh StepTrek for two years; Called for and led planting and weeding of the association's four neighborhood gardens; and, distributed information, availed herself as a neighborhood collection site and volunteered at Heinz Field for a countywide day of recycling items from paints to batteries.

“Bev has great character and ethics, and best demonstrates the work, commitment and pride Slopes residents have in their neighborhood,” her nomination reads.

Cyril Esser. Cyril was nominated for Leadership Development by the Brashear Association for his “extraordinary work over many years in community beautification…(he) has taken responsibility for community gardens which have helped to create a more colorful and attractive community.”

The nomination noted that when Cyril's (formal) involvement ends with an organization, his volunteerism continues. “It doesn't seem that there is ever a time when Cyril isn't involved in some way to make South Side a better place.”

Karen Good. Through the Elder Outreach Volunteer Program (part of the Hill Top Health Ministries Consortium (HTHMC)) Karen has provided marvelous support and encouragement to numerous elderly clients who have limited vision or are blind, consortium officials noted in nominating her for the volunteer award.

Earning the award in the areas of Human Service and Leadership Development, it was noted that this year Karen started a Low Vision Support Group for those in the community to discuss life issues and provide resources and support.

To understand Karen's contribution, you need to know that she has been totally blind since early childhood. She has raised four children and is totally independent, traveling with her cane on foot or by bus or Access, HTHMC explained.

Rosemary Grogan. For the past three years Rosemary has organized, scheduled and presented “South Side: Back Then & Now.” She is also a tutor at St. Gabriels School and is treasurer of the St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Gabriel Conference, earning her a nomination in the area of Education.

“Rosemary taught for many years at Phillips Elementary School on Sarah Street. Her commitments to her students and to the South Side was legendary among the two-plus generations of those who were in her classes. Upon her retirement, Rosemary offered to maintain her connection to the South Side by volunteering with (Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation) and supervision the “South Side:Back Then & Now” program,” the nomination emphasizes.

Bob and Betty Kripp. The Kripp's, transplanted Mount Lebanon residents now living on the South Side Slopes, became involved in their new community almost immediately. Betty serves on the SSSNA Board of Directors, welcomes new residents to the neighborhood on behalf of the organization and sits on the SSLDC's Historic South Side House Tour Committee.

Bob has contributed graphic design services to the SSLDC and the SSSNA, has participated in neighborhood clean up efforts and volunteered for the StepTrek and the house tour.

In nominating the Kripps for the award in the area of Leadership Development, it was noted, “They are dependable, committed and passionate about the South Side. This neighborhood is truly fortunate to have Bob and Betty Kripp as neighbors.”

Dave Matesic. Nominated for his volunteer work in the Housing and Human Service program areas by the Emmaus Community, where Dave has helped them raise more than $90,000 in the past three years to support housing for persons with mental retardation.

Dave has continuously supported various organizations throughout the South Side in addition to Emmaus. His commitment has made others come forward to support the “marginal, forgotten population” served by the organization.

Tracy Meyers. A member of the SSLDC's Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Tracy also chairs the SSLDC's Public Space Improvement Committee and sits on the organization's Design Committee and the Hays Task Force. She also served on the 2003 South Side Summer Street Spectacular Committee and planned its Kick-off Parade. Additionally, she volunteers for South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association events.

Tracy, a new homeowner on the South Side Slopes, has only lived in the South Side area for a few years but has embraced the area in that short time. Her nomination points out that when she is not serving as curator at the Heinz Architectural Center of the Carnegie Museum of Art, she volunteers her time to causes that are important to her, including the betterment of the South Side neighborhood.

Florence “Flo” Pfoertner. Flo has worked tirelessly for the Elder Outreach Volunteer Program, part of the Hill Top Health Ministries Consortium, since its beginning 2½ years ago by providing transportation for medical appointments, pharmacy trips, shopping and by doing laundry for elderly clients.

In nominating her in the Human Service program area, officials at the Hilltop Health Ministries Consortium note that Flo volunteers an average of 27 hours each month. But the real measure of her contribution, they say, is not in the number of hours she gives, but in seen in the lives of the elderly clients she helps. All of the clients she has assisted tell stories of how she has uplifted their spirits, eased the isolation, provided independence for them and shown them caring and acceptance.

Dorothy Tripoli. When recognized at the volunteer recognition dinner, Dorothy told those attending she served 45 clients at the Brashear Food Pantry that morning (30 more than normal) and didn't know why she was being honored for helping out.

In her nomination, Brashear staff explained, people often volunteer at Brashear because of parental involvement with the agency. Dorothy reverses that model. She came to Brashear because her son, Tom Tripoli, is an active volunteer.

The staff pointed out that she serves as a powerful role model because of her impressive vitality. Well over 80, she is unfailingly dependable, remarkably fit and a genuine tribute to the rejuvenating power of community involvement.

Dolores Walls. President of the Arlington Heights Tenants Council, Dolores volunteers her time to schedule and convene meetings, staff the council office and serve as a liaison to the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh.

Juggling her employment and her duties as president of the tenants' council, Dolores also finds time for her commitment to her church and other organizations. She has been willing to step in when leadership was needed to secure services in the community and provide guidance and support to the residents.

Most recently, she facilitated Brashear's reestablishment of an office to provide agency services to residents of Arlington Heights in a more convenient and intensive manner.

The volunteers, nominated by a host of community organizations, were selected from a field of candidates by a review committee.

South Side Local Development Company (SSLDC) is a Community Development Corporation whose primary activities have resulted in the historic preservation and economic revitalization of Pittsburgh's South Side.

In 1997, SSLDC and its corporate partner (PNC Bank) qualified to participate in the Neighborhood Assistance Program/Comprehensive Services Program (NAP/CSP). As SSLDC's corporate partner, PNC Bank made a 10-year commitment totaling $2.5 million for an array of programming in exchange for the tax credits.

Since July 1997, SSLDC has worked with PNC Bank and two partnering organizations (The Brashear Association and Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation) to provide comprehensive services to the South Side community and the Arlington Heights and St. Clair Village housing projects. Program areas include housing, education, health and social services, community development, job training, crime prevention and community participation.


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