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Honoring the ‘Star’ volunteers of the Valley

During a packed outdoor event at Hanna Boys Center on Oct. 10, the Sonoma Valley Fund recognized dozens of volunteers for their contributions to local charities. Attendees were welcomed by Fund President Simon Blattner and saluted by 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin in an event live-streamed by SonomaTV.

The honorees included:

10,000 Degrees - Marty Stein

As a member of 10,000 Degrees Sonoma Advisory Board, Marty Stein, together with his wife Marlene, is a dedicated champion for students from low-income backgrounds who aspire to go to college.

10,000 Degrees - Steve Page

As a key member of 10,000 Degrees’ Sonoma County Advisory Board with deep connections in Sonoma Valley, Steve Page works tirelessly to help raise funds and support Sonoma Valley students from low-income backgrounds.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley - Selma Blanusa

Chair of the Investment Committee since 2016, Selma Blanusa generously donates her time and talents to protect and develop the endowment.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley / Teen Services - Joelle Smith

Ready to Work helps local teens with the hard and soft skills they need to secure employment, and just before the end of the program, Joelle Smith graciously lends her experience and talent to help teens find the perfect clothing to pair with their newly polished resumes.

CarePartners Initiative - Bill O'Neal

This award is in recognition of Bill O’Neal's dedication to the goals of CarePartners Initiative, compassion for families living with memory loss, and for his marketing expertise that created an excellent website and effective communications materials.

Food For All / Comida Para Todos - Katherine Fonseca

Katherine Fonseca is a recent Sonoma Valley High School graduate who showed up one day at a food distribution site and asked if she could help and just kept coming back.

Friends in Sonoma Helping (FISH) - Ligia Booker

When FISH was in need of a Spanish speaker, Ligia Booker became a full-time volunteer, contacting applicants, interpreting paperwork, receiving hundreds of documents texted to her personal phone, while providing comfort and assurance to those in crisis.

Friends in Sonoma Helping (FISH) - Sherry Michael

Sherry Michael heads the rental assistance program that has received applications from over 1,000 Valley residents, responding to each request, tracking paperwork, setting up spreadsheets, calling landlords, writing checks, and assuring anxious applicants that FISH was there to help.

Friends of the Sonoma Valley Library - Susan Shinomoto

Susan Shinomoto revamped the accounting system online, with readouts understandable to lay folks, including demystifying the Friends’ liability insurance.

Homeless Action Sonoma - Shayla Finato

Shayla Finato is remarkable because a year ago she was homeless and now she serves as a spokesperson for this growing organization, and does more volunteer work than anyone else.

Impact100 Sonoma - Sarah Carroll

Besides serving on grant review committees, Sarah Carroll has been serving on the board of directors as co-membership chair, has filled in for the board member heading up the NextGen program, and has been a key member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.

Jack London State Historic Park - JoAnn Augustine

JoAnn Augustine has volunteered for nine years with 2,700 lifetime hours, and as many as 500 hours in some years, conducting tours, as a docent in the cottage and the museum bookshop, as an attendant in the entry kiosk and assisting with special events.

Kid Scoop News - Elena Toscano

As a retired Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Elena Toscano provides expert guidance in the development of curriculum-aligned content that uses best practices in awakening the magic of reading in children.

KSVY SonomaTV - Pat Carlin

Pat has been volunteering at KSVY since 2013, not only as a prolific radio host, but he has been more than willing to jump in to help out at events and side projects.

La Luz Center - Elisa Huerta

With the volunteer work of Elisa Huerta, an active parent participant at the El Verano Family Resource Center, we were able to have weekly Spanish virtual cooking lessons for our families.

Sebastiani Theatre Foundation - Jocelyn Vick

Jocelyn Vick’s relationship with the Rhotens and the Sebastiani Theatre began in 1996, and with her commitment and talents that include, leadership, team building, negotiation and fundraising, the Sebastiani Theatre has thrived.

Seeds of Learning - Cathy Sowa

Cathy Sowa has played a tremendously valuable role in helping to raise funds, in addition to volunteering with a Seeds of Learning group monthly at the Redwood Empire Food Bank.

Sonoma Arts Live Theatre Company - Sue Martin

Sue Martin is currently board president but wears many hats, including doing all graphics design, working with patrons on the phone who have trouble with their tickets, jumping in to paints sets or to sew costumes.

Sonoma Botanical Garden - Susan Peterson and Ray St. Francis

Susan Peterson and Ray St. Francis have been extraordinarily helpful over the past 18 months on advising on a broad swath of repairs and improvements to garden facilities.

Sonoma Community Center – Nancy Barrett

Over the years, "Nancy B" has volunteered as a lead ceramics monitor, as well as workin on the Chili Bowl Express, Trashion Fashion and the Winter Art Market.

Sonoma Ecology Center - Rebecca Chekouras

Rebecca Chekouras has worked to elevate the “secret garden’s” platform by using social media to promote water-wise demonstration gardens, the Saturday harvest market, workshops and fellow volunteers.

Sonoma Immigrant Services - Rocio Caballero

Rocio Caballero volunteers her time to help teach and coordinate the Spanish Citizenship Education Program and Spanish lessons.

Sonoma International Film Festival - Dana Grantham & Alison Miller

Dana Grantham and Alison Miller for 20 years have been the managers of Andrews Hall screening venue during the film festival.

Sonoma Overlook Trail - Roy Tennant

For over 10 years, Roy Tennant has spent thousands of hours fervently tending the Overlook Trail, the Montini Open Space Preserve, and Sugarloaf Ridge Regional Park.

Sonoma Overnight Support - Pat Collins

Pat Collins volunteered five days a week, helping SOS transition from The Haven to Burlingame Hall to Sonoma Springs Community Hall.

Sonoma Plein Air Foundation - Gerry Brinton

Gerry Brinton is a founding and current member of Sonoma Plein Air Foundation’s all-volunteer board, where she is known as “Yoda” for supplying sage wisdom and advice.

Sonoma Springs Community Hall - Ariel Osborne-Peterson

Ariel Osborne-Peterson’s many contributions include organizing the pop-up and Holiday markets, gleaning and distributing local produce, inspiring community improvement projects, and managing the Larson Park community garden.

Sonoma Valley Collaborative - Ann Colichidas

As a local leader in a state-wide mobile home association, Ann Colichidas promotes the importance of mobile homes in providing affordable housing, and also how fragile many mobile home parks and residents are.

Sonoma Valley Community Health Center - Jan & Joe Celio

Jan and Joe Celio have been part of our pop-up vaccination clinics since the beginning, working through summer heat, storms, and new pop-up locations.

Sonoma Valley Fund - Simon Blattner

Simon Blattner became board president in 2018 and since then has worked together with the board and Community Foundation Sonoma County furthering the group’s effectiveness, including the launch of Sonoma Valley Catalyst Fund.

Sonoma Valley Hospital - Alice Friesen

Alice Friesen has been a volunteer at at the hospital for 42 years.

Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance - Marie Bradley

Marie Bradley has served on our board of directors for almost four years and soon will take the reins as president.

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art - Mimi Makowsky

Mimi has been a Volunteer Museum Guide for 8 years and was one of just four guides who volunteered to spend her pandemic time at home learning the multiple skills necessary to discuss art with students, entirely over Zoom.

Special Olympics Sonoma Valley - Maureen Fuentes

Maureen Funetes has been our chief administrative officer since the founding of Special Olympics Sonoma Valley 10 years ago.

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park - Susie Albrecht

When the pandemic came, Susie Albrecht stepped up as a volunteer, running the Visitor Center, meeting and serving hundreds of park guests.

Sweetwater Spectrum - Ken Cheitlin

Ken Cheitlin has serves as a member of Sweetwater Spectrum’s board, and under his leadership the Fund Development Committee exceeded its annual target each year.

Transcendence Theatre Company - Lorraine Reuther

Lorraine Reuther is a Volunteer Captain and has hardly missed a show in her many years with the company.

Valley of the Moon Music Festival - Bonnie Walner

With her deep appreciation and understanding of chamber music, Bonnie Walner can be found at the ticket office and as an audience greeter.

Valley of the Moon Observatory Association - Loren Cooper

When the pandemic shut down inside programming, Loren Cooper trained other volunteers and helped lead tours of the Night Sky Trails, and was also an active volunteer for Bring Your Own Binoculars.

Verity - Heather Johnson

Heather has been a volunteer on Verity's hotline for over two and a half years, counseling countless survivors of sexual abuse.

Vintage House - Irene Pelmear

Irene is the consummate volunteer, first as a myRide driver and later with the food program, including baking literally thousands of cookies for the meal deliveries.

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