The Philadelphia Eagles and Teva Pharmaceuticals have named the finalists for the 2014 Community Quarterback Awards, which recognizes individuals who exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving the communities in which they live through volunteerism.
The Eagles and Teva will award $100,000 in grants to the nonprofits served by the 11 Community Quarterback finalists. The overall winner will receive $50,000 for his or her organization while the two runners-up receive an additional $11,000 for their nonprofit. Additionally, the remaining finalists will receive $4,000 for their group. The award presentation will take place March 19 at the NovaCare Complex.
Meet the finalists ...
Theresa Conejo - American Heart Association
Theresa Conejo’s involvement with the American Heart Association (AHA) began as an 8th Congressional District Advocacy Advocate. As a registered nurse, she has a laser focus on raising awareness and saving lives, enabling her to advocate for the proposed Clean Indoor Law as well as the PA Pulse Oximetry Bill. This bill would require every newborn baby in Pennsylvania to have a non-invasive, low-cost and painless screening test for Congenital Heart Defect. Theresa has also been instrumental in recruiting new volunteer advocates and in fostering major connections especially within the Hispanic/Latino community. Theresa’s dedication to the mission of AHA is unmatched and she truly has the best interests of the organization at the forefront.
Michael DeLaurentis - Susanna DeLaurentis Charitable Foundation
In 1986, Lucy, the eldest DeLaurentis daughter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis just sixth weeks after she was born. Five years later, the DeLaurentis family was informed their youngest daughter, Suzanna, had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma. After a hard fight, Suzanna had a five year stint with a clean bill of health until she relapsed in 1996. She fought hard for another three years, but lost her battle in November of 1999. A month after her passing, Michael created the Susanna DeLaurentis Charitable Foundation (SDCF) to commemorate her life and the example she set. Today, SDCF awards scholarships to high school students in the tri-state area who have excelled despite suffering from a major health adversity. Working on behalf of both of his daughters, Michael has also drafted legislation to allow taxpayers to channel tax refunds to CF research. Additionally, he has become an effective speaker for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), addressing audiences ranging from corporate partners to healthcare corporations and even groups of new volunteers. His tireless dedication to both causes is unrivaled, using the many adversities that his family has faced as fuel to brighten the lives of many other families.
Stan & Shelli Dunn - Network of Victims Assistance
Stan and Shelli Dunn have been direct service volunteers for the Network of Victims Assistance (NOVA) since January of 2000. NOVA is a rape crisis center and victim support agency for Bucks County, PA. Before gaining direct access to a victim, Stan and Shelli had to undergo a 40 hour Sexual Assault Counselor training course. Immediately after completing the course Shelli began taking hotline shifts, offering support to rape victims in emergency rooms and accompanying victims on police interviews. Stan wrote and installed the inventory tracking system for the Thrift Shop that NOVA operates to raise money for services and programs. Together, both Stan and Shelli have helped victims and their families in the courthouse when clients needed support during trials. Community service is a way of life for Stan and Shelli as they have volunteered tirelessly for NOVA as well as many other organizations.
Peter Hillyer - Community Volunteers in Medicine
Dr. Peter Hillyer has served as volunteer physician, teacher, recruiter, advocate and board member for Community Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM) since the organization opened its doors in 1998. After retiring from his practice in internal medicine in 1999, Dr. Hillyer has used his professional training to provide a healthcare home to those most in need of care. Every Wednesday morning for the past 16 years, Dr. Hillyer has come to the clinic where he treats patients, reviews charts, and consults with fellow volunteer professionals who seek out his advice. He has treated each and every person he encounters with respect, acknowledging his or her current circumstances and always accepts the challenge to make a difference. Most importantly, Dr. Hillyer takes a classic approach to medicine, often spending up to an hour with patients, assessing their overall health, not just their chief complaint. He has impacted the lives of thousands of individuals through his volunteer services at CVIM.
Reuben Jones - Frontline Dads
For more than a decade Reuben Jones has led the Frontline Dads mentoring group first as a project driven by his personal passion for supporting vulnerable youth and later as a program of Youth Service, Inc. While with Frontline Dads, Mr. Jones has personally mentored more than twenty-five teens per year and has recruited additional volunteers to mentor youth. A number of the group’s youth had already begun engaging in dangerous behaviors prior to joining Frontline Dads. Mr. Jones and his mentors have actively intervened in these teens’ lives to ensure that they cease these behaviors. Through a variety of activities and field trips, Mr. Jones encourages teens to improve their decision making and critical thinking skills. He is truly dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of the youth he serves.
Steve Leckerman – The Livengrin Foundation
Steve Leckerman is a dedicated volunteer with the Livengrin Foundation, using his 30 years of experience within the grassroots addiction recovery community, as well as his business expertise to help those affected by the disease across the region. Steve has dedicated a great deal of time towards increasing the Livengrin Foundation’s fundraising initiatives, including helping to build a professional development office. In 2013, Steve and his family established a special patient scholarship fund at Livengrin, named in the memory of his daughter who was killed by a drunk driver in 2003. In only eight months, Steve personally raised more than $50,000 to the Leigh Leckerman Scholarship. Steve is completely dedicated to the recovery community, helping people regain good health and their productive lives.
Kimberly Mathis – Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia
Kimberly Mathis was accepted to Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program, which helps low-income Philadelphia residents achieve self-sufficiency by purchasing an affordable home. She officially purchased her house in 2009 and joined Habitat’s Board of Directors, becoming the first ever Habitat homeowner to become a member of the Board. In 2010, she also began serving on Habitat’s Family Services Committee, volunteering as a Partner Family Advocate. In this role, she provides personalized support and guidance to families working their way through the program’s requirements. She believes Habitat can bring anyone involved great gifts through hard work, faith and dedication.
Nancy Opremcak – Bryan’s Dream Foundation
Nancy and her husband Tim established Bryan’s Dream Foundation in 2006 after their son passed away at the age of 12 from a brain tumor. The foundation’s main focus is to provide financial assistance and peace of mind while their child is undergoing treatment. Many families have missed work, lost jobs or have been unable to pay their bills, so it gives them great comfort to know that things are being taken care of while they stay at their sick child’s side. Additionally, Nancy makes the time to personally visit schools who have donated toward the foundation. Since its inception, Bryan’s Dream Foundation has raised more than one million dollars under Nancy’s direction. She is a tireless leader with boundless energy for their mission.
Michael Resnic – Clothes-Pin
As co-founder and executive director of clothes-pin.org, Michael has volunteered countless hours, nights, and weekends during the past seven years creating his non-profit to help clothe the needy, demonstrate the importance of sustainable reuse and embrace his community. Clothes-pin’s model is to keep the clothes collected and donated within the community. Additionally, it provides volunteer opportunities for family, friends, local schools and community groups. What began as an original race with 50 pieces of clothing has now grown into an average of 15 yearly events and a total of 130,000 pieces of clothing donated. Expanding the brand to partner with major companies such as Athleta and Under Armour, Michael has proven his dedication to the community and creating a more sustainable environment in Philadelphia and beyond.
Dale Shimer – The ALS Association of Philadelphia
At 78 years young, Dale Shimer continues to be one of the ALS Foundation’s most important volunteers. For the past thirteen years, he has visited patients in their homes and provides comfort and care weekly, in honor of his wife’s memory. Each year, Dale purchases two tables at the Chapter’s annual luncheon just so ALS patients and their caregivers can attend. While the Chapter was searching for a permanent executive director, Dale filled in for TWO YEARS, working every single day to bring the Chapter into the next century. Dale is not only caring and comforting, but puts his whole heart behind his efforts.
Guy Viner – Camp Kesem University of Pennsylvania
As a unit counselor for Camp Kesem University of Pennsylvania’s (CKUP) male campers aged 6-8 years old, Guy participates in everything from Color Wars to swim time to “cabin chats”. Guy provides these children a safe and open forum where they can speak openly about their shared experiences in dealing with parents with cancer. In addition to devoting a full week to attend CKUP, Guy particpated 30 hours of counselor training. As Director of Development for 2013-14, he is responsible for raising the $45,000 that will enable CKUP to provide a free week of camp to 85 kids – an increase of 35% from last year’s 60 campers. In sum, he has invested more than 230 hours in development work to date, usually spending almost ten hours per week! His service to CKUP has empowered young children to realize that they are not alone in having a parent with cancer, allowing them to reclaim the chance to act like kids.