The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce its Community Champions for the first quarter of FY16. These employees were nominated by their colleagues and are being recognized for their work with local non-profit organizations, where they donate their time and energy to improve quality of life for their neighbors. The Champions’ chosen nonprofits will receive a $500 grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation.
Crystal Allen is the founder of Mom’s Pajamas, a non-profit organization that collects pajama sets and donates them to women at domestic violence shelters in southern New Jersey and southwest Florida.
“The first night a woman stays at a shelter can be scary and uncomfortable,” said Crystal. “A set of new pajamas makes their stay a little bit easier.”
In conjunction with her sisters, Crystal officially founded Mom’s Pajamas in October of 2014, a registered 501(c)3 in New Jersey and Florida. The organization held their first annual pajama drive last winter, which was a huge success. Mom’s Pajamas collected nearly 500 sets that were distributed to local domestic violence shelters in southern New Jersey and southwest Florida, where one of Crystal’s sisters resides. Their goal is to exceed 500 donations next year.
Elaine Lortscher has been active in the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Curry County, Oregon for 5 years. LWV is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education, advocacy and community outreach.
Elaine is constantly encouraging women to exercise their right to vote. As a volunteer through LWV, she sets up booths in front of grocery stores and other local organizations, registering voters and distributing information on the issues being voted on. She also serves as a monitor at political forums, collecting questions from attendees and facilitating their discussion amongst candidates.
“Each year I get more and more involved,” she said. “I like to raise awareness and let people know the facts. Voting is an important right and responsibility.”
Colm Roe grew up as a Cub Scout in Ireland and has been an active member of Boy Scouts of America for over 23 years. Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s most prominent youth development organizations, providing mentoring for young men that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of citizenship, and develops personal fitness.
Colm has served as a Scoutmaster in St. Cloud, Florida for over 10 years. In this role, Colm leads a troop of young men through a series of community service projects, fundraising initiatives, and fitness-building activities throughout the year. He also teaches cycling, hiking and canoeing, and serves as an adult volunteer on many high-adventure Scouting trips.
Some of the Scouts Colm mentors come from very rural and underprivileged communities. “A lot of these kids wouldn’t get the opportunity to travel to the extent we do and experience the trips we offer under our leadership and guidance,” said Colm. “Seeing the look in the eyes of these young men when they accomplish different tasks or when they attain different ranks is pretty amazing. To see them going from young men to brave, bold adventurers is very inspiring.”