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ProAction honors top volunteer

    YATES, STEUBEN COUNTIES—ProAction of Steuben and Yates honored the volunteers and community members who help them serve the community, Thursday, May 24, at the annual Shining Stars event in Bath.
    ProAction works to better family life, self sufficiency, senior well-being, education, and early care. The Yates County people that were honored were Ruth E. Soules as Yates Volunteer of the Year, the Yates sheriff’s office as Yates Community Partner of the Year, and Peerplace Networks, LLC as the Yates Business of the Year.
    Since August of 2008, Soules has volunteered much of her time, with 180 hours in 2011 alone. She offers telephone and clerical duties for both transportation and help. Stephanie Bates, prevention services coordinator for ProAction, explained Soules calls people about scheduled rides and offers reassurance. Soules has responded to the agency’s needs, whether planned in advance or at the last minute. Soules was nominated by ProAction employees, Donna Daugherty and Alice Pagano.
    Sheriff Ron Spike accepted the Community Partner of the Year Award. Bates said the sheriff’s office was instrumental in getting Project Lifesaver up and running. The department applied for a grant to receive training and equipment and has six individuals across three divisions trained as search and rescue personnel.  She explained ProAction was researching equipment specifically designed for individuals who may wander due to cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s dementia or autism. The sheriff’s department was nominated by ProAction Employees, Katie Smeenk and Bates.
    Peerplace is the database customer utilized by ProAction. Bates said Peerplace helped improve how the agency handles and uses data, which included Project Lifesaver. Peerplace launched the database and let ProAction work on it before it went live. Peerplace was also nominated by Bates and Smeenk.
    The Steuben Volunteer of the Year are the CA$H Program volunteers. Between Feb. 2 and April 12 of this year, nearly 300 income tax returns for low and moderate income individuals and families were prepared at ProAction, thanks to the dedication and talent of four volunteers. Collectively, these volunteers spent hundreds of hours training, testing, and preparing tax returns, helping community residents access tax credits and refunds they are entitled to receiving.




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