We’re excited to kick off 2017 by featuring two of our most devoted long-time volunteers, Carol and Doug Reynolds. Carol and Doug have been volunteering with EFNE for over 10 years.
You may not know Carol or Doug, but if you’ve attended our annual Candlelight Dinner you’ve seen them hard at work behind the registration desk. Upon arriving at the event, each attendee is welcomed by Carol, Doug, or a friend or family member they’ve recruited to help out. According to Judy Bowe, EFNE’s Director of Development, “Many guests have commented that the dinner would not be same without their presence.”
Carol and Doug’s efforts aren’t limited to the evening of the dinner. In the weeks and months leading up to the event, they devote hundreds of hours to recruiting volunteers and managing logistics. They’re thoughtful, and detailed, and we couldn’t ask for a better duo to handle the job.
Susan Linn, President and CEO, says, “Carol and Doug’s generous gifts of time, energy, and skill translate into tens of thousands of dollars of camp, scholarship, financial assistance, support groups, and other programs we provide. In addition to their friendship with EFNE, their magnanimous spirit is inspirational, and I’m honored they have become part of the EFNE family.”
Judy echoed Susan’s sentiments, saying “Carol and Doug are consummate professionals whose expertise, dedication and hard work have been invaluable to the success of EFNE’s annual dinners for over a decade.”
We are all inspired by, and grateful to, Carol and Doug for their years of committed service to our foundation and the clients we serve. Thank you, Carol and Doug, for all of your hard work!
We are happy to announce that Brittany Wallace has been selected as our Volunteer of the Month for March!
While most of Epilepsy Foundation New England’s (EFNE) volunteers live and volunteer locally in New England, Brittany does her volunteer work remotely from her home in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Despite the distance, Brittany is one of our most active volunteers, and we are grateful to her for her hard work and commitment to our organization.
We connected with Brittany online last November, and for the last few months, she’s been working diligently to update our Virtual Resource Guide. The guide contains important information on epilepsy and contact information for local resources in MA, NH, ME and RI. The virtual guide will be available on our website for people living with epilepsy, their families, friends and caregivers to access.
Brittany has been working on this project with our Chief Operating Officer, Elaine Kiriakopoulos, who shares, “Brittany has demonstrated the power of an individual to contribute to a cause which they feel passionate and committed to, despite an obstacle like distance. Brittany has been dedicated to helping EFNE build our virtual resources for constituents, and has been able to do so remotely from her home in Canada. As a young college graduate, there are many ways to spend time. The fact Brittany has chosen to share her time, and talent with EFNE is so very appreciated. We hope her example is an inspiration for others, and we welcome any student interested in volunteering with EFNE.”
When asked what she likes about volunteering with EFNE, Brittany responded, “I guess I would say foremost, it's a cause I care about. I have a brother with epilepsy who would have benefited from access to an organization like this one. I consider this to be good work.”
Thank you, Brittany, for your valuable contributions to our organization and congratulations on being named our Volunteer of the Month!
Epilepsy Foundation New England (EFNE) is excited to recognize a committed volunteer engineering team from State Street Corporation as our Volunteers of the Month for April! State Street has set the gold standard for corporate team based volunteerism, and we are so grateful to them for sharing their time, and talents with us. Every State Street volunteer has exemplified professionalism, generosity, hard work, and a willingness to stay the course in the face of complex challenges.
The State Street team has been working with us for 9 months. They have enthusiastically pitched in on a number of projects including providing strategic advice, securing space for an event, and leading our team in an effort to assess our work processes so we can better serve the epilepsy community.
Judy Bowe, EFNE’s Director of Development, remarked “It would be hard to quantify in numbers, or in verse, how much value EFNE has gained from this team and their experience.”
Telly Theodoropoulos, a member of EFNE’s Executive Board, and Senior Vice President , Global Markets Technology at State Street said “We are all very proud of the work our State Street team has performed to solve technology issues for such a worthwhile organization. Working directly with EFNE allows us to leverage our technology skills, help EFNE provide the valuable services to our community in New England, and build long lasting friendship with Susan [Linn, President and CEO of EFNE] and her team.”
Thank you so much to Brian Costa, Jay Selvaraju, Anna Johnston, Telly Theodoropoulos, Vinayak Kumar, and Aravinda Akkammanavar for supporting EFNE in our mission of leading the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.
Our May Volunteer of the Month is Joy Buzzell! Joy lives in New Hampshire and volunteers with our Development team. Joy has spent countless hours working on the planning and execution of our New Hampshire fundraising events, including our Candlelight Masquerade Gala and our Swing 4 Epilepsy golf tournament.
Our New Hampshire Field Service Manager, Kristen Krauss, says “Joy Buzzell is a pillar of strength and a force of love with an incredibly sparkly personality. I feel honored to have met Joy and to call her a friend.”
Our Fundraising Assistant/Development Associate Rachel Buckley enjoyed working with Joy on our most recent Candlelight Masquerade Gala. Rachel remarked “Joy went above and beyond to make sure everything for the New Hampshire gala was perfect. We are so lucky to have such a fun, selfless volunteer like her!”
Joy, we’re so appreciative for all you’ve done for our foundation and the clients we serve. Thank you!
Lauren has been volunteering with EFNE for over seventeen years. You’ll find her at EFNE events all over New England, most often behind the registration desk! She’s also willing to jump in and help out in other roles, and we greatly appreciate her can-do attitude and positivity.
In addition to her work at so many of our events, she has also served on our Employment Services Advisory Council since its inception in February of this year.
EFNE President and CEO Susan Linn remarked “Whether I’m at our gala in NH, a walk in RI, a conference in ME, a concert in MA, or any EFNE function in between, it seems that every time I turn around, Lauren’s smile and helping hands are there ready to greet me and to serve our cause with us. From registration tables to children’s programs, Lauren does it All with aplomb, and I don’t know where we’d be without her, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be a fraction as good as it is with her.”
Elaine Kiriakopoulos, Chief Operating Officer, said "Lauren is someone who shares her time, talent and effort to benefit others. Her commitment to the epilepsy community in New England is remarkable. Her positive spirit, and compassionate character allow her to motivate others to take action. Epilepsy Foundation New England is fortunate to have Lauren Welby on our volunteer team."
All of us here at the foundation are truly grateful to count Lauren among our team of committed volunteers. Thank you Lauren, for all your hard work!
Our Volunteer of the Month for July is Vivien Qiao!
Vivien, a local high school student, has spent countless hours working remotely on a research and data entry project for our Teen and Young Adult Leadership Program. Vivien has been a reliable and enthusiastic volunteer with EFNE.
Our Youth Programming Specialist, Chanda, says “Vivien has been so selfless as a high school student, and has donated so much of her time to the EFNE Teen and Young Adult Leadership Programs. She has supported our youth programs, laying the groundwork for outreach, by compiling key lists of data. The work is tedious and far from exciting, but the dozens of community data spreadsheets created will allow for the youth program to grow by leaps and bounds. Vivien's work has already enabled dozens of teen leader connections to take place, and is positively impacting young people affected by epilepsy."
Committed volunteers like Vivien are crucial to helping us expand our outreach, and we are so grateful for everything she has done. Thank you, Vivien!
Our Volunteers of the Month for August are an amazing group of nurses from UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, MA! These 18 nurses, led by Nurse Manager Mary Bonner, were integral to the success of our Massachusetts Purple Camps. During our MA Purple Camp for Kids , they provided caring, compassionate, 24/7 nursing coverage.
Susan Linn, President and CEO, remarked, “This group of kind, caring, nurses make all the difference for camp: whether it’s taking a second look at a child at camp who is feeling overtired, fixing up a cut, or helping a child recover from a seizure, these nurses are not only top notch professionals, but people.”
Elaine Kiriakopoulos, Chief Operating Officer, praised the efforts of the nurses, saying, “The summer camp programs are a vital resource the foundation is committed to providing for children and families. Our team at EFNE is fortunate to have the unwavering support of nurses, physicians and researchers from epilepsy centers across New England. The UMASS Memorial nursing team exemplifies the extraordinary support provided to our EFNE community. The UMASS team have volunteered countless hours assisting EFNE in preparing for camp, and then participating as medical caregivers at camp, to ensure that every child has a safe, fun and positive experience at camp. Watching the nurses at camp, they provide more than seizure first aid to our campers, as their generous spirits help the children in building new friendships, mastering new skills and making summer camp memories to cherish a lifetime.”
The UMASS volunteer team shared hundreds of hours of their time with us and we couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you UMASS nursing!
Thank you so much to:
Aimie Peloquin, Colleen Bavosi, Don Chin, Hayley Rader, Jess Blanchard, Jess Brodeur, Kara Lewis,, Kate Walsh, Kathy Alicandro, Katie Simone, Katie York, Lexi Paquin, Mary Bonner, Moriah Hicks, Peter Daoust, Roy Shay, Tammy Wylie, and Theresa Harney.
We are pleased to announce that our September Volunteers of the Month are longtime volunteers Kevin and Christine Crowell!
For the last six years, Kevin and Christine have been heavily involved in the planning and execution of our Boston and Springfield Walks for Epilepsy. With over 1100 registrants at this year’s Boston Walk for Epilepsy, and 300 at our Springfield Walk for Epilepsy, this was no small effort!
In the weeks and months leading up to the event, they spent many hours volunteering from home, mapping out the registration and check-in process. In addition to the work they did leading up to the event, they also volunteered onsite at our Boston and Springfield walks, managing the registration table and ensuring that everything went smoothly for our attendees.
Our Director of Community Education, Susan Welby, remarked “No job was too small for Kevin and Christine. Their humor, commitment to those living with epilepsy and EFNE is very much appreciated.”
Their backgrounds in project management made them ideal volunteers for this project. They are organized, thorough, and detail-oriented.
Susan Linn, President and CEO, says “Kevin and Christine’s contributions to our foundation are enormously appreciated. We are so grateful for all the time and energy they share with our foundation.”
Thank you, Kevin and Christine, for all you have done for EFNE!
Our Volunteer of the Month for October is Theresa Haggerty!
For nearly a year, Theresa has been volunteering in our office on a weekly basis. Most recently, she has been helping expand our outreach to preschool and elementary schools. She is frequently praised by EFNE staff members for her dedication and attention to detail.
In April 2017, Theresa was honored for logging the most volunteer hours during the first quarter of the year.
Our Director of Community Education, Susan Welby, commended Theresa for her reliability and ability to pick up new tasks quickly.
Our Chief Operating Office, Elaine Kiriakopoulos, remarked “Theresa demonstrates a steadfast commitment to Epilepsy Foundation New England and our entire epilepsy community. EFNE is fortunate to have Theresa share her time and talent with us. Volunteers like Theresa are critical to the work we do, and are so very appreciated. Thank you, Theresa, for working to improve the lives of families facing the challenges of epilepsy.”
Thank you Theresa, for everything that you do! We are so grateful for your commitment to our organization.
Our Volunteer of the Month for November is Chanda Gunn! Over the past 18 months, Chanda has shared an incredible amount of her volunteer time with EFNE. She contributes to the foundation in many ways, including heading up our EFNE Young Leaders Network, assisting in developing our camp programs, volunteering at camp, leading teams for our epilepsy walks, and building volunteer teams of youth to help at our many foundation events.
Our Young Leaders Network is designed for young people who want to make an impact for others with epilepsy and for their communities. Under Chanda’s direction, in just one year the program has grown to include 70 young people from all four states that we serve. The group meets monthly to build skills and friendships, has worked on advocacy initiatives and raised money to help a client acquire a service dog.
Maryellen Ianibelli, the parent of one of our Young Leaders Network participants, remarked, "One of the first words that comes to mind when I think of Chanda and her work with the Young Leaders Group is ‘gem.’ She is priceless and rare in her efforts to not only go the extra mile but to reach out to teens and young adults who are struggling with epilepsy and adolescence. Her smile radiates the rooms, playing fields, rinks and courts that she walks into. She connects with all youth and families. She is a role model who is living with epilepsy and showing all who meet her that they can rise above and beyond their diagnosis. You are not doing this alone with Chanda. She has that special gift of challenging all to ask ‘What can I do to be a better person?’”
In addition to her work with EFNE, Chanda is also an Athletes vs Epilepsy Ambassador for the national Epilepsy Foundation. In this role, she spreads awareness across the country by sharing her story, and raises funds for research by participating in Athletes vs. Epilepsy and Epilepsy Foundation events.
Our Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Elaine Kiriakopoulos, commented “Chanda Gunn is an inspiration to the epilepsy community and the volunteer community at large. Her commitment to young people living with epilepsy is remarkable. Her willingness to share her own story of resilience, tenacity and the drive to make a difference is inspiring for all. Our EFNE community is fortunate to have Chanda’s vision for supporting young people facing the challenges of living with epilepsy. Thank you Chanda, for leading the way, for encouraging the next generation to follow their dreams, for motivating them to support one another, and modeling for them the ability for each person to make a difference in the lives of others.”
Our Volunteer of the Month for December is Kim Cutler! Recently, Kim served as Co-Chair of our Annual Candlelight Gala in Boston. She spent numerous hours leading up to the event assisting with the planning of the gala, recruiting volunteers, and soliciting donations for our silent auction.
Susan Linn, President and CEO, remarked “Without Kim’s guidance, hours and hours of volunteerism, giving spirit, and forward thinking positive energy, our gala would not have been nearly the success – or fun – that it was! I am so grateful to Kim.”
Judy Bowe, Director of Development, commented “Kim helped us to take the annual gala to another level this year! The success was due to the many hours of time and talent she contributed. She was so generous in sharing her knowledge and leveraging her network to benefit EFNE. We are so fortunate to have her in our community! We are grateful to you for all that you do.”
In addition to her work on the gala, Kim has been a strong advocate for our EFNE volunteer program, recruiting a number of her colleagues from the company where she works, Salesforce, to become volunteers for EFNE. We are thankful for all the connections she has helped us forge with new volunteers and her strong support of the work we do year round.
Kim, all of us here at EFNE are grateful for your positive sprit, enthusiasm, commitment to our cause, and for the time you have shared with us!
Our Volunteer of the Month for February is Gina Condon! Gina has contributed to the support of our epilepsy community in several ways, including facilitating parent support groups, volunteering at EFNE events, assisting with administrative work to help our education trainings run smoothly, helping to make our first adult retreat a success (!), growing awareness initiatives and reaching out to parents of children with epilepsy. We are so appreciative of Gina’s commitment to our foundation, and her assistance in advancing our mission.
Dr. Elaine Kiriakopoulos, Chief Operating Officer and PAB Board Member, remarked “Gina Condon has been a stellar and steadfast volunteer for EFNE. Gina recently participated as a volunteer advocate at the Massachusetts State House, sharing her personal epilepsy story, to make a difference for patients who need legislative change to happen in order for them to be able to access the medicines that work best to control their seizures. EFNE is thankful for Gina Condon, as her warm, positive, empathic spirit and determination to improve the quality of life for epilepsy families is remarkable. Thank you, Gina, for inspiring us all to do our very best to make a difference!”
Jenna Whitney,Volunteer Coordinator, noted “I am so appreciative of everything Gina has done! She has helped out with many events and programs, and is frequently the first one to sign up to help when we announce a new volunteer opportunity. I am so grateful for her dedication, hard work, and positive attitude!”
Thank you, Gina, for all you have done for Epilepsy Foundation New England!
Our Volunteer of the Month for March is Michelle Dexter! Michelle came to EFNE through the Matty Fund where she got involved after her daughter Grace was diagnosed with epilepsy. Never one to sit back, Michelle could be seen at every event from the Snow Angel Ball to Matty Hatty programs to the Matty 5k. Michelle continues to give her time and talent to Epilepsy Foundation New England and the Matty Project. You may have seen her helping out at Matty’s Pumpkin Patch at the last Rhode Island walk in October or been moved by her heartfelt tribute to Debra and Richard Siravo when she spoke in their honor at the 2018 Rhode Island Casino Night Gala.
“Michelle gave a moving tribute speech in honor of Debra and Richard Siravo at the 2018 Rhode Island Gala. She has been an asset to the growth of the Matty Project and Rhode Island Council.” Christina Vilardi, EFNE Rhode Island Field Service Manager.
We are happy to announce that Chris Donovan has been selected as our Volunteer of the Month for April!
Chris serves as a volunteer member on the EFNE New Hampshire Council. He plays an integral role in each board meeting, by creating solutions for folks with epilepsy and their family members, along with event planning.
Chris brings his sense of high spirit and fun to the epilepsy events he has volunteered for in New Hampshire. He is exuberant and great at getting people motivated to participate whether it is a walk, dinner or committee meeting. “Chris Donovan is a dynamic human being. His kinetic personality makes volunteering and cultivating friendships innate. During the day he wears suits with ties. During fundraising events, he will wear a turkey costume for the event flair with great pride! Nothing is too big for Chris. I believe, when not looking, he leaps tall buildings in a single bound!” - Kristen Krauss, friend and fellow EFNE supporter.
Chis states that he is passionate about finding effective treatments for epilepsy, particularly the rare forms of epilepsy such as Doose and Tuberous Sclerosis which can be severely disabling.
Epilepsy Foundation New England is pleased to recognize the Heart Group at Eagle Investment Systems as our Volunteers of the Month for May. This group represents the very best in philanthropic philosophy and participation and EFNE is grateful to be the beneficiaries of their work on our behalf and proud to recognize them for their clothing drives over the past three years.
We extend special thanks to Eagle Investment Systems and its philanthropic team known as The HEART Group for hosting its third annual clothing drive to benefit Epilepsy Foundation New England.
On May 16, 2018, HEART Group hosted the clothing drive at the Wellesley location with donations from their Connecticut office too.
The clothing drive brought in over 70 donations. BNY will provide a matching gift of $2.50 for each piece of clothing AND the clothing donations were sent to SAVERS so the Foundation benefits in two ways!
A special thanks to Jane Deedy, Claudia Ramos, Marc Firenze and Allon Rai for their leadership,
a great group of volunteers from Eagle including: Rob Page, Kathy Langley, Jaime Halligan, Jalen Cullen, Tony Bonaccordo, Jeff Pacheco and Julie Butler and all of the Eagle Employees in both Wellesley and Connecticut for their clothing donations.
Once he heard about our inaugural Studio e program, an expressive arts program for people with epilepsy, Andrew jumped in with enthusiasm to lend his artistic talents to our group. Our summer 2018 series was the first to focus on young people, ages 11 to 18, and our first in Lowell, at the Brush Gallery and Jean Winslow's Studio II.
Andrew’s kind and gentle manner allowed him to connect easily with the participants, and he showed the group how to “go with the flow” and enjoy the process of creating art. Andrew shared his love for collaborative art by guiding participants through the creation of a fun group mural. He also encouraged the group to express themselves musically by helping them to craft drums out of recycled materials for an impromptu drumming session!
“Andrew was simply amazing with our kids. Seeing kids’ strengths, helping channel each person’s creative energy, and giving up a whole week of evenings for kids he’d never met: Andrew is very special, and I am very grateful,” said Chanda Gunn, the Foundation’s Youth Programming Specialist.
Andrew Duncan is the head of Enterprise Banks’ Nonprofit Collaborative and is the Banks’ Art Collection Manager. Banker by day, Andrew has an MA in Expressive Arts Therapy. He is often seen engaging strangers and friends in collaborative art on the streets of Lowell. Thank you, Andrew, for sharing your time and talents with us, and for inspiring our young artists each night.