4 adults honored for service to youth
Press Release, Orleans County Youth Bureau
HOLLEY – Four adults who have shown a commitment to helping youths were honored last week during the Orleans County Youth Board 32nd Annual Youth Recognition Banquet.
The Helen R. Brinsmaid Memorial Youth Worker Award was presented to Alan Lee Dillenbeck and Merle “Skip” Draper. That award goes to adults in a paid position whose work exceeds normal expectations.
The Eileen Heye Adult Volunteer Award was presented to Elisa Casey-Robinson and Leanne Serrato for their volunteer service with youths.
Alan Lee Dillenbeck is the athletic director and dean of students at Lyndonville High School but contributes to the youth of the community in many ways.
Lee has dedicated both his working and personal life to the youth in the small Orleans County Village where he and his family of five reside. Over the past several years, Lee has run two volunteer programs for the children of Lyndonville.
From December to February, he runs a Youth Basketball Program where he provides coaching, mentorship, and guidance to residents ages six through twelve. Lee ensures that all children are treated equal as they focus on key skills, sportsmanship, and civility relative to basketball and athletics in general.
Lee also leads the Youth Soccer Program in the summer. From registration to scheduling, coaching and officiating, Lee provides skills-based instruction that emphasizes cooperation, teamwork, and grace in both defeat and victory. Lee’s time and expertise provide the students with a precious opportunity that would not otherwise exist.
Merle “Skip” Draper of Medina is employed as Corporate Business and Community Liaison for Iroquois Job Corp. He also serves them as a mentor. Skip is compassionate and has a true gift of influencing the students and guiding them to be amazing individuals.
His energy he puts toward advocating and working for the students of Job Corp is boundless and carries over to this private life. Skip takes every opportunity in his community to give a person a chance and works to make sure that “chance” is successful.
The students truly respect Skip and have a sense of trust in him. Skip also arranged for the painting class at the Iroquois Job Corp to come in and paint the town offices. He also brought the students in on occasion to show them different things going on in the town. He also has brought two or three youth to the Orleans County Fair for the Supervisor and Legislators Association picnic.
Skip is the one to get these students out into the world to show them what it is all about. Skip has a magnetic personality and kids just love him. He is a true role model for the youth today.
Elisa Casey-Robinson of Kendall spends her spare time helping others. Although she has a busy life working and raising three children, she is one of the best Catechists. She keeps the children focused, has taught them faith, their prayers and introduced them to the Bible, the saints and the sacraments.
Elisa also bakes for the parish functions and leads a breakfast team and a coffee hour team. She collects food for the local pantry and is instrumental in obtaining turkeys and hams for the holiday baskets for the poor. At Christmas time, Elisa sets up an angel tree to make sure needy children get something for Christmas.
Elisa and her husband also coach their children’s sport teams. The greatest volunteers are the ones who do it just for the love of others and they do it quietly, not looking for praise and recognition. The town of Kendall is blessed to have a person like Elisa. The best volunteers teach others, which is what her mom did for her and what she is doing for her children.
Leanne Serrato of Albion gives a new meaning to the word volunteer. She devotes her time and energy to the participants at the Holley Youth Center when she is there. She is energetic and enthusiastic in everything she does which is replicated by the children.
Leanne spends time with each individual child to get to know them and once she determines their needs, she does her best to accommodate them. She works hard to resolve issues the children may be having.
Leanne is always researching the newest trends in nutrition and health to ensure she is providing the children with the tools to live healthy lifestyles. She also provides tutoring services to the youth as needed because she believes education is important regardless of age.
The children at the Youth Center love when Leanne is there, as she treats each child as if they were her own. She find ways to get the children interested in the activities she has planned out for them and also encourages the children to participate in volunteer projects.
Leanne is reliable and always picks up extra volunteer hours to ensure the Youth Center can stay open in the absence of an employee. Leanne also participates in many community projects herself, such as creating the float for the holiday parade, volunteering at the children’s carnival in Albion and raising awareness for breast cancer at the walk at Watt’s Farm. Leanne is a wonderful person and truly cares about each child in the community.