Local YMCA volunteer Kathryn Lawson was recently recognized as a Volunteer of the Year for the YMCA of Metro Atlanta.
Lawson, a volunteer at the Summit Family YMCA in Newnan, was among those honored during the YMCA's 2021 Celebration of Community Champions.
Lawson has been volunteering at the Summit Family YMCA since 2018. After seeing an announcement for the creation of the Togetherhood Committee at the Summit Family YMCA, she joined the committee and has been involved ever since.
“Volunteering with the Y has been and continues to be a rewarding way to be involved in multiple projects addressing a variety of needs, both within the organization itself and in the larger community,” Lawson said. “I love taking on tasks with the fun, kind, generous and energetic volunteers with whom I have the pleasure of working. The Y has given me a meaningful outlet for giving, a caring community and an optimal place to nurture my daughter's development.”
Lawson has been a staple at Summit member/community events and plays a key role in their community outreach services, according to Shane Gann, group vice-president and executive director of the Summit Family Y.
“Kathyrn was instrumental in helping Summit establish our Togetherhood program. In 2020, she helped lead many Togetherhood and community outreach activities, including our Y's inaugural Veterans Expo,” Gann said. “This recognition is a celebration of several years of service that were highlighted by her outstanding work in 2020.”
The celebration kicked off the Y’s Why It Matters Annual Giving Campaign, with a goal of raising more than $5 million before the end of June. The fundraising campaign supports scholarships for memberships and day camps. In addition, it supports the Y’s hunger relief programs and Y Campus Connection.
Through Dr. Michael Lane’s role as director of the Global Smallpox Eradication program with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he successfully oversaw the eradication of smallpox across the globe. Dr. Lane’s commitment to family, community wellness and human rights health drove him to volunteer with the Y. For his efforts, he was honored posthumously with the Bransby Christian Leadership Award, the Y’s highest honor for volunteers.
Established and named after Joseph C. Bransby, a dedicated servant-leader who led the metro-Atlanta YMCA from 1962 to 1980, the award is given annually for exemplary individual service.
“Dr. Lane was a remarkable board member and advocate for the community,” said Lauren Koontz, YMCA of Metro Atlanta President and CEO. “His service to the Y and devotion to the well-being of the community created a lasting impact on our organization. We are proud to recognize Dr. Lane, our dedicated volunteers and partners, and look forward to continuing to better the communities in which we serve.”
During the event, Gas South was honored with Corporate Partner of the Year due to the organization’s commitment to volunteerism and assistance in developing and implementing fun and engaging STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) learning in Y after school programs. Additionally, Atlanta Community Food Bank was recognized as Non-Profit Partner of the Year. The Atlanta Community Food Bank served as a critical partner to help the Y provide hunger relief services throughout COVID-19.
Individual Volunteers of the Year include:
- Tangela Q. Parker - Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA; Atlanta; Fulton County
- Jennifer Callender - Arthur M. Blank Family Youth YMCA; Atlanta; Fulton County
- Richard Spencer - Carl E. Sanders Family YMCA at Buckhead; Atlanta; Fulton County
- Claudia Engelbracht - Covington Family YMCA; Covington; Newton County
- Mary McPherson - Cowart Family YMCA; Atlanta; DeKalb County
- Sue Sullivan - Decatur Family YMCA; Decatur; DeKalb County
- Mandy Mahoney - East Lake Family YMCA; Atlanta; DeKalb County
- Jim Gilvin - Ed Isakson/Alpharetta Family YMCA; Alpharetta; Fulton County
- Mark Bradley - Forsyth County Family YMCA; Cumming; Forsyth County
- Sean Bloomer - G. Cecil Pruett Community Center Family YMCA; Canton; Cherokee County
- Maria Peifer - J.M. Tull-Gwinnett Family YMCA; Lawrenceville; Gwinnett County
- Mark Brown - McCleskey-East Cobb & Northeast Cobb Family YMCAs; Marietta; Cobb County
- Joseph Stockman - Northwest Family YMCA; Kennesaw; Cobb County
- Celeste Sperback - Robert D. Fowler Family YMCA; Peachtree Corners; Gwinnett County
- Debra DeBerry - South DeKalb Youth YMCA; Decatur; DeKalb County
- Kathryn Lawson - Summit Family YMCA; Newnan; Coweta County
- Rebecca Martin - The Villages at Carver Family YMCA; Atlanta; Fulton County
- Patricia A. Huguley - Wade Walker Park Family YMCA; Stone Mountain; DeKalb County
- Brandon Thomas - YMCA Camp High Harbour at Lake Allatoona; Cartersville; Bartow County
- Savannah Soles - YMCA Camp High Harbour at Lake Burton; Clayton; Rabun County
- Candace Primm - YMCA Early Learning
- Don Barden - YMCA of Metro Atlanta