SafeSpace announces Annual Volunteer Awards

Posted on June 26, 2019

Behind every great nonprofit is a group of loyal volunteers who contribute their time to support the organization’s mission. SafeSpace, a 501(c)(3) who serves victims of domestic violence, is fortunate to be one of these organizations. During SafeSpace’s annual appreciation luncheon at the Santa Lucia River Club at Ballantrae, these outstanding individuals were honored for their efforts in saving and changing the lives of those affected by domestic violence throughout the Treasure Coast.

“As a nonprofit organization, SafeSpace relies heavily on the support of its volunteers to assist with the numerous programs and services offered to victims and families affected by domestic violence. SafeSpace volunteers serve in many capacities,” said SafeSpace CEO, Jill Borowicz.

The luncheon included a presentation of the prestigious Chrysalis Award to Joan Smith and her late husband Reed. This award is given annually in recognition of the transformational impact an individual or group has had on the organization.  Reed and Joan Smith started supporting SafeSpace almost 10 years ago, volunteering in various capacities individually and as a couple. Joan served as the leader of the Martin County volunteer group, Friends of SafeSpace, and on the Board of Directors while Reed served as a one-man maintenance department doing repair work at the emergency shelter.  As a couple, they volunteered and participated in all fundraising/awareness events and community activities, but they didn’t just donate their time and talent. They donated generously in a financial capacity as well, proving themselves to be a true dynamic duo. Sadly, Reed succumbed to cancer in February 2014, but Joan has continued his legacy of philanthropy and support of the victims of domestic violence SafeSpace serves.

The Douglass & Patricia Stewart SafeSpace Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to David Thompson of Vero Beach. Thompson’s commitment to the cause and service to the organization knows no boundaries or county lines. He never misses an opportunity to step up for SafeSpace and has participated in every Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® event for the past eight years. As a retired law enforcement officer, David has helped to strengthen SafeSpace’s relationships with local law enforcement agencies. He shares his passion for helping victims of domestic violence with his family and has even secured his own succession plan by encouraging his young son to serve and participate along with him.

Emmelis Keaney of Keaney Financial Services in Stuart was recognized as the Outstanding Board Member of the Year. Keaney instinctively understands what is needed and how to accomplish it.  In her short time as a SafeSpace volunteer, she coordinated several fundraising functions and has been a valuable addition to the organization’s donor development efforts. She exudes enthusiasm and positivity, naturally encouraging the people around her to support and participate in those things that are important to her.

The Martin County Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Carol Stone of Stuart. Stone has a long history with SafeSpace and has contributed to the growth and success of the organization and its increased awareness in our community. She’s always thinking of others, especially those in need, and her significant donation of time and dedicated service has been priceless.

Natalie and Ray Desmangles of Port St. Lucie were the St. Lucie County Volunteers of the Year. The energy and excitement the Desmangles’ are able to foster in support of SafeSpace did not go unnoticed this year. The couple naturally inspires others to join in their efforts to achieve and exceed any goals and expectations presented to them.

The Indian River County Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Treasure & Space Coast Radio personality, Hamp Elliott.  His creativity and enthusiasm is contagious and has made for some exciting Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® events. Hamp’s dedication to giving back to the community coupled with his infectious personality create a special energy that is felt by everyone around him and is obvious in everything he does.

Another notable volunteer received recognition as Thrift Shoppe Volunteer of the Year. The SafeSpace Thrift Shoppe, which is a significant source of revenue for the organization and merchandise for the women and children it serves, depends on a very strong and dedicated group of volunteers to drive its success. The award was presented to Nancy Ingram of Port St. Lucie, who has volunteered for SafeSpace for more than four years. Her positive attitude and creative energy has had a great impact on both customers and volunteers.  

“We are so grateful to have these award recipients and our entire team of volunteers as SafeSpace community advocates. Thanks to the support of our dedicated volunteers and staff, SafeSpace provided more than 15,000 safe nights of shelter and more than 7,500 hours of outreach services to victims and their children throughout the past year. We truly could not fulfill our mission without the important work of our volunteers,” said SafeSpace CEO, Jill Borowicz.


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